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11 May 2012

The Backwards Evolution of a Book

This has happened before but I have not yet heard of such a dramatic incident of what can be called "backwards evolution of a book."

The hottest (in nearly all the figurative definitions of "hot") printed bound books selling right now are the Fifty Shades trilogy.  You just have to hear author E L James's talk with Jian Ghomeshi of Q Radio.  This whole story starts when James sees Twilight: The Movie which she loved loved loved.  She asked her husband for the printed bound books for Christmas.  She finished them in five days, inspired to write a novel.  The Twilight Series has been described to us by customers as "the most erotic reading with no sex involved."  Recall that these are young adult books and no sex in the writing is a good thing.  Being able to say that they are erotic reads is an incredible thing.  And, to be able to say that it inspired someone to write erotica (or an adult romance) is way cool.

The most fascinating facet of the whole situation is how the "books" evolved.  They started out being free downloads in a fan website.  The popularity stemmed from word-of-mouth (or text) individual promotion.  Then, there were two bidding wars, one for film rights and one to publish PRINTED BOUND COPIES of the books.  More than one person saw the value in printing and binding the books.  The fact that they are now bestsellers means that readers saw the value in having printed, bound books.  What does this mean?  No, it does not mean that we can have 50 million poorly written, unedited books flood the internet and still be able to keep from extinction that delicate creature called a bricks-n-mortar bookstore.  But, it's a thought.

Larry and I are waiting for the calfskin-bound, India-Ink-inscribed-by-monks-on-vellum set.

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