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Kissing Our Mass Market Goodbye
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I read the news today that IBooks has gone into bankruptcy:

Does that make the IBooks mass market paperback edition of Four For A Boy a valuable collector's item?

I am disappointed. It was kind of nifty to be able to say we were published by an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

More importantly, to me the paperback was, in a certain visceral sense, our only real book. Of course, beautifully produced and durable hardcovers are in every respect superior to mass market paperbacks. They have long lives on library shelves, they garner reviews, and earn more royalties. Plenty of well established writers of paperback originals long to appear between hard covers. But I've rarely been able to afford hardbacks. So most of the books in my life -- particularly the ones I've owned -- have been mass market paperbacks.

All the time I've spent browsing the paperback shelves in bookstores, sorting through tables and boxes full of them in thrift shops, reading while draped over a comfy chair at home or perched on a hard bus seat, have imprinted on my mind the particular size and heft, the feel of the pages and binding, probably the smell of the glue and paper. For me, all those sensory clues add up to book.

I suppose our detective is disappointed too. The other editions of the other titles were identified as "John the Eunuch" mysteries. The IBook bore the more dignified appellation, "A Lord Chamberlain Mystery."

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