On The Bookseller, Martin Latham posts a brief complaint about the production quality of hardcover books these days. Today’s mass-market hardcover books, he notes, tend to be cheaply and poorly made, and will by and large not age into beautiful antiques such as a 1623 Shakespeare folio Latham describes.
Latham talks up a £30 (US$46) book on maps that includes removable fold-out maps bundled in pockets, and a few other beautiful books. Of course, e-book fan that I am, I can’t see myself buying any of those, and wonder just how many people in today’s recession, price-sensitive economy would be interested either.
But on the other hand, if e-books decrease consumer demand for hardcovers, perhaps mass market hardcovers will dwindle and the ones that remain will be more on the order of the objects d’art Latham seems to want. If people are interested in buying a physical artifact in an electronic world, they’ll certainly want the best one they can find.
(There do seem to be a couple of search and replace errors in the article. In the second and third paragraphs Latham refers to “e-book readers” but it would make more sense from context to say paper book readers in those places instead.)