If you are an avid reader, you will know the joy that comes with reading paperback books, and to celebrate this very joy, Paperback Book Day is commemorated on July 30. Books, both fiction and nonfiction, contain worlds of wonderment. They allow us to explore new insights into all matters of life, death, and beyond. By reading, we also become better at vocabulary and other linguistic skills. Books are also a great way to understand and develop emotional skills like empathy. Knowing the countless benefits of paperback books, which include being able to easily carry them with you anywhere, publishers opted for the much more cost-friendly option of softcovers/softbacks over hardcovers/hardbacks.
History of Paperback Book Day
Paperback Book Day is an ode to the paperback books in the world and the journey they’ve come along since their inception. Many people think of the English publishing house, Penguin, when they think of paperback history. While it is true that paperbacks’ popularity on a large scale took place when Penguin started commercializing the idea in the 20th century, the history of paperbacks goes further back to the 17th century. European countries like Germany and France were already publishing stories and papers in the paperback-like format then. James Fenimore Cooper, an American writer, also published frontier stories in a similar style. With the invention of the printing press and other publication technologies, more and more stories were being published in a similar paperback fashion on a greater scale. The publishing world’s ‘dime novels’ and ‘penny dreadfuls’ are, in fact, products of the same business phenomena.
Coming back to Penguin, its owner, Allen Lane, was going bankrupt due to his publishing business, The Bodley Head, facing a heavy recession during the 1930s, at the start of the Depression period. Lane was riding a train with Agatha Christie and her husband. At the time, Christie had already published her works with Lane’s publishing house. Lane was troubled with his failing business, and he was on the lookout for any idea that would save it. Whilst waiting for his train, he was browsing through a station stall for something to read. Upon finding nothing good except for magazines and low-quality paperback fiction, he realized that he could bank on the idea of high-quality paperbacks, which would automatically raise profits by allowing more people to access good fiction at lower price rates. From then on, paperbacks became a favorite with publishers and readers. Many new books first come out in paperbacks before they are released in hardbacks.
Paperback Book Day timeline
A new railroad network serves as an optimum and convenient way to easily distribute paperbacks to the public.
Dime novel sales skyrocket during the Civil War, making writers churn out 50,000 to 70,000-word novels every week.
The first good-quality paperback is published in America, titled “The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck.
With the introduction of ebooks, the book world begins debating the ease of e-books v.s. the conventionality of paperbacks.
Paperback Book Day FAQs
When does Paperback Book Day take place?
Paperback Book Day takes place on July 30 every year.
What is the meaning of a paperback book?
A paperback book is a book whose pages are held together with a bendable paper cover. The cover and the pages are usually stuck together with glue.
Is paperback better than hardback?
Paperbacks and hardbacks have their own pros and cons. Paperbacks are lighter and portable, while hardbacks are heavier and harder to carry around. Paperbacks might be cheaper, but they are less durable than hardbacks.
How To Celebrate Paperback Book Day
Experience a paperback
Take out that dusty paperback from your shelf and give it a read. Apart from the amazing story it must contain, paperbacks are an experience unto themselves. The smooth, sometimes rough texture of the paper and its woody scent is almost addictive!
Try finishing a classic paperback in one sitting
One of the great things about paperbacks is how easy they are to carry everywhere. So, whether you are riding the bus/train, or you are on a flight, or you simply happen to have time on your hands, grab a classic paperback to get lost in. These often happen to be short and easy to read.
Visit your local bookstore or library
It’s not Paperback Book Day without a visit to a bookshop or library. Browse the shelves for old titles and new ones. Make friends with other people in the area or simply make friends with books. Books make great friends because they never leave you and are always there when you need them.
5 Facts About The Publishing Industry That Will Blow Your Mind
An increase in literate people
More people, especially from the middle class, became literate in England after the invention of the printing press.
The publishing industry growth is very slow
While the publishing industry is worth more than $103 billion, the growth is extremely slow, with many years experiencing 0% growth overall.
The Bible is the most published
The Bible holds the title of being the most published book in the world.
Publishers reject the majority of book pitches
Publishing houses reject as many as 95% of the book submissions they receive.
Self-publishing industry on the rise
The self-publishing industry, where the writers publish a book at their own expense, is becoming much more popular because of the success self-published authors are experiencing.
Why We Love Paperback Book Day
It’s a celebration of paperbacks
Paperbacks have gone through quite the evolution. Today, people enjoy them for the entertainment they provide at a lower cost. Paperbacks are also a nostalgic reminder of the time when e-books and similar technologies did not exist.
It’s a celebration of books
Books allow us to travel to different worlds without moving from our seats. They teach us empathy by opening our eyes to other communities and cultures. Books are also an important source that allows us to hone our linguistic and vocabulary skills.
It’s a celebration of reading
One thing that reading has taught us is that nothing is impossible. With the power of imagination and sheer willpower, we can achieve anything and everything. Our mind is an ever-expanding universe that must seek inspiration to create, and reading provides us with just that.
Paperback Book Day dates