06 July 2016

books, beaches, imaginary worlds

¨Books can take you places¨ used to be a catch phrase at libraries, Public Service Announcements, summer reading programs, GED and alternative education promotional posters, and so on. It is still true today, but the phrase is not so much in circulation these days.
[click for full size image: display top of cabinets on 2nd floor of Traverse Area District Library to promote reading at the beach: 6 July 2016]

Whether the printed page appears in pocket-size, magazine size, serial or all in one edition hardback or softcover the cultural significance is the same: one or more authors, and likely one or more editors pored over the manuscript (seldom written by hand; so more true-to-say typescript) and then a chain of technical experts and logistical processes connect the finished work with the final distribution in print or electronically for reading on portable electronic device. There is the technology of inks, papers, the graphic design to interpret the title and story inside, the pricing and promotional efforts by marketing specialists. There may be price points for book launch, then the rates at brick-and-mortar retail sellers, a 2ndary market for used books online and at stores, and the tertiary market of yard sales, free boxes and donations.

So when faced with an impressive collection of books like this, it is worth remembering what is implicated far in the past when author(s) cherished an inkling of a story and finally months or decades of life experience later produce a draft to work its way to the printing and distribution stages. And the implication stretches equally far in the opposite direction, too; toward an indefinite future in the life cycle of a particular edition, or maybe extended with multiple reprintings, as well. But in the release of the camera's shutter, that long timeline from conception to final disposition of a book is frozen momentarily to display the impressive cumulative result of many hands and minds.

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