From the Content Director: Disappearing Acts
I just read about a new book printed in disappearing ink. Published by Argentinean publisher Eterna Cadencia, “El libro que no puede esperar,” or “The Book That Can’t Wait,” features a selection of new Latin American authors, and is printed in ink that fades when exposed to light and air. Two months after you buy the book, it’s gone.
My own bookselling experience began in 1998 at at Barnes & Noble. I had been working in the book publishing industry for many years as an editor in both professional and trade publishing, and was at this point running my own independent literary agency. I was, and am still, always curious to learn more about how this business works from all points of view, and when B&N announced they would be opening their first Brooklyn superstore just blocks away from my Park Slope home, I decided it was an opportunity to learn something about the retail side of the industry and signed on as a part-time bookseller.
At the time, the independent bookselling community very much viewed Barnes & Noble as the evil corporate empire. This particular superstore was ten blocks or so down the main shopping street of Seventh Avenue from the long-time beloved local indie, Community Bookstore.
The neighborhood was awash in righteous indignation. Chain store opponents printed up tiny slips of paper on which was written a diatribe about how Barnes & Noble was out to destroy the community, and how no one should patronize the new store. Supporters of Community Bookstore would bring these slips of paper with them into our store and surreptitiously tuck them inside books when we weren’t looking. A customer would pull a book off the shelf and rifle through it and one these slips would fall out and flutter to ground. Soon the floor was littered with them.