A book written in disappearing ink [video]
In Buenos Aires, small bookshop and publisher Eterna Cadencia has been wrestling with the question of the role of books in a digital age. These days, e-books seem more important, more interesting, than their print counterparts. How can print books take on a measure of urgency?
Eterna Cadencia's answer seems, at first, counterintuitive: It printed a book with disappearing ink.
The book, "El Libro que No Puede Esperar" (The Book That Can't Wait), comes sealed in a plastic wrapper. Once the wrapper is removed and the book is cracked, the ink begins to age; it's got a lifespan of less than two months. Just months after being opened, The Book That Can't Wait is filled with nothing but blank pages.
That makes the book unputdownable in an entirely new way.
Who wants a book that will self-destruct in 60 days? Turns out, Argentine readers do. Eterna Cadencia sold out of its entire first disappearing-ink printing in a single day.
One of the reasons the publisher wanted to give the book urgency was that it wants readers to leap in and try reading works from new authors. The thinking goes, if new authors don't get read, they can't continue -- but if they do get read, they can find footing on a career path of writing.
"This time we had the guarantee that our new authors were read," Eterna Cadencia explains in the video above.
The publisher plans to use The Book That Can't Wait's disappearing ink platform for other books in the future. Until then, curious readers will have to wait for the next Book That Can't Wait.
-- Carolyn Kellogg