Durable books & book repairs

How could it work?

durable books

There are a number of possibilities to make durable books work. My favourite is books with a history.

This idea is best presented in an example.

Madi decides to buy the book Chen’s Dream in a book with a history edition.

The bookshop registers the date and place of the purchase, thereby creating an online profile for this individual book.

Madi has access to this book’s profile and can add any information he likes, either about who he is, or what he thinks about the book.

After reading the book twice, Madi decides to hand it on to his friend Timo.

When they meet, Madi goes online, via the QR code inside the book, and checks himself out as the owner of the book and enters the date and the location of the transfer.

Madi receives a small credit voucher for the registration, and Timo pays a percentage of the original price for receiving the book.

No one has to register their name, but the more people who add details about where and when they read the book, and what they thought about it, the more a single book gets a history of its own. And that makes every copy of the book unique.

And anyone who ever read this copy can log into the profile and see what happened after they passed the copy on.

A former owner could even contact the present owner if they felt like reading their former copy of the book again.

And then there is the case of losing a book. The finder could register the find, the book could be returned, and another piece of history could be added to the copy of this book.

You could even go so far as to keep track of the raw material after the book has been recycled.

And who knows, one day the group of (former) owners of the book might meet up for a cocktail, or for a little festival for books with a history.

E-books could become unique copies with a history too. There is only the question of how to best transfer the e-book file from one owner to the other. But maybe that is solvable if the transfer runs via the history page. In that case one owner checks out, their file dissolves, and when the new owner registers, they get their copy on the history page.

It will be interesting to calculate the price for a book that is being passed on, and maybe that price declines over time. Or maybe the first two or three times are nearly for free and then the price curves up for a while before falling again.

The basis for such a calculation is how much a story needs to earn to keep authors and book stations thriving.

Customers and authors profit from this model, and so does the environment. But what about bookshops?

The bookshop which sold the original book with a history could receive a small percentage whenever the book is passed on.

A simple version of passing books on would be to give each durable book a code, and each time the book is resold, the author gets a share. And bookshops could offer to buy books back for a small sum or for a voucher, arguing that the reader paid for the story not for the book, therefore the amount paid out only represents a small token for the return of the raw material. The next reader pays for the story again.


next: Beyond the core of a book station