Beloved Books in the Bin : Blog Of The Nation With the glut of titles in print and coming down the pike, have we entered the age of the disposable book?
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Beloved Books in the Bin

Beloved Books in the Bin

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Is anything worth keeping anymore? Source: svenwork hide caption

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Source: svenwork

This is going to sound incredibly geeky, but I'm sorry, I want to know: What's your relationship with books?

In my family, they've always been little treasures, whether they're wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree or lined up in long rows of shelving in the living room. I've always been surrounded by books and taught to treat them with reverence: no dog-earing the pages, don't break the spine, and certainly don't write in the margins. To me, the object carries meaning that often outweighs its physical heft.

Sadly, Jonathan Karp, a publisher, says we have entered "the age of the disposable book." He's got a point — here at NPR we receive bazillions of books every day. Seriously. Bazillions. And the redundancy, quick-turnaround, and shallowness of many of the titles boggles the mind.

Publishers push books out hoping for a hit, but in this morass of media, it's a miracle anything unusual rises to the top (To wit: The New York Times hardcover fiction bestsellers list right now features Janet Evanovich, James Patterson, and Danielle Steel. Powerhouses!). According to Karp (couldn't resist), however, there's hope: "the lasting books will, ultimately, be where the money is." Here's hoping. And, in the meantime, I'm holding onto my collection of "lasting books."