#253: Books unbound

I’ve been carrying around a giant book in my briefcase for the last couple of weeks. Sometimes on a journey I get to read some of it but often there simply isn’t enough elbow room to read.

It occurred to me that most people can only read a few pages at a time. Even on a very long trip, I find there’s a limit to my concentration span of about an hour.


Today’s invention is an upgrade to the age-old process of bookbinding -at least until electronic books become widely available.

Modular (printed) books can save weight on journeys (Charles Dickens’ stories were written to be read as installments). My proposal is to make available books (via eg download from Amazon) on a chapter by chapter basis -at a pro rata price.

These could be printed out, clipped together, read in transit and then ringbound together, back at base.

This would provide portability and cost-effective access to useful subsets of a publication (albeit perhaps only chapter 1 of a novel), without having to fork out for the whole thing.

Such a scheme could be improved upon by progressive printing: the first print uses very light ink of one colour,the next edition would be printed over the same page, using dark ink of contrasting colour -it’s surprisingly easy to read the latest version and thus save a lot of paper (keeping only the electronic version).

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