Endangered Paperbacks and Other Weirdness in the Time of COVID-19

paperback book on greenery shaded by wildflowers

Hello, fellow readers.

What a crazy unprecedented time we’ve entered. The real world plays out like the scene of a dystopian novel that has so many plot threads, our heads keep spinning from news headlines.

Among the latest COVID-19 news in the US?

Governmental agencies are concerned about food supply chains if the PPE (personal protection equipment) shortages impact our food processing facilities.

Then there’s Friday’s “suggestion” urging US citizens to wear a mask, a scarf, or like Stone and I have been sporting…a Buff! Not to protect ourselves, but to protect everyone else. I think it was Vice President Mike Pence who said, “My mask protects you, and your mask protects me.”

Our immediate building neighbors were wearing bandanas that day. When we passed in the hall, they pointed finger-guns at us and said, “Stick-em up!” Much laughter ensued. Because what can we do? Laugh…and protect.

Of course, if you live in Boise, Idaho (like us new residents do), earlier this week, you also got literally shaken by an historic 6.5 magnitude earthquake that lasted almost thirty seconds. It’s been over forty years since Boise’s had an earthquake. And it was on a fault line that apparently hasn’t had a tremblor that big before. Soooo… yeah. Crazy all around.

But one book-industry headline is the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on paperback books.

And our upcoming book Born of Mist and Legend has been swept up in the chaos.

The bit we’d caught had to do with the entire supply chain of books being disrupted. From Amazon diverting priority of shipments to necessities (and rightly so), to printers, warehouses, fulfillment centers, and retail stores’ challenges in keeping workplaces sanitized enough to keep the flow of books moving.

That’s if any of those entities on the supply side are even open. If they’re not labeled an essential business in a lockdown area, they’ve already shuttered. For weeks. Or months. Or… who knows.

We’ve heard from readers that their libraries have “closed indefinitely.”

Of course, with paper-product shortages and the federal government designating paper mills as essential businesses, will there even be paper available to print our nation’s books anytime soon?

Stone said, “Besides, if you could get your hands on a paperback at a library or coffee shop or bookstore right now, would you even want to read it…hold it so close to your face?”

Scientists say the COVID-19 coronavirus can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours: paper up to 24, plastic—perhaps a glossy book cover?—up to 72. So now we’re disinfecting our paperbacks? Or quarantining them somewhere safe?

Which leads us to the obvious solution: an e-book.

How many paperback-lover holdouts might finally take the plunge and convert to an e-reader?

We suspect many.

Think about it. Your own personal library. No dust-mite-ranch bookshelves. Cheaper electronic books. Perfectly flat pages lit at night. Increase your font size at will. Highlight favorite quotes with a stroke. Look up an unusual word at the touch of a finger.

Regardless of our readers’ personal preference and decisions during this strange time, after nine novels and two novellas over the last eight years, this will be our first book that will not have an accompanying paperback at its release due to the current supply chain interruption.

We’re bummed about that, but getting over it. Because acceptance of reality is more critical than ever these days.

Will we offer a paperback version of Born and Mist and Legend?

At the immediate moment, we hope so.

But that answer is also tied to a book world that was…not a book world that is.

We’re all waiting with baited breath to find out what the greater world will be like next month. Let’s hope our book world is filled with all kinds of reader-friendly options. Something for everyone.

What do you think?

Are you a paperback lover?

Will you clamor to get your hands on a physical book?

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Until then, Born of Mist and Legend is definitely available by e-book in just eight days on a variety of retailers (see book links below for a sampling.) And if you give the e-book a try, we hope you enjoy the adventure.

Stay safe and healthy out there. Much love and well wishes to all.

Your humble shoe and boot,
~ Kat & Stone

© 2020 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion

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Preorder Yours Today!Releases April 13, 2020
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