The Book That Can’t Wait (video)

One downside of paper books is that through normal use they tend to grow old and die. I even have a small collection of books which I don’t dare touch because they’d fall apart. Impermanence is a known fact, but have you ever thought of what would happen if a publisher used that as a way to drive book sales?

I just found one, and it’s rather interesting. Eterna Cadencia, a publisher based in Argentina, has recently a new book called The Book That Can’t Wait. This book is an anthology featuring excerpts and short works from a number of new Latin American authors, but the most important detail about this book is that it is printed with disappearing ink.

The ink oxidizes and disappears within 2 months of being exposed to air. This of course means that the book needs to be sold in a sealed bag. but more importantly it forces the new owner to read  the book in a timely fashion. Clever, no?

I have a to be read pile which is a threat to low -resource servers, so I can appreciate what they’re trying to do. If I had bought this book I might have left it sitting for months before cracking it open, and with the disappearing ink that’s simply not a viable strategy.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. dave blevins19 June, 2012

    NO sale here

  2. J19 June, 2012

    this is the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard for a book. Why buy a book if you can’t read it more than once?

  3. The Book that can´t wait – Editora portenha cria livros que desaparecem em contato com o ar19 June, 2012

    […] The Digital Reader TweetFollow @mauroamaral var addedComment = function(response) { […]

  4. finrind19 June, 2012

    They are dressing the idea that lets them sell more copies and prevent library use/reselling/lending as a noble idea to help new authors. That’s a highly unethical BS and I’m surprised to see that some people are actually successfully tricked by the ad.

  5. Jon Jermey19 June, 2012

    This is what naked desperation looks like. We’ve already had a book printed upside-down on alternate pages — what’s next? I predict books with every second word printed upside down, books with alternate paragraphs in different languages, books with palindromes, books with acrostics…. all in a scramble to try and get above the rising tide of disinterest.

  6. Jon Jermey19 June, 2012

    PS: I wonder if scroll makers resorted to this kind of gimmickry when they started to go out of business?

    “Look, Brother Lucas — when I unroll this part the illuminated letter pops up and the Virgin Mary waves her hand!”

  7. Jim T.19 June, 2012

    “One downside of paper books is that through normal use they tend to grow old and die.”

    You must only buy cheap paperbacks from the supermarket. Good quality hardcover books last longer than a typical human lifespan. E-books are actually a more fragile medium, and will only survive for the long term if multiple backups are made at regular intervals. And that’s assuming today’s formats will not be rendered unreadable by subsequent developments of technology.

    1. Nate Hoffelder19 June, 2012

      I wouldn’t call most of the hardback published last year by the major publishers “good quality”. About the only thing separating them from paperbacks is several extra ounces of cardboard.

      1. Jim T.19 June, 2012

        The books I’ve bought in the past year feel no less durable than the ones I bought thirty years ago that still work fine.

  8. Richard Adin20 June, 2012

    Although it wasn’t emphasized in the video, and seemed to pass by too quickly, the books were given away for free. To my mind, as long as I don’t have to pay for the book, it is OK to have the book disappear in 2 months (I might have chosen 3 months were I the publisher). And if I were the publisher, I would offer to sell a regular POD copy to anyone who wanted a more permanent title.

    Personally, I think this is a great idea, especially for new authors. I could see getting a copy and not opening it until I was ready to read it, even if it were 12 months later. As long as the package remains sealed, the words do not disappear.

  9. […] has discovered a way to force their book to the top of buyers “to be read” lists, meet the book that can’t wait. (Spanish readers only for now, but a great promo in English, so who knows what the future […]

  10. […] in Argentina has created The Book That Can’t Wait. The book is printed with disappearing ink that oxidizes and disappears within 2 months of being […]

  11. […] to Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader, I came upon the following video, called “The Book That Can’t […]

  12. […] few weeks back Nate posted the following video, called “The Book That Can’t […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top