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Poches d'air

31/08/2006 - par Mark Tungate

For one horrible moment over the summer, when paranoia at airports was at its height, it seemed as if passengers would be banned from taking books onto ­planes. Imagine an eight-hour flight with nothing to read ? Then the rule was changed to say that you could take books onto planes, but only if you'd bought them at the airport shop. It was a triumph for airport retail !

Personally, although I always visit airport bookstores, I rarely buy books there. They tend to stock an unimaginative selection of the latest thrillers (James Patterson is king of the genre) and jargon-heavy business literature. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the typical airport book buyer is male, highly educated and technology-savvy. Often they're travelling on business. As they're desperate to impress their colleagues, they snap up books like Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, Steven D. Leavitt's Freakonomics, and The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman. Halfway through the flight, though, they switch to James Patterson's suspense bestseller, Judge&Jury.

Apart from Patterson's latest, a quick glance at The New York Times list of bestsellers reveals some obvious airport hits. They include the advice tome Your Best Life Now, by Joel Osteen, and An Inconvenient Truth, by almost-President Al Gore. My favourite current airport title, however, is a book by Mark Leyner. It's called : Why Do Men Have Nipples ? I'm flying to Chicago in a couple of weeks' time, so maybe I'll buy it at the airport.

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Poches d'air

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