Stories for girls and stories for boys still exist, but publications are nowadays too canny to announce on the cover which chromosomes they expect their readers to possess.
For more than 70 years, a 32-page passport with a dark blue cover, with the lion and unicorn crest in gold was the identification UK citizens needed to leave their island. After Brexit, one of the most urgent and vital questions needs answering: Could the blue passport come back?
What do you need to do when mutually assured destruction is heading your way? Build a fallout room. Fill the bath with water. Fire-proof everything. So what did the British government do? Send us a booklet.
Those little inky numbers have just about evaporated. Back in the day, the librarian would solemnly imprint the piece of paper stuck in the front of your library book with a date stamp when you borrowed that book. This stamp told you when you when you had to return the book to the library.
In 2012, the Encyclopaedia Britannica announced that, after 244 years, fifteen editions and selling more than 7 million sets of its volumes, it was going out of print. The 32 volumes and 44 million words of the 2010 edition were its last.
The siren call of a “publisher” looking for YOUR manuscript.