Nothing ever is permanent, and neither are books of crime fiction. Of course. One could argue that their obsolescence and expiration are programmed from the moment they are published. Or even, in many cases, written. One thing is to understand notionally that the lifespan of books of crime fiction is short. Quite another is to see containers for thrillers, in a recycling site designed for household waste. The size and amount of containers for discarded books is intriguing. Apparently, on this evidence, people are at the moment getting rid of more than twice as many books as clothes. Did they have twice as many in the first place? Are these books being replaced by other books on vacated shelves?
Our AHRC project Visualising European Crime Fiction, with its historical dimension, might have a wider societal significance than we measure. Maybe one could read in it, as a cultural subtext, an anxiety to recover physical traces of old popular books and series, before they are wiped off our horizons.