Brilliant White


Why a good book doesn’t just need a plot

We all love books. How they look, how they feel, how they smell… all of these things are what make books so brilliantly charming. But what makes a good book? Words are always a start. It’s certainly true that all of the good books have words. A good plot is also necessary, as are engaging characters. Oh, and it needs to contain titanium dioxide. Confused? Read on!

Titanium dioxide is commonly used in everyday objects to make things white. It’s in everything you love and need, from cars to plastics. What few people know is that titanium dioxide is in books. It’s not responsible for the actual content – that’s still down to the author – but it is for pretty much everything else. First up, the colour of the page. You remember that fourth Harry Potter book? You know, the one where Hermione was in love with Viktor Krum and Ron got jealous. I’ll always remember that book as having unbelievably white and smooth pages. At the time I thought that it was down to some sort of wizarding magic (Expecto whitepaperonum) but it turns out that it is all down to titanium white. 

Why is that? Because it makes the page opaque. Instead of coating the paper under layers and layers of white paint (which would just make your books three times heavier), titanium dioxide is incorporated in the paper itself. It actually reflects light better than any other pigment and because of this, it increases opacity, allows for thinner paper to be made and makes for a better reading experience.

Thinner paper, better reading experience: all this thanks to tiny chemicals packed with great properties. This doesn’t solve the reading on paper vs tablet divide, but at least it shows books aren’t a thing of the past.

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