Thursday, 27 March 2008

Booking through Thursday
This week's question:
While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback v mass-market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?
It doesn't really worry me. So long as it doesn't have a tightly-glued spine or pages with narrow margins and tiny type, I can't say the design of a book affects my choice, or my enjoyment of it, very much at all.
Which is not to say that I don't relish a well-designed book, with a gorgeous font (Bodoni, or Bembo, or any of the Garamond family) on luscious stock, perhaps with deckle edges and a heavy, textured paper dust jacket. Yum-oh!
Frankly, my enjoyment is affected much more by bad editing, and mistakes in grammar or spelling. Heebie-jeebies!
My sister-in-law told me once of someone she knew (in publishing, I think) who flatly refused to buy any book that had embossed type on its cover. He'd shut his eyes and run his fingers over the cover and if there was any hint of raised type, he'd reject it. There's a good Aussie word for that and it begins with w.
In fact, there are several words for that ...

10 comments:

Table Talk said...

We clearly share the same gripes. I hate books with too tightly bound spines, mainly because it makes it so difficult to read them while eating! And don't get me onto the subject of bad editing. We could be here all day.

Jeane said...

Not liking a book because it has embossed covers? That's just plain weird. You could always remove the dust jacket while reading, if it was bothersome texture.

I'm with you on the typos thing. I recently read a book written by wildlife people, in which they wrote "grizzly" when meaning "grisly", not once but four times! I found it very, very annoying.

gautami tripathy said...

I don't like those hard covers. Specially embossed ones! Too loud for me!

Booking through cover

trish said...

Excuse my ignorance, but what's the Aussie word that begins with w?

Lesley said...

Table Talk: Very happy to know someone else who reads while eating. Multi-skilling!
Jeane: This fusspot was actually biased against paperbacks with embossed covers. The inference is that they occupy the lower literary strata! Grizzly? Yeeuch!
Gautami: With you on preferring paperbacks. Much more comfy.
Trish: The word is wanker. Which is what we call anyone pretentiously silly or snobby.

Fairlie said...

Chuckling about the W-word guy and his embossed covers!

It's small type for me. If a book has small type I really don't enjoy it.

I don't pay much attention to the cover at all - in fact, often at bookclub someone will raise an issue regarding something on the cover, and it will be the first time I have consciously recognised what is actually on the cover! I'm not sure if that says that I'm unobservant, or that I'm more interested in the content!

M said...

I emailed the editor of a certain book because it was published on paper that was, in my view, more suitable for a textbook than a novel. I hate bright white, almost shiny, pages for a novel.

The editor wrote back to say that the paper was a mistaken order - and yes, that the publisher had a 'textbook arm' and the paper had come from there...

The book BTW was The Factory by Paddy O'Reilly.

jlshall said...

Ah, someone else who notices bad editing! I used to do a lot of proof-reading in my work, so I guess I'm just too sensitive, but mistakes in grammar and spelling really annoy me much more than unattractive design.

Jennifer said...

Font and paper quality make a huge, huge difference to me. I love Bembo generally, but I particularly love when the font is just the perfect complement to the book itself, the story.

Alison Boon said...

I don't judge a book so much by it's cover as by it's feel. The way it feels in my hand and whether the pages turn over smoothly or rasp against each other. I also listen for the sound it makes as I flick through quick. I have rejected some books because they felt wrong, or the font was wrong.