Thursday, March 27, 2008

Well, I haven't Booked Through Thursday in a while, have I?

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 vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

Ah, this is a great question and allows me to explore my weird book neuroses in greater detail. First, I have to get this off my chest. I do judge books by their covers. I can't help it. There aren't any pretty pictures inside the books that I read, so is it too much to ask for a pretty pictue on the outside that make me drool in anticipation?

When it comes to hardcover or softcover, I have no preference except for when I need a book to be particularly portable. I did a lot of reading on the train back when I lived in a place where there was public transportation, and paperbacks are just more conducive to that. That's not to say I didn't still carry hardcovers back and forth for my train reading, I did (even that hulking Harry Potter finale!), but it certainly wasn't as convenient.

I'm a total nut for trade paperbacks. I like that they're a little bigger but they're still portable. I just like how they feel in my hands, and they just generally seem like a better quality book. I'm also a little put off of mass markets because the types of books I read aren't typically made in that format - though there are notable exceptions to that including one book that I'm reading now. I'm a lit/fiction sort, and when I see mass market, I guess I'm usually expecting something genre. I read genre fiction on occasion and enjoy it, but usually when I'm looking for a book, I'm looking for a trade paperback.

This brings us to font. I'm so picky about fonts that I start to feel like Goldilocks. This font is too big! This font is too small! This font is just riiiiight! But I have to say, if I can't have my ideal font size, I'd rather the font be a little too small. If the font is a little small, I can usually suck it up and deal with it. Oh but if it's too big, that really bothers me. That's my chief problem with some of the young adult books I read. I mean, why is it that a teenager needs a book with slightly oversized font? Does that make it more approachable or something? Not for me. Really large print books that aren't written for small children, frankly, give me the creeps. Gosh, I hope I never lose my eyesight because reading one of those large print books might possibly drive me insane. Weird much?


  1. Okay, I stand corrected. I'd been thinking, "Who really gives a flying fig about font size? I bet nobody."

    You ain't nobody. And I have yet to meet someone who really is named Nobody.

    That means I was wrong. People DO care about font size.

    Thanks for showing me a new way of thinking! One day, you'll pick up a book of mine and see a character talk about font size and know it's all ... your... fault. *g*

  2. I find it annoying that the Harry Potter books have a large font size and aren't single-spaced. Surely the books could loose 100 pages just by having normal size text and line-spacing? Then they woudn't be such a pain to haul around.

  3. The font size doesn't bother me at all, but if I had to choose between smaller or bigger, I'd pick smaller too.

    I like trade paperbacks best too. I've noticed that there is quite a bit of genre fiction coming out in that format as well these days, especially translated mysteries and the like. I'd rather spend the little extra money on a trade over a mass market any day. Probably not what my husband wants to hear, but there you go. Haha

  4. Well, you certainly know what you like, huh? :)

    I'm afraid I'm the opposite when it comes to font size. If it has to be too big or too small, I'll opt for too big. I think it might be because of the way I generally have to slip in my reading, in snippets of a few minutes here and a few minutes there. With a big font I might actually get to turn the page a time or two, so I feel like I'm actually getting somewhere :)

  5. I also judge books by their covers. For me the idea font size is 13 pt and 1 1/2 spacing.

    Happy BTT.

  6. Hi, Megan! Just wanted you to know that you won the drawing for Forgive Me. Please send your address, and I'll get it in the mail on Monday. Hope you enjoy it!

  7. One of the women in my book club always gets her book in large print from the library and I can't figure out why! It kind of drives me nuts though, since I can't stand the large fonts either. Great post.