I read physical books, still, quite a bit. One might say I do most of my reading in them. That may or may not be true, but it is true for most of my long-form reading. And there are a few things I notice bookmakers doing that I just can’t understand. I would assume that, aside from actually selling you a thing that you want to read, a bookmaker’s job would primarily be to provide you with the best possible reading experience. And many publishers do (my favorite-feeling books are regular Penguins, though sometimes Penguin makes mistakes, too.) And while none of these things will ever drive me away from reading physical books, they seem like easy-to-fix things that the printers would think about.
My least favorite of the three things I’ll mention are deckled edges. I cannot fathom why they still exist when I know that we easily have the capacity to produce nicely squared-off books. If it’s an older volume I’ll let it slide, but what are my brand new, just from the bookstore copies doing with this unprofessional edge? It looks like they don’t know what they’re doing. To some it might make them feel, I don’t know, “nostalgic”, for lack of a better word. But the uneven pages are just a nuisance, it’s hard to keep, find, or even turn a page, which I do quite often when reading a book. It also makes then not fit nicely against the back of bookshelf, I don’t understand why they are there, they only detracts from the reading experience and is so easily avoidable.
Not quite as antiquated or problematic, but just as nonsensical, are dust covers. I will never understand who invented them in the first place, but removal of the dust cover is phase one of reading a hardback book, and feeling bad about completely ruining it is at least one phase at some point in the reading. They just don’t do anything. They protect nothing, and at this point, printer tech has advanced enough that we can print high-quality images right on the book’s cover. I guess they do allow one to swap between the flashy, bookstore cover, and the classical library cover, but who in the world does that? I’ve only ever ripped the things or laid them next to me when reading. I guess they can serve as a bookmark, too, if you want to bend them out of shape.
And least annoying, and only really annoying to those with collections, as it affects the reading of the book in no way, is the inconsistency in the graphic design of series spines. This is especially true before the boxed sets of series are released, when sometimes two books in the same series are released with different spine heights. This is also the most excusable because I know that many people and companies can’t predict the exact time between two books in a series, or if a book will even be a series at all. But, still, a little more consistency would help my shelves a lot. And looking at little problems like that irk me. But I will still read boks, so the publishers have me there