Happy Saturday, and happy December, everybody! Only a month left until 2019. I can’t wait to post my end-of-year stuff, per usual. Does anybody else feel like the last 3 months of the year go by super fast?
As I was sitting around this evening reading The Night Circus, I was reminded of how extremely annoyed I am with the cover. Not the art or anything, but the physical design of the cover itself.
Like, first of all, why the giant hole in the middle? Not necessary. And second (and even worse), why is the cover a millimeter shorter than the rest of the pages. Seriously, who thought this was a good idea? I would personally like to tell them they were wrong.
Anyway. This got me thinking about all the other annoying things publishers, writers, and bookstores do that really just make me question my (and their) sanity. Hello and welcome to my rant-fest.
Bookish Pet Peeves
I think I speak for all book lovers when I ask please for the love of god can you stop putting stickers on books?????? Oh, the book has a movie adaptation coming out? Cool, don’t need a sticker to tell me that. The book is 20% off? Okay, but can we just put it in a discount section or maybe display the sticker somewhere other than the book like on the shelf, or even start doing pricetag-like things rather than a glued-on piece of whatever that is impossible to get off? Ah, and of course the classic price tag sticker, which, again, could be replaced with a literal price tag or just being printed inside the book. There are so many ways to avoid adhesive. Can we please look into this? Thanks.
Everyone in the world
(2) Movie Tie-In Covers
As someone who collects books, appreciates beautiful cover designs, and shares my love for literature via aesthetically pleasing photos on Instagram, I really must say I don’t appreciate movie tie-in covers at all. I go out of my way to avoid them. If I go to a store and the only copy of The Fault in Our Stars available is the movie tie-in edition, I will not buy it. Not then, not now, not ever. I get it—you’re trying to appeal to non-readers, trying to draw them in with the movie poster they probably recognize and are trying to yell hey kid, you know where the movie came from? Well, I’m here to tell you that’s completely unnecessary. People can read. We don’t need Shailene Woodley’s and Ansel Elgort’s face plastered all over the cover of TFIOS—we can read that the book does indeed share the same title as that film we watched the other day. But if stores are so determined to sell these abominations, please at least also sell the original edition alongside it. I’m 100% more likely to buy that one.
(3) Excessive Epigraphs
This one is directed at you writers out there. For those of you that don’t know, those little poems or quotes at the beginning of books are known as epigraphs. They tend to introduce the book by linking the book to another known work, acting as a comparison or summary. Do I have a problem with these? Not at all. Epigraphs are cool. What I don’t enjoy is reading 5 epigraphs for 1 book. That’s a bit excessive. Especially if they are long quotes. I feel like the max should be 2, and even that bugs me. I don’t know why, particularly. I guess I feel like, if you’re going to use a quote to kind of preface your book, why do you need 5 different quotes all saying the same variation of one thing? You know? Is this just me?
(4) Too-Short Covers
Yes, I did begin the post discussing this a little. But honestly, I’m still not over it. This one I’m absolutely the most confused about. What is the deal with these shortened covers? Sometimes they are literally only half as long. Other times, it’s like a millimeter was shaved off. I hate these books. It feels like they just gave up halfway through printing the covers. Hello, yes, I’d like to buy an actually finished copy of The Night Circus, please. And The Martian, as this is also my copy with a too-short cover.
(5) Reviews in Place of the Synopsis
Have you ever gone to a bookstore, not looking for a specific book but just browsing the titles, when you find one with an eye-catching cover that you’ve never heard anything about, and when you flip that baby over to read the synopsis…all you find are vague reviews from people you’ve never heard of???? Thanks, Tom, from The New York Times, for explaining how “whimsical and magical” this book is. I bet it sure is “one of the best books this year.” So glad you guarantee it’s something I “won’t be able to put down.” Unfortunately, because your review takes up all the space where the synopsis should be, I now have to pull up Goodreads to find out anything about the book… Seriously, give the reviews a place inside the book or something.
(6) Author Name with a 6,000 pt Font
This one is not as big of a deal for me as the rest, but it did make the list. It feels like you’re trying a little too hard when your name is 10x bigger on the cover than the title of your book. We get it TOM WOLFE, you want your name to be known. However, I’m more interested in what you’ve written than your name. I just feel like your book’s title should be what we notice first, not your name. The thing is, if John Green writes a new book, I already know what it’s called, what it looks like, and exactly where to buy it. I don’t need his name REALLY BIG to know it’s his book. I already recognize the title and his name. And if I see some random dude’s name on a book, I already know nothing about the name or the book, and I’d much rather see the title, anyway.
(7) Abridged Versions
Look. If you want to read Atlas Shrugged, read Atlas Shrugged. You can’t just read a 400-page version of it and say you’ve read it. That’s like reading the SparkNotes or the Wikipedia page and saying you’ve read Atlas Shrugged. JUST FREAKING READ IT.
(8) Dust Jackets
I’m a paperback kinda girl, all the way. Are hardcovers pretty? Yes, absolutely. Are they durable? Mhmm. And isn’t it nice to buy a book hot off the press? Sure. But when it comes to actually reading the book, hardbacks are so difficult. They’re too heavy to hold up with one hand, sometimes even two depending on the length of the book. They’re not as portable as paperbacks. And also, they come with dust jackets. Who actually reads the book with the dust jacket on the book? Anyone? Show of hands? No, seriously, I am genuinely curious, because it’s so uncomfortable… I take that thing off the minute I start reading and don’t put it back on until it’s headed back on the shelf. And even then I hate it. I’d rather just have the book without it. I’ve often thought about disposing of all my dust jackets. I really just think they’re awkward and unnecessary.
I’m sure there’s more, but these are the big ones that haunt my dreams at night. If we could just stop doing these eight simple things, the world would be a better place. Trust me.
Please comment and let me know I’m not alone, here! And let me know if you have your own bookish pet peeves not listed above, because I’m sure I share the sentiment.
Have a good weekend, and happy reading! Oh, and if anyone wants to buy me a version of The Night Circus without the nine-tenths cover, that would be great.