Friday, May 20, 2016

When the Format Matters

I know some people are very strongly in one camp or another when it comes to physical books versus electronic books, but I have a foot in both camps. I certainly own far more physical books; just ask the friend who looked at my living room and commented that it looked like a library (why, thank you). It's also nice to be able to lend them to people, which e-books don't exactly support. But I have accumulated a few e-books, generally either free or cheap, and find it very handy to have them for traveling or just when I'm out and unexpectedly want something to read (if, for instance, I decide to stop and eat, I always have something to read with me.).

A while back, I read a recommendation for a fantasy novel called The Raven Ring, by the excellent Patricia Wrede; I've read some of her books, but not all of them, and this was part of the 'not' group. I checked my library, and they had it in an electronic version, so I borrowed that, and I loved it. Funny thing: it's part of a group of five books set in the same world, Lyra*, but it's not a series, and you don't have to read them in any order. When I finished it, I eagerly read the others, and didn't like a one of them nearly as much as TRR. How about that? If I'd read any of the other four first, I doubt I would have read any more.
*Which just always makes me think of The Golden Compass--cross-fantasy confusion at its best.

Anyway, I enjoyed TRR enough that I got it out of the library multiple times, and finally decided I should go ahead and buy it. I looked on eBay, and found a copy of the old paperback for all of $3.97, so I ordered it.

However. Through no fault of the seller, I didn't actually like the physical copy. First of all, it's the cover image I dislike, since Eleret is a strong, practical, independent woman, and the image on the cover looks to me like a pouty dreamer.
Right? It's very misleading. And also, this copy is kind of tightly bound, so I almost have to force it open, to the point I worry about breaking the binding. Not comfortable reading.

Even more, though, it's the font inside that bothers me, believe it or not. Here's the reason why there are two copies above: I got a copy of the hardcover out of the library to see if it was better, since no point in buying it if it's the same. I hate to think that at age 47, my vision is deteriorating that much, so tell me, do you find the one on the right easier to read than the one on the left?
In the paperback, I feel like the font is a little light (which could be this specific copy, not the pb generally), and also a little cutesy; I don't always notice when there's a semicolon instead of a comma, for instance. I was reading it again recently, and thought, Enough; get a copy you like. Hence the getting the copy from the library.

However (again). I opened this morning's email from BookBub--have you heard of that? you sign up, and they send you an email with the day's deals for free or cheap e-books--and there was, not TRR, but the series of all five books, for $3.99. I can order just the e-book of TRR for $7.99, or get it together with four other books (that I will probably never read) for half the cost. What a waste of electrons, eh?

But of course I ordered it. Well, them, but really, it. Happy Friday!

If you need more than my super-exciting tale, then here, have you seen the video of this woman and her amazing laugh? I want to be her friend!


  1. The one on the right is so much easier to read.

    I have found myself disliking books due to the type used. For instance, when I am presented with a single-spaced document in Times New Roman my back goes stiff, I get restless and can hardly concentrate on what I'm reading.

  2. Yes, the one on the right is definitely easier to read. Part of it, I think, it is not as dark.

    Also, loved the lady laughing. I bet she's a hoot

  3. Yes, the one on the right is definitely easier to read. Part of it, I think, it is not as dark.

    Also, loved the lady laughing. I bet she's a hoot

  4. The one on the right is much easier to read.

  5. oh man! i just recently signed up for bookbub, and promptly bought like 8 books (for cheap / free at least!) in like 4 days, so i put a moratorium on myself and even though the Raven Ring popped up and looked good, I passed it up... now regretting that choice!!