Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I don't like...

Mondays, do you ask? No, well, not always. Spiders? Yes. So much yes. Ew. But what I really don't like is the book design I'm going to talk about now. Yes, I'm talking about flippin' flipback books. 

Four titles out of 18. Thanks to vicbooks Pipitea for the books. Apologies for all the photos,
they're not great.

Originally designed in the Netherlands, the flipback book opens vertically with the pages turning from bottom to top. According the flipback website '...you get a full length novel in little more than the size of a smartphone.' They're actually 12cm by 8cm, and around 1.5cm - they've managed to keep them all around the same width despite the differing lengths of the original texts. On average, they weigh less than 145 grams and are printed on a very light and thin, almost Bible-paper paper. You'll see some shots further down of the insides.

So above are the spines of four of the titles I've picked out - Misery, Pride and Prejudice, Cloud Atlas and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I've got close ups of Misery and Cloud Atlas further down this post. From first glance, these books look nice. The titles stand out well in a basic san-serif, and a different colour for title and author. The colour of the title actually ties in to the cover image, which you'll see in the next picture.

Covers, looking all pretty. The publisher on the cover alternates between Hodder, Sceptre
and John Murray. I assume this is depending on which imprint currently holds rights?
So here are the covers of the four. They're all covers I've seen before, with the exception of P&P. And I don't really like it at all - there are many, many covers of Austen's novel and it seems odd to pick one so plain compared to the others. I mean, flowers are fine but they're not on the same level as the typewriter for Misery. Or at least that's what I think. The other three are great though, the cover and spines link together nicely and below you'll see Cloud Atlas open fully.
Look how nice and pink it is!
I'm not 100% sure, but I think this cover is an adapted version of the original - someone correct me if I'm wrong! I love it though. The colours stand out, contrasting the pink and blue works so well.The title has an awesome pattern running through it. I'm also really enjoying how short the blurb is, however I'm not enjoying it as a whole. We had a session on blurb writing, and this one screams 'no' to me now. Back in the day I wouldn't have minded, but now I can't allow the author's name to be used to describe the book - a book shouldn't need it's author's name to describe it! Also, as you might be able to see, it's $27.99. Not exactly cheap when the paperback of this book is only $28.99. I guess the convenience the size?
I just realised I didn't get a picture of this, but thanks to the internet I can explain what I'm talking about! Check out the picture below.
Check out the cover and spine... Ooo!
Ooo indeed! As you can (hopefully) see, the spine and front cover aren't attached. The text block is stuck on to the back cover, but not to the spine or front cover. This is so the book holds itself open more easily than you having to push down on the pages of a hardback to make it stay open by itself. This is quite a cool design; my only issue with it is  the wear and tear of it all. When these first came in to the shop, I picked it up and flicked it open and the thing nearly fell out of my hand. If you were to accidently pick it up by the front cover alone, you run the risk that the back starts to rip off. Maybe I'm just rough with my books... I just don't think this will survive in your bag like a usual book would. 

Now for some internal shots, I'm just going to put a few from Misery below. 

Praise the glory!
In case you didn't know.
Start of a chapter.
Example of typewriter text in the novel.
Buy all the flipbacks!
So there you have it, an entire flipback in five images. One thing I have to say straight of the bat, and I hope you noticed it to - the typeface. It's all sans-serif. Urgh. Now, earlier I said I liked it for the cover title, and that still stands. And if you've read my other posts, you'll know that I like sans-serif for kid's books. But not for an entire novel. And especially not for a tiny little format like this. I'm getting worked up just writing this! We discussed in class the main reason a serif font is used over sans-serif for narrative, and that's because there are more points of difference between characters. When you're writing something, your 'a's and 'd's can get mixed up, because generally the only thing showing the difference between this is the vertical line on a 'd'. But with serif, the a comes out like this one does, and you can easily tell that it's an a and not a d. Now the most frustrating thing is that the font I'm using right now, trebuchet, isn't a serif, but Times New Roman is. See the difference? I hope so. Anywho, I hate the flipback for using this. Especially with the typewriter text (second to last image). Doesn't that look shocking? Every 'n' looks like it's italicised, even though I don't think it's supposed to be. Gah. Just dislike on so many levels. Also, the typewriter sections are ragged right, while the rest is justified. Make up your mind people!
Another thing to note is the margin sizes. As a woman, I have hilariously manly thumbs, as a good friend told me when we were 13. Holding the book open on the side with one hand actually isn't that easy, and it definitely gets in my way when reading. I'm fairly certain that the left side is slightly larger, have a look in the 'about the author' picture above. But I'm right-handed anyway, so that's not helpful. 

That's my rant about flipbacks. I really just don't like them, I think the design is just a little crazy and although people went nuts for them when they first came out, the novelty has definitely worn off.

More to come,

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