Thursday, March 3, 2016

In praise of beautiful books

There is a neverending battle between those who love e-readers and those who love physical books. I fall somewhere in the middle. I love my Kindle, I love how easy and convenient it is to own hundreds of books and to be able to access them at any time, and I like how easy it is to read privately on a Kindle (because, let's face it, no matter how well-written a book is, if it has an embarrassing cover, I won't be carrying it in public).

But I love physical books too. I know people talk a lot about the smell of books, but to be honest, I don't sniff books, unless there is some scratch-and-sniff feature to it. Old books smell like... really old books. Like dust and must and other people's hands. So the "old book smell" is not what draws me to physical books. Nope.

What wins me over? Beautiful endpapers and interesting design features. These are things that you absolutely need physical copies to appreciate.



For example, Illuminae was my favorite book of 2015, and while the story was what won me over, I have to admit that its acetate cover with peek-a-boo quotes was a really delightful bonus:


And I haven't gotten around to reading this yet, but I love the black edging in Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows:


I also love adorable "hidden" surprises under the dust jacket. I've posted this previously as well, but here is the naked cover of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven:



And of course, endpapers! Beautiful, gorgeous endpapers! I think I bought a lot of these books for the endpapers alone. (My TBR pile is a mile high.)

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

All of Gena Showalter's Alice in Zombieland books have similar endpapers.
This is book 4, A Mad Zombie Party

Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen and Glass Sword

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which I LOVE but read
before I ever had a book blog

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Stuff like this doesn't make or break a story for me, but it adds to the experience of reading the book - if every time I opened the book I was faced with something cool or beautiful or interesting beyond just plain white pages, I find myself more excited to read the book.

There are a lot more examples, and there are a lot of cool book designs (like, everything released by Mark Z. Danielewski ever!). This is just one of the many reasons why physical books are in no danger of disappearing - the books themselves, along with the stories they contain, are art to be treasured.

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