E-books, of course, are hot right now. (I'll probably have a couple of posts on the subject of e-books coming up soon, because I've found some stories online about them lately. And I'm suffering, currently, from a dearth of ideas about what to write on this blog. Commenting on things I read online is an old mainstay, even though it doesn't make for the most inspired posts. At least it's something.)
But apparently, publishers are also interested in selling more physical books. And so they do things like make the covers pretty to lure customers. (Read more about it in The New York Times.)
I suppose I appreciate good cover art as much as the next person. There's certainly enough bad cover art out there. But when publishers start doing fancy things with the books to improve the aesthetics, they start losing me. I treat books pretty harshly; I bend the pages to mark my place, I take them in the bathtub, I throw them in my purse if I know I'm going to have to wait somewhere a long time. For me, the content is the most important. Substance over style, you know?
I haven't seen so much of this lately, with one exception: The Habitation of the Blessed by Catherynne M. Valente, which I finished last week, has pages which are rough on the outer edge. I guess this is supposed to make them feel more like a historical manuscript or something. My feelings: (1) it was weird for the vertical edge of the page to be rough but the top and bottom to be smooth and (2) the finishing actually made the pages more difficult to turn. I suppose I found it a bit obnoxious. But at least the sequel, The Folded World, is not like that. (For what it's worth, I like the cover art on both. Though the art on The Folded World makes more sense to me, in terms of the contents of the book.)