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why (looking at you specifically, FSG) do you insist on saying 'A Note About the Author'? after all you don't say 'A Note About Copyright Law' or 'A Note Involving the Title of This Book'

e-book stylists: i guess there's room for expression between the cover and the title page, but *then* comes the copyright and *then* comes the dedication. stop putting them at the end ffs

i shall let other posters weigh in on covers featuring yellow-lit buildings in the night

mookieproof, Sunday, 23 June 2024 04:41 (three weeks ago) link

old-times digressive subset of answers (for reference and expansion):

e.g. this was when i shd have bailed: "The clash between Pope George VII and Emperor Henry IV of England is a case in point"

mark s, Sunday, 23 June 2024 10:29 (three weeks ago) link

(it's not doing the thing but you can still click thru) (sorry mookieproof)

mark s, Sunday, 23 June 2024 10:31 (three weeks ago) link

hi academic ebook publishers, pdfs are fucking useless, thanks for listening

i love a man in a unicorn (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 23 June 2024 11:04 (three weeks ago) link

Books can fall on your foot

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 23 June 2024 14:35 (three weeks ago) link

Main one would be the incompetent, cheap binding from some paperback publishers. Looking at you Metheun, NHB. The only translations of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Trilogy are published by these guys, and the books fall apart instantly.

glumdalclitch, Sunday, 23 June 2024 14:41 (three weeks ago) link


if a book is worth printing it is worth binding properly so it doesn't break its back on its first reading. if you're that cheapass about binding you may as well have printed it as a newspaper.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Sunday, 23 June 2024 17:42 (three weeks ago) link

Deckled edges. I don't get it

i love a man in a unicorn (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 23 June 2024 19:50 (three weeks ago) link

If the contents of your book are nothing more complicated than ordinary prose text, don't print it in a non-conformist size (e.g. 8" x 8") that has no real justification aside from 'we just wanted to do something different'. They stick out like sore thumbs when shelved, especially when the spine extends beyond the outer edge of the shelf. It's pointlessly irritating.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Sunday, 23 June 2024 20:01 (three weeks ago) link

It aggravates me when publishers put any substantial text (Preface, Foreword, Editor's note) before the Table of Contents. The Table of Contents should be the easiest thing in the book to find. Put it as close to the front as possible, imo.

(Granted, this is less of an annoyance for leisure reading than for work reading, when I have to quickly skim the pdf of a report and the ToC is 10 pages in.)

jmm, Sunday, 23 June 2024 21:25 (three weeks ago) link

Bad quality paper and printing is so frustrating. I just bought a friend’s new hardback novel, published by Abacus, that looks like rice paper run through a dot matrix printer

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 23 June 2024 22:04 (three weeks ago) link

Re mookieproof’s third complaint:

The ever-growing dark building/yellow light crime cover collection.

— Caustic Cover Critic (@Unwise_Trousers) September 15, 2023

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Sunday, 23 June 2024 23:06 (three weeks ago) link

That cheap slightly-glossed paper that’s so lightweight the print shows through but also makes the book weirdly heavy and is just awful to fucking read, aesthetically speaking
Academic texts do this a lot and should be yelled at for it

crooked pages, either cut wrong or printed wrong, drives me UP the wall

map reproductions in cheap printings where the image is sixth-hand from original and so blurry/small as to be completely useless

photo plates without captions
what is even the point

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 24 June 2024 00:45 (two weeks ago) link

"Main one would be the incompetent, cheap binding from some paperback publishers"

omg i was reading this awesome article on Leon Forrest's novel Divine Days and they have a new reissue copy next door to my house (!!) at my friends bookstore (what are the odds?) and i took one look at it and knew that it would fall apart 1/4 of the way through. its a thousand pages long and its a trade paperback where you can lift the spine of the book and look through it! no way. i totally would have bought it. its looks like an awesome thing.

scott seward, Monday, 24 June 2024 01:09 (two weeks ago) link

i suppose i could just tape it up and not care about the look of the thing.

scott seward, Monday, 24 June 2024 01:09 (two weeks ago) link

When they print "This page intentionally left blank" on a page that is not, in fact, blank because it says "this page intentionally left blank" on it.

Deflatormouse, Monday, 24 June 2024 02:36 (two weeks ago) link

dedications that are like

to everyone who wanted to sleep a little longer when the alarm went off

do you really have no one in your life who has meant more to you than being twee as fuc

mookieproof, Monday, 24 June 2024 03:51 (two weeks ago) link

'A Note About the Author'

still better than 'Meet the Author' at least

mookieproof, Monday, 24 June 2024 05:14 (two weeks ago) link

author photos that are all like

if you insist on a photo, just . . . try being normal maybe

mookieproof, Monday, 24 June 2024 05:39 (two weeks ago) link

Non-fiction books that don't have an index.

bored by endless ecstasy (anagram), Monday, 24 June 2024 06:36 (two weeks ago) link

otm but tbf i hear that publishers now make authors pay for indexing themselves, and few non-fiction authors have the money to spare

mookieproof, Monday, 24 June 2024 07:03 (two weeks ago) link

old school complaint that must have been covered elsewhere -

  • endnotes that don't reference the page number to which the notes refer (usually at the top eg pp50-53)
  • acknowledgments generally (unless specific academic or other indebtedness - ie the book was clearly influenced by other books or research). Not 'here's a list of my mates who read it'
  • the faber finds model of buying up classics into a print on demand and then issuing without any apparatus

Fizzles, Monday, 24 June 2024 08:43 (two weeks ago) link

Recently I've noticed while looking at reviews of fiction books that a lot of people complain that they "Had to keep a dictionary next to (them) while reading".
First off, these are not particularly dense or wordy books I would say.
Second of all, what's wrong with using and learning cool words?

your mom goes to limgrave (dog latin), Monday, 24 June 2024 11:48 (two weeks ago) link

^ another reason ebook are better (when i actually remember to use the dictionary). the kobo dictionary has impressed me a few times with just how obscure it goes.

koogs, Monday, 24 June 2024 12:52 (two weeks ago) link

If there is a map in your book, it should ideally show every place name that appears in the text.

Millennium Falco (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 24 June 2024 15:09 (two weeks ago) link

I would like an ebook of the first Earthsea novel that adds a little dashed line to the map as the book continues

"Ged, Sparrowhawk, Archmage of Roke, YOU ARE HERE"

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 24 June 2024 17:10 (two weeks ago) link

i hate those jumped-up modern trade paperbacks with pretend dust-jacket flaps built into the cover

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 24 June 2024 17:26 (two weeks ago) link

the tassel bookmark things on Library of America editions are annoying

brimstead, Monday, 24 June 2024 18:33 (two weeks ago) link

it doesn't make me angry but it did used to make me kinda sad that so many sci-fi books i read obviously didn't have a proofreader. so many typos. like it wasn't worth the publisher's money to get it right. i've only really encountered this with SF.

scott seward, Monday, 24 June 2024 19:12 (two weeks ago) link

yeah, tassels and paperback dust-jacket flaps, i mean anything that gets in the way of actually reading the book is so dumb! it would be cool if books included nice bookmarks with a picture of the book cover on them.

scott seward, Monday, 24 June 2024 19:18 (two weeks ago) link

Typos on stuff from major publishers confounds me. I can’t be that good at spotting typos without even trying. Is proofreading/copyediting for long stretches so tedious that it’s impossible to avoid this?

brimstead, Monday, 24 June 2024 19:34 (two weeks ago) link

texts peppered with endnote reference numbers don't read smoothly. I'm still not sure how to order my time checking them out. End of paragraph despite there possibly being a couple more. Or end of page. Each time one crops up breaks the flow in reading anyway.
& really doesn't help in a loo book.

Stevo, Monday, 24 June 2024 19:54 (two weeks ago) link

otm i so agree stevo!

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 24 June 2024 20:06 (two weeks ago) link

two guys got together to write a space opera. they didn't bother to hide the fact that they were two guys, but they chose to create a name -- JAMES S.A. COREY -- for the cover and stuff. and i hate them for it

mookieproof, Tuesday, 25 June 2024 04:47 (two weeks ago) link

- Prefaces that read like personal or academic essays, whose ideas and interpretation are quickly dated and controversial, that are full of spoilers, and that take up 20% of the text that follows. This is not your book, shut up.
- On that matter, books that are not clear where the text starts. I want to know if I'm reading the incipit or the first line of yet another introduction.
- Notes that assume an erudite tone, flaunt needless historical details or obscure references, offer judgement on the text, or assume the reader speaks fluent Ancient Greek and Latin.
- Stickers that are printed on the cover, superlative praise / bait, and other marketing devices.

Nabozo, Tuesday, 25 June 2024 08:36 (two weeks ago) link

i do hate spoiler intros so much! who reads them before they read the book? why can't they put them in the back?

scott seward, Tuesday, 25 June 2024 12:05 (two weeks ago) link

to be honest, i hate endless book club stuff at the back of a book too. also filled with spoilers. i feel like the text is sometimes bigger too and sometimes i accidentally see stuff that i don't want to see. like who killed the butler!

scott seward, Tuesday, 25 June 2024 12:07 (two weeks ago) link

especially intros in the front that quote huge chunks of the book. i hate that.

scott seward, Tuesday, 25 June 2024 12:08 (two weeks ago) link

Sometimes I think about book covers and how they are constantly changing.

Is music the one form of packaged art where we get really precious about the original cover? Movies are repackaged with new covers fairly regularly, as are books. It seems like every time I perused paperback Stephen King books back in the day his entire works would be reissued with brand new covers, none as good as the originals. That first Pet Semetary cover was so good.

Cow_Art, Tuesday, 25 June 2024 12:18 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah always wondered about that. It does happen with music occasionally but not often

your mom goes to limgrave (dog latin), Tuesday, 25 June 2024 12:25 (two weeks ago) link

wait, now i'm curious, does anyone read the long intro that explains every element of the book with liberal paragraph quoting before they read the book? uh, talking fiction of course.

scott seward, Tuesday, 25 June 2024 12:56 (two weeks ago) link

no, hate them. i do read them after i've read the book and they're easy to skip and i can understand why putting them at the end would be a bit weird so it's somewhat an irrational hatred.

ledge, Tuesday, 25 June 2024 13:02 (two weeks ago) link

must books be described as 'cozy'?

mookieproof, Saturday, 6 July 2024 23:21 (one week ago) link

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