size books

shannon-chat  Are you tired of that book that’s as big as your shirt? If only you had known before you bought it from the internet! Worry no more, Amazon is here to solve problems that don’t need solving by including graphics that help (?) customers identify the size of the books they’re purchasing.

monika-chat  I’ve noticed those images and was wondering what they were all about! I seriously thought, “Why are they putting up images for t-shirt sales on the book page?”


april-chat  Agreed! I find it amazingly amusing that they chose Infinite Jest since it’s approximately a billion pages long. (But so good!)
jennifer-chat  I’ve seen this advertised as a way to make sure that the book you buy will fit into whatever bag you carry. I have never in my life bought a book based on whether or not it will fit into my purse. I have, however, bought purses based on whether or not books will fit into it. Books trump handbags. That’s just the way it is. I’m totally thrilled whenever I run into one of those little square books, but this shirt-man-scale thing makes no sense…the image of a person isn’t a very standard scale.
shannon-chat  Ohhh those little square books, yes. That’s something I love about the CCLaP titles, and they’re still hardcovers! My Kodansha English Press edition of Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is broken up into two square-shaped volumes, and it’s not even that long of a novel. Chunkster 1Q84 was published in three volumes in Japan, too, but it’s one huge book here in the States.


monika-chat  I wish more American publishers would consider smaller-sized books. When I read a physical book, I want to be able to hold it comfortably. I don’t want to have to put it on a table and lean over it like I’m studying—and my lap is otherwise too short! I read 1Q84 on my Nook because I knew it was a physically large book. But if it had been published in volumes here, I wouldn’t have gone the ebook route.
shannon-chat  I actually really love reading chunksters, but I do find myself wishing they would be sold as little multi-volume box sets sometimes. The UK galleys of Garth Risk Hallberg’s City of Fire, which is close to 1000 pages, were broken down into seven volumes and look so much nicer to read.
catherine-chat2  I was thinking of City On Fire! I have an ARC and I really can’t imagine reading it in bed, which is where I like to read. It’s a sitting at a desk kind of book!
april-chat  That makes me think of serial publications that are more often done (these days) as experimental publishing (I’m thinking specifically of Stephen King’s The Green Mile), I read that in the tiny volumes each as they were published.
catherine-chat2  I wonder how that would work in today’s want-it-now society. I can see breaking really huge books into volumes and selling them as sets but would serialization work? It’s what they did in the old days—almost all of Dickens came out as chapter releases.
shannon-chat  It seems like something that still works when it comes to comics, though there are comic readers that will wait until the trade editions are available rather than buying individual issues.
april-chat  But back to the original inquiry of does size matter… I think this might lead into an eventual discussion of analog books vs. ebooks. I’ve been enjoying and loving ebooks since the advent of the first generation Kindle. It’s not the size, it’s how you use it.
jennifer-chat  I’d almost always rather read print books but an e-reader does come in handy when reading a giant volume. I read a paperback of Les Mis and had the forearms of a bodybuilder afterwards. The next time I read something ginormous (Stephen King’s The Dome) I made sure to read it on my Kindle.
catherine-chat2  I’m still old-school and read print exclusively unless a publisher only offers e-ARCs of a book I really want to read.
shannon-chat  I used to read exclusively from a Kindle, but now I have a really hard time screen reading. Even with a chunkster, I think I’d rather deal with the uncomfortable reading situation than read an ebook.
monika-chat  Maybe if I were more inclined to deal with an uncomfortable reading situation, I wouldn’t fall asleep so often while reading! 😉


How about you, dear readers? Is Amazon’s “shirt-man-scale” helpful? Do you pay attention to the physical dimensions of a book? If so, does it affect what edition or format you purchase?