18 January 2008

Print on-demand does have some downsides

Print on-demand publishers have the advantage of keeping “in print” older books that other publishers wouldn’t choose to invest in. However, on-demand publication has to sacrifice some of the aesthetics of book-making… cover and interior design.

For example, today I received in the mail a new copy of Michael Strogoff. One of Jules Verne’s most respected novels in France, it is seldom read in the U.S. The cover leaves something to be desired:
A generic cover for books from 1stworldlibrary. The back is also generic, and explains nothing about the book, only information on the publisher:
The inernal text contains some oddities as well. Straight ("") quotes are used rather than smart quotes (“”), as you would expect in most books; double-spacing between paragraphs with no first line indents; and a strange border around the page:
No, not an elegant edition. But at least I can hold a bound edition of Michael Strogoff in my hands and file it on my shelf, rather than printing it myself from the Project Gutenberg version.

Update: Read my review of the novel.