22 May 2009

Does Size Matter?

We're always told size doesn't matter. But it does! No *stern look* ...get your mind out of the gutter! This is not about what you think it is about. It is, in fact, about book size! As in hardback (HB) versus trade paperback (TP) versus mass market paperback (MMP) and the age old question: should you mix-and-match within a series? (Notice I said 'should'...as it's kind of obvious that you 'could' indeed do so if that was your inclination *grin*)

I'm firmly OFF the fence on this one: books within a series should be the same size. I get the collywobbles just thinking about a hardback mixed in with a paperback! Why? Because it's just.... *splutters* wrong! This 'wrongness' was one of the reasons why I didn't purchase Lover Avenged when it was released - I have all of the earlier books in MMP format and a HB would stick out like a sore thumb! The other reason? Cost. Saying that, I have purchased books in HB format before (e.g. the Harry Potter books) - so I'm not against the format per say. (And before you ask, yes I bought ALL seven book in HB format...and with the same covers...) I will freely admit that for some people size doesn't matter and I have no problem with that. Honest I don't. My size policy applies only to me *grin* But what happens when it's all but impossible to keep the size rule... What do you do? *cue scary music*

After reading/devouring the first two books in Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinth series (Mélusine and The Virtu) I have been determined to purchase the series. The problem is that the first and third books are available in MMP format, the third and fourth books are available in HB format (the fourth book - Corambis has just been published)...but the second book is to all intents and purposes out of print! Oh the horror! (And no, I'm not joking.) There are a few HB copies of The Virtu floating around, and I think *crossing fingers madly* I may have been able to source a copy, but the MMP copies are like hens' teeth! If I do end up with an HB copy of The Virtu, then I will just need to ensure I find the others in HB format, particularly Mélusine...because the thought of having a book missing or a book in a different size....I don't know which is worse!

So, does size matter to you and if so, how far do you take it? What about covers and/or editions? Do they need to be the same? And if you don't think size matters, do you think those of us that do think so are completely mad?


  1. I don't think you're mad at all - my fiance often makes fun of me for being obsessive about my books matching. Although I like for them to match, they don't absolutely have to if I can't find the book any other way. I definitely prefer for them to match, though, and it does drive me crazy if they're mismatched. Not only do they look better, but I only have so much space on my overflowing bookshelves and it's more efficient to be able to keep books of the same size together if you need to make 2 rows of books per shelf (which I do). And I prefer to keep books by the same author together but with some authors we might have mmpb, trade paperback, and hardcovers so I end up splitting them up to save room.

    As much as I enjoyed the first 3 Mercy Thompson books, I haven't gotten the fourth yet because it's in hardcover - and I already own the first three books in mass market paperback. So I completely understand what you mean about the JR Ward book.

    Good luck on getting a copy of The Virtu! I hope you find one!

  2. I am totally with you on this one! Yes size matters (all kinds `-^). I too hate it when books don't match! ACK It so messes with the OCD in all of us. What really steams me is when the publisher suddenly decides to change the size (MMP to Trade or some weird size that really doesn't match anything) and doesn't offer any options (Christine Feehan's publisher did it to two of her books and it still drives me nutso).

    But I go one further on you I think. I really dislike it when the cover art changes mid-series (Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality did that because he changed publishers mid-series. Still gives me the ickies)! I want them all to look the same-ish. Am I crazy because of that?

  3. Thank you Kristen! I'm keeping my fingers crossed (about The Virtu). I haven't yet got to the joy of putting my books on shelves. They are currently all in boxes :( And I have the first three Mercy Thompson books in MMP - I borrowed the fourth from the library. I *heart* my library!

    It so messes with the OCD in all of us.

    *nods* Aymless, I completely agree! I'm not so stressed about the cover art, but it is nice when it matches :)

  4. The thing that totally kills me is having to separate authors--even if it's not series, books by the same author *should* be together. And, as Aymless said, sometimes the stupid size is all wrong and they don't fit and... yeah, drives me nutso.

    I love hardbacks because they are pretty, better craftsmanship, if you will. However, because of space contraints, I would love to have all my books in mmp--more books per cubic foot.

  5. Good point azteclady! Books by the same author in different sizes. GRRR! It's a pity we can't send memos to publishers :)

    I stick with MMP too - less space and cost...although yes, the HB format is pretty!

  6. I also have a horror of mixing paperback and hardcover. With trade paperback and HB it's not too bad, but I hate having hardback for and MMP for the same author. I would rather have an MMP just all around.

  7. Yes .. to me size does matter. How can my series books look nice and even on my bookcase if the publishers scr#w around with the format mid-series! I generally prefer HB, and if I had the bookcase space, money and if all of my books were available in HB then that is what I would always have. Christine Feehan is one example of change of format part way through the series - I hated the format that Dark Demon was released in. I can't recall what the format was but it was in between TP and MMP, supposedly for more comfortable reading but it wasn't and I'm far too impatient to wait for MMP books from particular authors!

    Just as annoying is when the cover art is changed part way through a series - one particular series that comes to mind is Stephanie Laurens' Bastion Club series.

    I should point put that the majority of books that I buy now are ebooks, so the format of the book isn't so much of an issue except when it comes to publishers trying to rip you off with a HB price for the ebook version. I'm definitely far too anal and precious about my physical books but am much more relaxed when it comes to the ebook format because I can't share them and therefore borrowed books don't come back to me in the less than pristine condition that I lent them in.

  8. collywobblesUm, GREATEST. WORD. EVER. I'm appropriating this word and using it all the time from now on.

    OK, on to the topic at hand.

    I'm SO with you on this. It makes me NUTS to have a series go HC halfway through. I get that it's not an authorial decision and that it's a sign of success, but IT MESSES UP MY BOOKSHELVES! Plus, there are very few authors who I'm willing to dish out HC prices for (Nora, Linda Howard, Lisa Kleypas, JD Robb). So, while I had a chance to read Lover Avenged, I won't be buying it until it's out in MM.

    Very, very aggravating, I completely agree.

  9. *soft smile* - you know me, kechara - for me, it's all about the story, and I'm not *too* worried about the size unless there are practical considerations involved.

    Which is pretty much why I don't buy hardback on principle - it's not about the aesthetics - it's about the fact that they don't fit on my shelf, and they're twice the price, if not more.

    I'm actually looking forward, when I buy my next few books, to getting them in e-format now that I have something to read e-books on again. That way I don't have to worry about fitting them on my already over-burdened bookshelf - I can just have the story available whenever I want it.

    But I know that's just me, and that I'm in a definite minority :-)

  10. I'm so glad I'm not the only one out there! Although, thankfully, with an eReader it's not as painful anymore. It still drives me insane to see my mismatched books lined up on the bookshelves.

    I'm slowly (very slowly) getting all my books in digital format, so now I'm going crazy about the arbitrary cost of ebooks.

  11. I am completely ambivalent about size of books. Yes, I prefer MMB due to cost, but if it's a series I love (ie. the Mercy Thompson books), I will buy the HC copy of the book because I want to read it IMMEDIATELY.

    I hate our local library b/c they don't carry as many romances as I think they should (esp. since they're the biggest library in my state). So, I buy all of my books.

    If I were completely anal about it, I'm sure I could have all of my books the same size, but honestly what is the fun in that? :D

  12. Oh...and your issue w/ finding that book. Are there copies available in the US? If so, I could always get a copy for you and you could pay me back. Just sayin'. :D

  13. I don't know if you're in the minority kechara....although from the comments maybe :) But, diversity is the spice of life! Wouldn't it be boring if we were all the same?

    Heidenkind, ShellBell, Kati, Mariana & Bridget - thank you! It's nice to know I'm not alone with my obsession :)

    Kati - feel free to appropriate away :)

    Bridget - thank you! That is so sweet and very much appreciated! I just checked my email and I think my order has been processed, so YAH! It has to go via my cousin in London and then half way across the world, but fingers crossed it will get here safe and sound!

  14. Orannia - Come visit me. I did. :wink:

  15. Must. Not. Induldge. In. My. Favourite. Rant.



  16. Must. Not. Induldge. In. My. Favourite. Rant.But you know you want too *grin*

    Kati - on my way :)

  17. In answer to your question: Yes, size matters to me, but in some cases I'll take what I can get.

    I vastly prefer paperbacks to hardcovers because they're less heavy to lug around, but... ShellBell brings up a great point about cover art as well. I'm going to have to buy a whole trilogy anew because the two companion novels do not have the same cover and it's driving me mad. (Also, I vastly prefer the covers I've got on two of them. No, they don't even match inside the trilogy.) Be the same book covers! Be the same already!

    So, yes, feelings shared. But then you may have gathered that seems to go for most (all, even, I think) of us who commented! ^-~