Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Rambling: Jagged Pages

There's been what seems to be a growing trend in book publishing in recent years, I've found: the use of jagged pages (what I understand to be termed "deckled") in books. The first book I remember noticing this in was either the trade paperback edition of The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis or The Sorcerer: The Fort At The River's Bend.

Since then, I've found it in a number of books - mostly in the trade paperbacks. Editions of Lisa See's book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, for example. Although, the Fagles translation of The Aeneid is a hardcover with a deckled edge to the page. But, most of the time I see these books, it's the trade-paperbacks, and generally in the fiction department.

Personally, these jagged edges are something I find somewhat annoying - mostly because they get in the way of turning the pages easily. Instead of getting one page, half the time, it ends up being several, all the way to the next page that's sticking out the most. Reading these, forces me to change the way I hold and turn the pages: from the top or bottom, rather than the side (once or twice, it's been enough to make me accidentally rip the page a bit), or it slows down my reading by making me flip back and forth a few times to get to the page I want.

What's your take on deckled or jagged edges on a book? Not something to be bothered about? an annoyance? or does it factor into your enjoyment of a book at all or not?

My other question on the topic is whether or not the use of these edges is growing or not (meaning was I just not being observant before and not noticing them)?

9 comments:

Michael Offutt said...

I hate jagged edges in a book. It's just another way of publishers cutting expenses because it takes time to cut the pages in order to make them even. /sigh.

Elena said...

That's a different explanation, Michael. I'd always figured it was to mimic the old manuscripts.

J.G. said...

I really like deckled edges; they seem very elegant (I didn't know they are actually a sign of cheapness). Nice in hardbacks, but they seem strangely over-formal on most paperbacks.

Elena said...

Neither did I, J.G. The things we learn while blogging...

The above fore-mentioned. said...

I have only bought one book with deckled edges, Bob Dylan's "Chronicles", it had beautiful thick paper and I loved the feel of the paper and the rough edges. It was aesthetically pleasing, as well as textually pleasing. But I have never brought a fiction work with these rough edges.

D. U. Okonkwo said...

How strange - I've never seen that before. Is it a particular publishers who tends to do it or is it across the board?

Elena said...

Different strokes for different folks, The Above fore-mentioned. I'm glad you like them if the work for you.

I don't know, D. U. I've never looked into it all that much. Something to think about though.

redhead said...

I think the jagged edges are very pretty, I see them as an artistic choice. Also, my fingertips really like them, from a tactile POV.

but the last book I read had them, and every time I turned a page I had to be sure I was only turning one page. . .

Elena said...

Which is exactly the same problem I have with them, redhead. Otherwise, I think I wouldn't mind them, because I agree with your points. But turning the pages trumps artistic choice somewhat for me.

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