Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's All in the Gutter

The gutter 
Yesterday was a rainy day. I had to be out running an errand and so treated myself to a visit to the independent bookstore in my neighborhood. (Aren't I lucky?)

On display was My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop edited by Ronald Rice. Since the very bookstore I was standing in was featured along with others from my Grand Southern Literary Tour, I plopped the book on the counter and pulled out my credit card.

There are 84 stores and 84 writers in all. The writers include Rick Bragg, Pico Iyer, Wendell Berry, Laurie R. King, and Ann Patchett. 

The bookstores include Powell's in Portland, Prairie Lights in Iowa City, and The Bookloft in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.  Pretty much coast to coast. 

I carefully protected by treasure from the rain as I tripped lightly through puddles to my car, eager to get home and inspect the book more closely.

And therein lies the problem.

I don't know if it is just my particular copy or if the publisher was trying to save money, but the gutter - inside margin - on the book is so tight that I can't read the text without either cracking the spine or twisting my neck into a very uncomfortable position. This will never do.

I measured. The inside margin is less than one-quarter of an inch. On several other of my books, that inside margin is about one-half an inch. That makes a huge difference. 

So back to the bookstore I will go. I will try to exchange it if there is another in stock that is not cut so tightly. If that is the case, you will be hearing more about this book very soon. If I have to return it, then it may be a while before the book and I meet again. 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

March 1, 2013 Follow up:
My Bookstore had to be returned. All the copies in stock had the same tight gutter. I have since put the book on reserve at the library in hopes that the flaw was just in the particular run that ended up at the bookstore. 


  1. Oh, bother! I hope you can get a good copy of the book. Our book group has a gift exchange at Christmastime and this very book was my contribution. I made sure to peruse it before I wrapped it up and found it very interesting.

    1. No luck. The clerk agreed with me that it was poorly designed and gladly refunded my money. We did check others in the display and all were the same. Sigh.

  2. Sounds like an interesting book and hopefully you will fine a copy that is easier to read. I hate books like that, though I've been known to keep on reading if they are interesting enough.

    Joyce in KS

    1. So disappointing. I have had this problem with paperback books but wouldn't have expected it in a hardcover. Maybe the flaw is just in the lot sent to that bookstore. I will keep looking.