Paul Mitchinson is a part-time writer and a full-time father of two. He writes when he can. » more about me

Caleb Crain, channeling Nicholson Baker, laments the rough untrimmed pages of certain hardcover books:

It’s wretched nostalgia, and it should be stopped. All binding is centralized today, and so no customer chooses deckle edges anymore, and no one can opt out of it, either, except by waiting for the paperback. Deckle edges absorb and retain dust with fantastic efficiency. But the truly demonic thing about them is that they turn a book into a trick deck of cards—the sort where if you flip the cards over one by one, you see all suits, but if you riffle along one edge, you see only clubs or only diamonds. If you riffle through the pages of a deckle-edged book, only certain pages flip open to your eye. Should you be hunting for a quote that happens to appear on a page whose width is not a local maximum, you’re out of luck. You can try putting your thumb along the clean-cut top or bottom, and you’ll get a little functionality this way. But not much. It becomes hard even to figure out what chapter you’re in.

As they say in this blog biz, “read it all.”

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