You’ve seen mini books before, probably in a cardboard stand by a cash register somewhere, intended for the kind of gifting that’s done for the sake of the exchange but without any expectation that someone will read it or even look at it after they’ve tucked it away into a junk drawer. The new tiny books by Dutton might actually get read… But will tiny books take off as a trend in the industry?
Image credit: DeviantArt @honeyandbee
Itty, bitty books aren’t entirely a new idea. They’ve existed since antiquity, in fact. Recently, I read a book about soldiers and books during WWII, When Books Went to War, which I highly recommend. (Here’s another recommendation for you.)
Author Molly Manning wrote a lot about how the publishing industry adapted, including the armed service editions (ASEs) they printed and sent overseas. The books were engineered to fit perfectly into the pockets of the soldiers’ uniforms and to last through numerous readings as they were passed from man to man literally on the front lines of war.
Itty, bitty books aren’t entirely a new idea.
Most of our reading needs aren’t quite that specific, but we do have our preferences. In the past, I’ve based my purse and bag selections on my reading habits. Most of the medium- or large-sized purses and bags I’ve purchased have made the cut because I knew I could fit a book or two inside without having to leave my wallet at home. And if I need a new small purse, I take my Kindle to the store with me to make sure it will fit inside. I’m serious.
⇒ Thin, mini blank books are another of my favorite things. I’ve got a hundred of them, tucked everywhere so I always have a way to get my ideas down, or just do a quick journal entry. Check out more on journaling here.
Most of my fellow bookworms are probably similarly attentive. We read daily, at home, on the train, and standing in line at the bagel shop, so we’re accustomed to carrying a book with us, and we make whatever accommodations are necessary to feed our habit.
Some of us, while maintaining our love of real books (The smell is intoxicating, admit it…) have embraced the one-handed, space-age marvel that is the e-reader. They’re compact, they’re lightweight, and they hold a silly number of titles. I don’t prefer my Kindle for just any type of book, but I love the convenience of its size.
I like the new format, but I’m not in love with it.
At the end of last year, Random House’s Dutton imprint released a series of Indiana author John Green’s books in a new diminutive format, intended not for half-hearted gifting, but for actual reading.
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I admit I do like the idea, but here’s the thing: For the types of books where I don’t necessarily want to make notes in the margins, flip back and forth to reference things, etc., I already have a Kindle. It already fits in one hand. When I buy a physical book, I either want it because I specifically want the larger size, or because I love the book enough that I want it for nostalgia’s sake, to curl up with it a hundred times in my armchair, not necessarily drag along with me on my morning commute.
I like the new format, but I’m not in love with it. I predict the new mini book format will remain a novelty.