Okay, so… This will be salty. Fair warning. It will also be deeply personal. And probably a bit rambly.
It stems from the fact that thr other day I got a beautiful book in the mail. It was a highly anticipated sequel.
But it was promptly ruined when I tried placing it on the shelf. You see, for some unexplainable reason, the publisher decided to make them different sizes.
You may be sitting there wondering if I’m overreacting, and you might be right. But I am so tired of this happening to me.
Now, why would this be such a problem for me? Because I’m diagnosed with a very mild form of OCD.
No, I’m not a “neat freak”, a “perfectionist” or any of the other completely rude words often thrown in my face. I have the diagnosis. I have the symptoms, and I feel the physical discomfort when I ignore the urge to act on it. I can’t just “relax”, because I’m physically unable to do just that.
Are you aware how many different ways you can organise a bookshelf?
Height, author, title, genre, publisher, publication year, format, series, standalones, rainbow, sub genre etc.
I’ve been through them all, and only separating formats, then height, then author, then series has eased my mind enough to relax when I’m in the room.
So what do I do with mismatched series? I hide them. Legit. I stuff them on the bottom shelf, out of sight. When I have friends over, or I take a shelfie to share online? The mismatched books are never on there.
That’s a promotional fail on publishers part.
And the worst part? It’s not the physical symptoms. It’s not the knowledge that I spent money on something that essentially will bring me discomfort.
No, the worst part is that I feel bad.
I feel guilty for deliberately hiding the books. I feel guilty towards the authors, the cover designers, and even the publishers who are at fault in the first place.
So I end up buying the right editions, hoping the online retailer have labelled it correctly.
Is that the end game? To make me feel guilty enough to buy duplicates?
If so, that’s a big slap in the face to anyone who suffers from mental illnesses.
So here’s my proposal:
Since you all love your different heights and editions, then name them. In the same way beds are named King, Queen, Single and Double.
Don’t call a mass market paperback a “paperback”. Don’t call and indie published book a “paperback”. And don’t call five different sizes of hardcovers the same thing.
Show that you care about your readers. Your customers.
Please share this if you’re tired of this, as well. And feel free to comment your own thoughts below.
Note: I’m well aware that there are other forms of mental ilnesses, and many different variants of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that doesn’t match my own. If I offended you, triggered you or in any way harmed you, please shoot me an email at Bookishreview@gmail.com and I will amend it to the best of my ability.