Well got this a couple of days ago delivered by Amazon.com. It’s the US version published by Simon & Schuster that I chose to order. Interestingly, the UK version published by Little Brown has pure white paper boards, i.e., lacking the silver cloth seen in the picture above. I’m not overly surprised by the design and production—it’s very simple (understandable given Steve Jobs ideology) yet feels cheap due to the paper boards and uneven silver cloth being glued together. Having seen the UK version in person, I prefer the design (i.e., lacking the silver cloth) over this US version. What bugs me is that the publishers for both the UK and US editions could have used much better materials to make this book fell less cheap. The spine is already showing lines of creases and bend and it is doubtful how many reads this book will last before it crumbles.
Other than that the book arrived relatively safe in thin packaging, which at first seemed like a joke for a book this size; it’s got a couple of nicks to the top and lower spine and some creases to the dust jacket, which I can’t tolerate. Amazon.com aren’t spending much on packaging. I dropped using Play.com because of their appalling packaging: they sent me The Book of the Moon by Rick Stroud in an envelope; a hardback book in an envelope; unbelievable! That’s free shipping. I’m finding this trend gravely worrying compared to other vendors. For example, Hatchards, the bastion of booksellers in the UK since 1797, are a godsend. I received last week Peter Ackroyd’s new book: Foundation: The History of England, Vol.1 in a oversized box figuratively meant to protect a tank from damage. It was carefully packed.
In the end it comes down to free vs. pay; you get what you pay for. I paid £6.50 for packing and shipment to Denmark for my Hatchards order.