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In the last several years I've seen larger format books alongside the familiar pocket paperbacks. Sometimes these are taller, sometimes they are wider, and sometimes both. I've wound up with these in some cases due to them being given to me as a gift, or they were available while 'normal' sizes weren't. While I've observed the larger books being a bit easier to hold while reading, I haven't observed improvements in readability. A downside of the larger sizes is that they don't fit as neatly into my novel collection which is mostly of the pocket paperback size, and they are slightly less portable too - no longer pocket size.

While the benefit of larger size and print may be a subjective matter at the personal level, has there been reporting on widespread benefits of large format books?

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What are "larger format books"? It's not hard covers? –  AndroidHustle Dec 18 '13 at 13:26

2 Answers 2

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I think large book format helps to differentiate paper books from e-books (while paper pocket books do the opposite). So large format lets to convey the benefit of size against limited screen size of e-book readers. Please, compare the screenshot of two official editions of the same book (digital vs paper):

enter image description here
epub version on a 6-inch screen reader

.
enter image description here
paper version

So the screen sizes let to make obvious difference:
enter image description here

So in addition to @AlexFeinman answer, large format emphasizes advantage of non-limited paper size against strictly limited electronic readers space. It's not only UX field, but marketing, too.

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Readability, or economics?

I suspect this has to do with the changing economics of book publishing rather than any readability effect.

Larger book formats may end up cheaper in some cases because they end up fewer pages. In some form factors (especially lower volumes), page count dominates price. You can play around with self-pub sites like Lulu.com to see how form factor drastically affects printing costs for content of a specific size.

Purchase decision

It may also increase the UX for the purchaser, rather than the reader. Larger books inherently feel more substantial (by analogy with the heavy clipboard effect) and we mentally calculate them to be worth more, both in terms of how much we will pay and how much we think someone else will value them as a gift.

As the costs of providing paper books goes up, publishers gravitate toward things that they can charge more for--hence, larger books.

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