Meanwhile, in the market… In 2010 one in 150 of all books sold in the Netherlands was an e-book. E-readers have even been spotted in church. More than in larger linguistic regions, in this country small-format paperbacks have been marginalized by the rise of larger trade paperback formats.
It is in this constellation that the Dwarsligger (‘perverse’; literally, ‘cross-lier’) was launched. The brainchild of a printer, it is brought to the public by a publisher who has to secure two things: licences from other publishers and space in the immediate neighbourhood of shop tills. Anyone who occasionally ventures within range of a bookshop till will appreciate that the Dwarsligger stands a good chance of being a success.
Of course, it’s been done before, sending readers through books turned through ninety degrees – but it’s all about the combination of elements. Here the recipe is crosswise reading, India paper and presentation based on a development of the Swiss style of paperback binding. In this way Herman Koch’s novel Het Diner goes from 391 grams in a B-format paperback to 108 grams in Dwarsligger format, and from 301 paperback pages to 503 Dwarsligger pages. The sewn sections are of 72 pages. A book this size fits in a shirt pocket and doesn’t fight back when you try to read it holding it in one hand.
The judges for the Best Dutch Book Designs are in the habit of seeking out subtle and unusual innovations in the design department. Pick up a Dwarsligger and you have in your hands a serious innovation driven by technology.