Daily Illuminator

March 12, 2024: A Quirk Of Being On Demand?

GURPS Adaptations

I just literally realized today (well, as I write this . . . it'll probably be a while before you can read it) that – because we've released a boatload of our back catalog as part of our On Demand program through Amazon – this also means we can get reviews through Amazon as well.

The very first book I checked in this fashion was GURPS Adaptations, a somewhat (in my opinion) undervalued-but-awesome supplement that gives insight into adapting their favorite fictional worlds into GURPS. I was pleased to discover that it had 11 ratings and a 5-star average. (See?! Folks agree with me!)

However, it only has one actual review (at the time of this writing), which was well-remarked but asked a question: Why isn't there text on the spine? It notes – correctly – that other thin GURPS books (such as Flight 13) had the title on the spine, which made it more easily findable on shelves.

There's actually a great reason for that! The On Demand process lets us keep an amazing amount of our back catalog available and affordable, but it's not the same as a traditional printing method that makes thousands of copies at a time. In particular, the On Demand process simply cannot allow for text on spines for books less than 96 pages . . . and even that results in text that is tiny. (In an ideal world, we prefer to limit spine text only to books of 128 pages or greater.) The reasons for this are a smidge complicated, but basically the printing-one-at-a-time process results in a tad more variance than the "robots make dozens of books" method. Most of the time, this isn't noticeable, but when you're dealing with a spine that's only a 1/4" thick, a variance of (say) 1/16 of an inch is a big percentage of that, which opens up the possibility that the text doesn't end up where it needs to.

Still, the book-printing process evolves all the time, and we'll continue to keep abreast of the latest news and methodology. If we ever discover that we can bring spine-text to thinner books, we'll certainly test it. Speaking personally, my own House of Too Many Books appreciates it when I can immediately see what it is on my shelves.

-- Steven Marsh

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