A Reviewer Speaks: Why I Only Review “Bound” Books

Posted by Rita Lorraine


Hi Everybody,
Breezing through on this rainy Sunday evening to answer a question I’m asked over and over: Why I only review “bound” books.

Here’s the dilemma: I’m often approached for reviews, but most writers balk when I tell them I prefer “bound” books.

They argue that bound books are much too expensive to give away, and that they’re saving them for paying customers.

While I certainly understand the issue of expense, I have my reasons for preferring bound books:

1. PDFs and ebooks are hard on the eyes. I already spend way too much time squinting at my computer and don’t plan to spend even more simply because a writer wants to save money.

2. PDFs and ebooks require constant “scrolling.” For a pleasant book experience, I need to see the text and the pictures at the same time. I also need to experience the fresh, inky smell of a new book as I flip the pages, but…I digress. With a pdf or ebook, I’m forced to keep scrolling up and down between the illustration and the text to get the full visual picture, and this distracts me. I DON’T like that.

3. Galleys have to be “clutched” to keep the unbound papers from falling apart. Since most picture book pages aren’t numbered, it would be nothing short of a mini-disaster for those pages to fall to the floor and land out of order. Thus the constant clutching.

4. I love flip-thru free-for-all’s where I breeze thru a picture book from front to back to get a feel for the illustrations, layout, and color scheme. However, since galleys are unbound, I can’t indulge myself without pages constantly sliding out of the place.


These may seem like minor issues, but…not! My TBR (to be read) stack has been known to be 30-deep, and since time is of the essence, I reach for the more manageable books and consign the “loose” ones to the bottom of the stack.

So, the next time your reviewer insists on a bound book, don’t think it’s because she’s an insensitive boob. It’s simply a matter of management.

Best wishes and happy writing,

Rita Lorraine

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