I covet little books. I wish I could explain why, but I have no idea. The concept of producing a tiny tome with a story that fits its format perfectly is one that really appeals.
When I came across a book of collected chapbooks then, I was in bibliophile's heaven. Chapbooks were produced cheaply on just one sheet of paper, sold for a hapenny each by travelling salesmen ('Chapmen') and would often be the only books a child would own. Back in the 1800s, these books would be filled with poems, fairy tales and puzzles, and were a child's first indoctrination into the world of literature.
My ideal book format (for all books, not just children's) is the Beatrix Potter collection, with its hard back and tiny pages. It was born out of necessity, but inspired children the world over.
Which begs the question, with child book ownership now at an all time low, is it time to return to the model of chapbooks as a way to encourage children into reading? Shorter, cheaper books which can entertain and educate, and improve child literacy through fun stories and pictures?
Efforts are made in this vein by educational publishers specialising in dyslexia friendly books such as Barrington Stoke and Ransom Publishing of course, with great success. Even thriller king James Patterson has unleashed his basement full of ghostwriters onto the scene with his experimental adult series Bookshots. But is it enough to get the world reading again?
My own foray into micro booklets is currently on kickstarter – a whole choose-your-own-adventure style book printed on a single concertina leaflet. Pick Your Path manages to fit in a world of stories into just one sheet of paper, due to some clever storytelling and text manipulation. It's my effort to get people staring at books while they wait for their bus, not their phones!
What about you? Do you covet tiny tomes? Does size matter? Let me know in the comments.