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You may have noticed that the paper of some books has rough, ragged edges. This embellishment is known as deckle edge and it has been around for a very long time, though not always as an embellishment.
In the old days, books were often sold with the folded signatures uncut, requiring the reader to slice them open with a letter opener in order to read each page. This would leave a ragged edge.
In modern book manufacturing, the edges are usually trimmed so that they are even; however, some publishers prefer the old look and purposefully manufacture books with deckle edges. Knopf is known for producing books with deckle edges and it is also a signature of Penguin’s Deluxe Classics series.
I love the look and feel of a well-cut deckle edge. It harkens back to a time when books were considered valued goods, before the days of mass market paperbacks and ninety-nine cent ebooks. It reminds me of a time I never lived through when things were more likely to be made by hand than machine and quality craftsmanship was commonplace.
Of course, like anything, there is a drawback to deckle edges as well. They are infuriatingly difficult to flip through. Finding a particular page takes longer when you have to flip through the book in chunks instead of page-by-page, as you can with cut edges.
This difficulty aside, I generally prefer deckle edge books. They possess an antiquated allure that cut edge books do not. They often feel softer to caress and, as a nice perk, I am less likely to accidentally cut myself when handling them.Do you like books with deckle edges? Join this month's book chat and chime in!Click To Tweet
Perhaps it is no coincidence that many of the most treasured volumes in my home library have deckle edges–Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, John Adams by David McCullough, On Paper by Nicholas A. Basbanes (which, though I have not yet read it, was given to me by my father). Likewise, deckle edges grace some of the books I anticipate will become favorites, such as The Poisonwood Bible (which has the most buttery soft edges you could possibly imagine–well done, HarperCollins) and Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.
I think it’s safe to say that I love deckle edges and I hope the trend will continue to gain popularity in the future.
Do you like deckle edge books or do you prefer the tidier trimmed style?