Most avid readers know how awkward it is to read lying down. You end up twisting either your neck or your wrist—or both—at an awkward angle. Reading while lying on your stomach at the beach is a little easier on the eyes, but not much good for the elbows, and reading while lying on your back is nearly torture.
If you’re enough of a book junkie, you do it anyway, but after putting up with the acrobatic demands of reading in the cramped sleeping space of his camper-van, Darryl Green decided to do something about it, and the Bed Book was born (www.bedbooks.net).
Instead of twisting your neck, bed books rotate the orientation of the text 90 degrees, with two columns of text above the spine and two columns below. (See sample page.) If you’re sitting up, you hold the book’s spine parallel to the floor; if you’re lying on your side, you prop the book on its end so the spine is perpendicular to the floor. Then you flip the page down and start at the top again.
This seems very peculiar at first, but it works surprisingly well. And while I personally will probably continue to sit up when I read in bed, the format is something authors, particularly self-published authors, should consider for their own books.
Right now only public-domain classics are available from www.bedbooks.net, but Green is hoping to add on new titles. I asked what he might be able to do for authors who wanted bed books, and he said that as long as they had republication rights on the book, he could take the book document, format it, and add it to the collection available through the online store.
As I understood it, this would work in a way similar to publishing through Print on Demand houses. The author pays a conversion fee, based on page count and hourly labor costs, to create the printable file and would have the choice of furnishing a cover design or using the standard solid brick-red cover with yellow text. (I know which I’d choose.)
There isn’t an “author services” section on the Bed Books website yet, but if enough authors express interest, there will be.
Meanwhile, Darryl Green is looking for authors to contribute short pieces to an anthology to be sold in hospitals, where patients may not have the option of sitting up to read and shouldn’t be forced to rely on television. If you’re interested in contributing to or organizing the anthology, contact him at [email protected].