Titles on book covers

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by garryknight, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    If I put an English book on the table face-up I can read the title on the spine. If I put a Spanish book on the table face-up the title on the spine is upside-down. Is there some reason for this state of affairs? I only ask because it makes things a little difficult when I'm in the bookshop looking at books on a shelf that contains a mixture of English and Spanish books. Would I have this problem with books from other countries?

    Si pongo un libro inglés sobre la mesa cara arriba puedo leer el título en el lomo. Si pongo un libro castellano sobre la mesa cara arriba el título en el lomo es al revés. Hay algún razon por esta situación? Pregunto sólo porque hace las cosas algo difífil cuando estoy en la librería mirando los libros en un estante que contiene una mezcla de libros inglés y castellano. ¿Tendría este problema con los libros de otros países?
     
  2. abc Senior Member

    Vietnam, Vietnamese
    Garry,

    I've seen some English books and scholarly journals whose titles are upside-down. It's worse when a few volumes go "the right way" and the other volumes go "the wrong way". Why can't they be constant and make life easier for all of us readers?

    Yes, Vietnamese books are worse! Chinese? Sometimes they are verticle and sometimes they are horizontal.
     
  3. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English

    Just checking the shelves in my office, I find two textbooks in German, one with the title on the spine rightside-up, the other upside-down. A French textbook with the title on the spine upside-down and a single example of an English text published in 1956 with the title upside-down.

    This is the kind of thing librarians should know about. :)
     
  4. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    Garry, yes. German titles also reversed, in the same way, on the spines. I have no idea why, or how many other languages do the same thing. :(
     
  5. Apus Senior Member

    Confederatio Helvetica French
    When browsing you just have to sway now right, now left:) . Thankfully some books are thick enough so the title can be written horizontally.

    Upside down ? Depends on the point of view! It's either top to bottom or bottom to top.

    On French and German books the title usually reads from bottom to top.
     
  6. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    Well, the other thing - apart from the wobbly neck problem in bookshops, is that if you've got a stack of books on a table, some Spanish, some English, and they're all face-up, you've got a situation where it's not so easy to read the spines of the upside-down ones, so I end up having to go through the stack one at a time to find the one I want. Grumble, grumble! I think they do it on purpose. :)
     
  7. Apus Senior Member

    Confederatio Helvetica French
    Can you stand on your hands ?:D
     
  8. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    Will be able to soon... :)
     
  9. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    I'm looking at a several shelves of German books. They all are in reverse.

    I would say it is just different, with no advantage, but when you put the book down flat, I think it's illogical to have to put it with the Title DOWN to read the title on the spine!

    Gaer
     
  10. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    That was my point too. Why would you make the system so that you place the FRONT cover DOWN in order to be able to read what is on the spine?!? :)

    Gaer
     
  11. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    Well, I can understand it if it were a book on Yoga...
    Or on Australia, maybe...
    Or gymnastics...
    Gosh, the list goes on and on!
    :)
     
  12. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    I don't think are treating this subject with the ssensuoires it deserves.

    Man, spelling backwards is HARD! :)

    G
     
  13. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    No it isn't. Look: b-a-c-k-w-a-r-d-s ;)
     
  14. Eiron New Member

    UK - English
    No, it's: g-n-i-l-l-e-p-s. (...sorry, I couldn't help it :)).
     
  15. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    S
    K
    N
    A
    H
    T

    Everyone. (Getting back on topic…) <drum roll>

    By the way, did anyone find a book in German or Spanish that has the title on the spine the same as books in English? (Trying to evade the ire of those insisting there is a topic here.)

    Gaer
     
  16. Apus Senior Member

    Confederatio Helvetica French
    In any case you better wear pants.
    I don't even know if you are an English gentleman. You may be a lady. Pseudos don't tell everything.
    Or you may be a Scot and wear a kilt and in this case it would be a disastrous sight if you stand on your hand or do yoga.

    I better go back to the topic lest I'm accused of hijacking this thread a second time.
    In my library titles of books in Latvian, Polish, Russian, Czech, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Armenian, Albanian, Romanian, French, Italian, Spanish (Spain and South America), Portuguese (Portugal and Brazil) and German are all printed bottom to top.
    Exceptions: three German, two Spanish, three French, one Italian are top to bottom. French books titles translated from English are top to bottom like English (i.e. Reader's Digest books).
    Danish, Norwegian, Dutch: top to bottom.
    India (former Brit colony): three top to bottom, one bottom to top.
    One Turkish is top to bottom, another bottom to top.
    Japanese and Chinese titles: top to bottom (but that's the way they write).
    It seems therefore that the top to bottom way is essentially anglophone and perhaps also Scandinavian. I have not seen any English title printed bottom to top, except for one Australian book (but you know they are upside down).
     
  17. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    Garry Knight is my real name, not a pseudonym. And Garry is a name almost exclusively used for males (at least, I've never come across a woman called Garry). As to whether I'm a gentleman, I'm too much of a gentleman to say... ;)
     
  18. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    I have two German books. One is "right-side-up", the other is "upside-down".
     
  19. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    German novels? Books to research? Books about the language? I'm curious. I'll have to ask other people. I can't find one book that way. :)
     

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