LBB9 Library Data - not very good value is it?

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nats
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LBB9 Library Data - not very good value is it?

Postby nats » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:28 am

Just bought LBB9 Library Data on Ebay along with several other books that were cut down in price, although I paid almost the full price for this one because it was the one I most wanted. I am quite shocked as to how rubbish it is actually. I thought these MGT LBB's were meant to be a recreation of the original Classic Traveller Little Black Books of old but they aren't anything like them.

The size of the text is minute! I am 46 and my eyesight isn't great now - but I don't need glasses or anything. I can just about make out the text in this book with good lighting. Its ok with daylight but with artificial lighting its really difficult to make out the text never mind read it smoothly. When you compare it with the old CT LBB's their font is much larger and not so compressed on the page. Although also the old LBBs were a lot larger than this book is. Why did Mongoose choose to do these LBBs so small when the original LBBs were a lot larger? Was it just because they are reduced to exactly half size in printing from the larger books to save money - didn't anyone actually question the readability of reducing the books that much? There isn't a large version of the Library Book anyway so that is no excuse for the font in this book being so small, unless they did it first as a large book and didn't bother printing it out large. I actually would have preferred a large version of this book to be honest as its actually one of the only MGT books I really wanted in order to replace my old CT Library books. This book though is going to be a nightmare to read. I was considering buying the MGT LBB's as a cheap way to get the whole chargen set but I definitely wont be buying any more LBB's now that's for sure.

It isn't helped I think by the fact that the text is all in sans serif which doesn't make for good body text anyway. Everyone knows lots of body text is always better done in a serif font for ease of reading. This is something common with all the old Traveller books though so I suppose it was done to try to follow those.

Regarding the content itself it looks pretty good actually but I am wondering whether I will even read it if I have to struggle to make out the words. Stupid.

So when you look at the overall book I am thinking to myself though, this just is in no way worth the full price of £10 and I do feel a little bit ripped off. In fact in its present form its only worth half that amount, as a quick reference book only. Anyone else who is thinking of getting any LBB's then I would strongly advise against it unless they are purely going to be used as quick references during actual play and wherever you play has very good natural light!! And I would seriously not consider paying anywhere near £10 for any of these LBB's books no matter what they are used for - they are practically useless for their intended purpose.
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AndrewW
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Re: LBB9 Library Data - not very good value is it?

Postby AndrewW » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:51 am

nats wrote: Why did Mongoose choose to do these LBBs so small when the original LBBs were a lot larger?
I wouldn't say a lot larger. The Classic Traveller books where a bit taller and slightly wider. The Mongoose ones are a lot thicker though.

Not much younger then you but I can read LBB2 just fine.
Rusty_Unycorn
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Re: LBB9 Library Data - not very good value is it?

Postby Rusty_Unycorn » Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:36 pm

Then pick up the PDF version, that's a lot more readable. And I find it to be useful, as it's full of background info on the OTU.
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Re: LBB9 Library Data - not very good value is it?

Postby BP » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:08 am

It isn't helped I think by the fact that the text is all in sans serif which doesn't make for good body text anyway. Everyone knows lots of body text is always better done in a serif font for ease of reading. This is something common with all the old Traveller books though so I suppose it was done to try to follow those.
No - Serif fonts for body text are generally only preferred for cheap paper. I.e. newsprint and certain mass marketed novels - and what was largely available before modern times [pun].

Basically, poor quality paper and typesetting benefit from Serif fonts - which help hide the ink bleed that occurs with coarse paper grains, and disguise poor contrast (ala your light source issues) and white to black ratios. Quality paper combined with a clean San Serif font with excellent color (a font term for the perceived consistency of the black to white ratio) provides for an excellent reading experience.

In modern times, San Serif fonts designed for reading are actually superior. Univers is a prime example - it is the font used in the Classic LBBs that you perceive as so much larger. It is actually quite small - around 9 pt. Not as small as what Mongoose likely used - but the apparent size difference will be exaggerated -as one still has to use the right typeface and weight when printing small text with San Serif.

Historically most San Serif fonts were actually designed primarily for signage - i.e. to be clear in large sizes as seen from a distance (lots of 'white space' and 'contrast'). It is common for this subtlety to be missed by folks following simple guidelines without understanding or questioning them (one of which is - use Sans Serif body typefaces for clarity with small type ;) ). Bad full justification can also make a Serif font easier on the eyes than a San Serif (a common problem in the early digital press age). Good justification reverses this.

Modern screens provide the equivalent of excellent 'grain' and contrast (being they emit light) - so you are almost certainly reading this in a San Serif font. ;)

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