I’m an avid reader of Ian Rankin’s Rebus books but, for some reason, I missed the publication of his latest paperback Fleshmarket Close. So, last week, after a quick check on the interweb I spotted it on Amazon with £3 off. Excellent. Ordered.

It arrived at work today. All good so far.

However, based on the book that arrived, I’d like to suggest to Amazon that they include the dimensions of the book somewhere on the page. Why? Well, let’s delve into the mind of an over-organised, slightly obsessive, bookworm.

You know I mean me, right? OK.

I have my copies of every previous Rebus paperback arranged in order on a shelf in the living room. They are all the same A format paperback size (178mm by 111mm if you really want to know), have the same styling and are all neatly numbered on the back. They look neat and tidy sitting directly underneath a shelf that has quite a few Iain Banks novels, all with the same styled black and white covers (i.e. not his Sci-Fi stuff). Neat and tidy.

So imagine my disgust when, upon opening that clever Amazon packaging, I find a book that is a completely different size to, and has a completely different cover design from, all the other Rebus books I own. My disgust was so palpable that I vented forth with a few choice expletives causing some enquiring glances from my work colleagues, glances which turned rather more quizzical when I explained the orderly way I keep my bookshelves. Never before have I arched so many eyebrows, I think they always suspected I was a bit odd but here, finally, was clarification.

Of course all I need to do is return the abomination of a book to Amazon and order the correctly sized one, once I figure out which one that is of course. Off to the Amazon UK website I went.

I’m going to pause at this juncture as I realise my actions may seem somewhat odd as it’s only the cover of a book, by which it shouldn’t be judged after all, but if you really think that you are missing the point and should stop reading this instant. Honestly, this is about to get a lot worse and it will only leave you more befuddled than before.

OK, from here onwards I’m only talking to my fellow bookworms who understand that there is more to collecting books than reading them. Ohh sure, we all pretend that it’s only the content we enjoy but let’s be honest, you don’t have The Da Vinci Code on your bookshelf in the living room any more, oh no, it’s been relegated upstairs and replaced by Don Quixote, hasn’t it.

Hmmm I feel I may have just exposed the shallowness that pervades my book organising habits. I DO enjoy reading for reading’s sake. I am not a book snob. I did enjoy The Da Vinci Code. But yes, I do keep all my “better” novels downstairs, and all the Dan Brown, James Patterson and Stephen King upstairs.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand.

After spending countless minutes of my life, minutes lost forever never to be returned, I discovered that all the covers of Mr. Rankin’s books have been, to use the vernacular, “updated”. I’m unclear as to whether this is to keep things inline with his website or to tie-in with the TV versions of the stories, but the fact remains that the books now look different. Ohh sure, I can get a copy of Fleshmarket Close without Ken Stott’s mug on the front, but even then they’ve used a different font to display the author’s name on the spine, not to mention the book number now hidden three quarters of the way down the back page.

Fourteen books have passed, the design has not been tampered with, why now? In a pique of incredulousness I ventured out into slushy, snowbound Glasgow, trudged to Waterstones and then onto Borders only to have my suspicions confirmed at both locations.

The old book design is dead.

Like a parrot.

My shelf is ruined.