I like this passage almost for the language alone:
It is a very specific sort of book that I refer to here: feather-light, just slightly larger than a pocket-sized romance novel of the airport bookstore variety. Design-wise, covers are usually flimsy and garish, but painfully so. Type is often oversized and lazily set; the paper tends to be coarse and cheap, a couple of pounds heavier than newsprint. Generally priced in the $10-$18 range, this genre occupies its very own corner in a literary limbo reserved for weight loss plans, how-to guides, and Salt-Water Aquariums for Dummies (For Dummies, 2002)—information manuals collated, bound, and marketed slapdash for mass market appeal.
Sarah also has some nice things to say about New Liberal Arts:
New Liberal Arts was printed as a slim, limited edition chapbook that sold (and sold out, fast) for $8.99; the manuscript is also available in its entirety as a free PDF under a Creative Commons noncommercial license. Unlike its made-for-bathroom contemporaries at Barnes and Noble, NLA’s design is clean and well-considered. The fonts are carefully chosen; the text is readable. It is a book and it takes itself seriously as such. It is a book that I would buy.
And finally, pardon the self-blockquote, but I spent a bit of time thinking about this line, and I really believe it:
“To me, the appeal is almost 100% social,” writes Sloan. “If you’re buying a physical book that’s the culmination of a process or a community that you’ve been a part of, even in a small way—it’s almost like that’s the trophy you get for winning the race. It’s something to read, but also something to be proud of!”