Publishing a book is like planning a wedding — so many stupid little decisions, each with an obvious and cost-effective answer, but the person planning it for you constantly tries to talk you into the more expensive and less appealing choice. Pictured above is the "cream" paper edition of my book, and below is the "white" paper. Standard procedure is to print novels and fiction on cream to give it a slightly more "grown" look, organic and natural. Such books are the result of crafting, see. White paper is clinical and used for non-fiction and textbooks. Such books are the result of precision research, see.
But goddamn, the printer service's cream edition is so muddy-looking. The text is softer and seems out of focus. My eyes hurt trying to read it, and in brighter environments, it looks faded, like the printer forgot to change the ink cartridge. The white edition is crisp and much easier to read. The paper itself has a smoother feel and isn't quite as translucent (exposing the opposite side's printing). It's also slightly cheaper.
"But it looks cheap," marketing says, "like you printed the book yourself on a laser printer." I don't care. Your choice of manufacturer leaves me with no choice. A book is meant to be read, not admired for its texture. The cream paper edition might as well be printed on compost!