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You don’t
know how lucky you are to be able to begin a LaTeX-document with
something like \documentclass[a4]{amsart}. This simple line
tells the machine what the size of paper is it has to print to, which
part of that paper has to be filled with text, what the design of
titles, sections etc. is (and probably more). Just convince yourself
(for the sake of argument) that you want to produce a readable
mathematical book on paper of dimensions say 6 by 9 inch. How would you
do this? Simple : all you have to do is to adjust certain TeX-parameters
the way you want! Well, that’s exactly what the _neverendingbooks
design department_ has been doing for the last couple of weeks!

The package we would use was easy enough to find. A long time ago, Geert suggested that we
should use the
memoir package
. The fun starts the moment you are foolish enough to
print the manual : 300 pages! After an inspiring account of
book-printing basics over the ages, you are told that you have total
freedom to set your _stock paper size_, how it needs to be
_trimmed_ to get the final result, how you should designs
everything from the title, over abstract, acknowledgement, thanks, table
of contents contents, dedications etc. down to chapter, section and page
styles. In short : ULTIMATE FREEDOM!!!

But, as some of you may
know from experience, there is nothing more frightening to the moderate
autist (and frankly, are there any other mathematicians?) than ultimate
freedom! So, we set up a task-force, had daily brain-storm sessions,
produced numerous trial-prints and eventually came out with something
that came very close to the _better designed book_. Let’s face it
: can you name me _one_ (yeah right, just 1) well-designed
mathematical book? If you don’t believe me, browse through the recent
mathematics-books on amazon (as our design-department
did for a whole week-end, deprived of beverages and other pleasures).
Found anything? Yes?? Please, please let us know! On the other hand, if
you browse through the Art, architecture and
photography section
you will spot several extremely good-looking
books very soon. Well, after a week we succeeded in designing the
_arty-farty-fanshi-wanshi_ (as PD1 would name it, jealous that
she was not in on the fun) mathematical book! And, what did we do with
the labours of all this hard work? NOTHING! We simply dropped the whole
idea (if you are a graphics-designer trying to survive within a
mathematics publishing firm (not easy we know, you have all our
sympathy) and want to do something more fun, contact us and if we can
reach an adequate financial agreement we will be happy to send you our

So, what went wrong? Nothing really, it just dawned on
us that _NeverEndingBooks.org_ should not go for the
better-designed mathematics book. All our (potential) authors can
publish as easily at Oxford University
, the European Mathematical
or, if they have no moral objection, at the AMS. So, why
would they choose us instead of these more established publishing
houses? Just because our books look slightly (well let’s face it : a
lot) better? Probably not. We, at should not go for
the better-designed book, we should not go for the book concept at all,
we should invent something entirely NEW & SEXY & USABLE & DESIRING & (I
hope you get the drift!). Next time, I’ll let you in on the first ideas
of our design-department!

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