I recently purchased a knitting book that I returned within 48 hours. Why? Because the punctuation, capitalization and typography choices in the book annoyed me to the point where I found the book unreadable and unusable. Perhaps my 35+ years as an editor and writer make me very picky about certain things, but if I am going to spend money on a book, I want to be able to read it. In editing, as in knitting, details matter.
So what's wrong with the book?
Punctuation: Commas and quotation marks are not supposed to be sprinkled on text like jimmies on ice cream. Punctuation helps the reader navigate and understand the message. Commas in the wrong places and quotation marks around words that do not need them create visual and mental speed bumps for the reader.
Capitalization: Initial capital letters are for proper nouns. You do not make a word more important by capitalizing the first letter of it. Unnecessary caps create more speed bumps. Further, capitalizing a whole word for emphasis is a typewriter convention. Today's text programs give you bold and italic for that purpose. Heck, even Blogger gives you bold and italic.
Typography: As noted, this book uses a lot of quotation marks — and they are all typewriter (straight) quotation marks instead of typographer's (smart, curly or book) quotation marks, creating more speed bumps for me. Bulleted lists are not lined up and the designer chose tiny, weak bullets that are more like floating periods that bullets.
I am not talking about typos or writing style. I'm talking about what appear to be deliberate design choices that, for me, do not enhance readability and actually detract from readability. On the positive side, the book offered some interesting history, some techniques I wanted to learn and some patterns. But, on balance, the negative aspects outweighed the positive, so the book went back to the vendor.
I am not naming the book, the author or the publisher. Other people will love this book, and I wish them all happiness with it.