Let's start by playing, "One of these things is not like the others." I guess the picture plates (the slick pages with reproductions of pictures) make the Jobs biography more difficult to print independently, though I'm not sure I would have known if the plates were missing.

The four non-Jobs biographies are all exactly the same height and width, if not thickness. The fonts are different, which I expected, but what I didn't expect is that the paper itself changes from book to book. I'd really be interested to see how the Science Fiction Book Club's deal reads. It's not so strange that they can print essentially every book the same size (wonder if they make special SFBC bookshelves too), but that the paper used inside comes closer to mactching the full-sized books is surprising. To be clear, as an example, A Perfect Blood has the slightly pulpy, textured paper (sort of an older paperback feel) that I'm used to the Hollows series having, I think. Evolutionary Void is white, smooth, hybridized-with-Bible-paper stuff.

I can't figure out exactly what they've changed. This page's criteria so far is the closest to helping me see what's different other than size. End papers are, indeed, white in these books, even when the paper isn't. There isn't a price on the books, on the jacket or the jacket's bar code, just as that page suggests. Strangely, that's true for the dust jacket for Steve Jobs as well -- it looks like it too has an SFBC jacket. There is a pretty plain looking, seven digit number on the back, outside dust jacket cover for each book that I don't recognize. For these books, those numbers are...

Jobs: 1349911
Perfect Blood: 1350398
Evolutionary Void: 1316162 (I'd somehow missed that this is 2¢ in hardback at Amazon. ARGH. IDIOT.)
Reamde: 1344352
Brooks omnibus: 1348717

So it looks like that number represents the order that the book club publisher got 'em.

(I'm a little steamed over my stupidity on Evolutionary Void right now. ARGH. Stupid. I actually overpaid on this one... $4.01 for Amazon used shipped, $1+(18.70/5) = $4.74 for the SFBC edition. STUPID.)

Oh well. So that's interesting. I'll see if I can't get some pictures up of the paper changes that are a little higher quality than the picture, above.

UPDATE: While reading last night, I think I figured out where the obvious cost cutting is. I mean, less paper is one, the slightly cheap feel of the cover is another (this is not a library friendly cover by any stretch), but the way the pages are bound is exceptionally suspect. It's just glued in. I'm pretty sure I read something about that process while Googling around before, but it wasn't quite so obvious until last night.

The Isaacson Jobs bio has real, threaded binding, so I'm sticking with my guess that that's publisher printed with SFBC jacket.

I'll compare the Harrison book to a hardback I have at home and post some pictures.

For anyone keeping score, the SFBC standard printing is...
1.) Smaller than a "real" hardback
2.) Often on different paper (though that needs more research)
3.) Has an inexpensive hard cover that's pretty light.
4.) Has a dust jacket without a price, but with what's now a nine digit "order of release" (potentially) book club number printed on the back.
5.) White endpapers.
6.) Is inexpensively glue-bound.