Today, children’s books come in all different sizes and shapes. However, when you think back to your childhood, it seems as if large books that were almost impossible to hold upright in tiny hands dominated the bookshelves. Potter did not wish for her books to fall into this mold. She had a vision of small, inexpensive books, even when publishers shot her down in favor of more elaborate, pricey pieces. The 1980s edition that I own that is replicated after the original is a little over 6 inches.
For the most part, the average length/height for a children’s book is around eight inches or so. Many of the books printed during her time appear to have been roughly this size as well. Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and others of this time appear to have been printed closer to that size than the size Peter Rabbit and her other books were formatted to. The cost to print them was more than a smaller book would have been, therefore making the price go up for children to be able to purchase them.
Once Potter got the publishers to agree with her on the smaller format of books, she continued to strive for cost efficient products through the binding. Warne originally printed two editions of it in 1902. One was a cloth edition (pictured below) that cost a little more to print while the other was a paper bound edition.
Potter did not feel as if the cloth one was very special, at least not enough to warrant the extra money it would take to make and subsequently purchase. The paper edition was marketed at 1s, and the cloth edition cost 1s 6d. Although now, both these editions are worth a great deal more than Potter would have ever imagined.