One more little thing about the physical products.
I noticed something interesting when I looked at the hardcover adventure Hoard of the Dragon Queen, I noticed a neat visual flourish at the top of the cover. Look at the comparison.
It’s a cool visual signature for the fact that this is an adventure, and which adventure collection it’s part of. I dig it, especially since I assume they’ll have different icons. It’s doubly clever because when stored face out, you are often only going to see the very top of the product, so it’s well-thought-out that the 5e designs put all the critical information in the top 6th or of the cover.
So I have no idea why that added that cool effect and did not reflect it on the spine – if these books are shelved spine out, there’s nothing that visually tells me which is a rulebook and which is an adventure (much less a connected adventure). It would have been brilliant if there had been some manner of icon to distinguish this (possibly where the little red banner currently isn’t wrapping) so they’d look cooler on the bookshelf. Feels like a lost opportunity.
It’s also worth noting that while the pages in the PHB are glossy, they are not in the adventure. I suspect this plays into the price difference, but there may be another purpose. @newbiedm points out that the non-glossy pages can be more-easily marked up by a GM tracking hits and making notes. It’s a good point, so this is either well thought out, or a fortuitous coincidence.
EDITED TO ADD
I took a picture of the spines to illustrate and it was informative.
Notice the cool adventure stuff does not wrap.
This also revealed something interesting – the red banner scaled with the thickness of the book. Because hoard is thinner than the PHB, the “flame” is narrower and shorter.
This worries me a bit, because if that fire is going to scale that way, it’s going to be a different height depending on the thickness of the book, so this may end up looking very ragged on the bookshelf.