After I started focusing on the form of typefaces, I researched books about learning and referencing typography. Most of the books show historical, important typefaces in an organized way based on category, time or a specific theme. The books contain descriptions and specimens with a single or limited selection of sizes. Many books show sample sentences or bulk text with selected sizes. Some of the books introduce more visually rich examples such as design applications in the industry with photo images.
From this research about typography books, in addition to my experience as student, I was able to outline the limitations of books.
Comparison : It is difficult to compare different typefaces
Comparing typefaces from different time periods is important in learning process to understand historical evolution of typeface. One can go to a computer and launch Adobe Illustrator to type some text set in different typefaces, but that is a time consuming process that, eventually, significantly limit deeper study. Particularly, if a specific font is not already on the computer being used.
Search : It is not easy to find typeface quickly
One can start to search typefaces in a book from an index or category, but if the name of typeface or designer is unknown, finding a typeface can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Limited space : limited sample text in only selected sizes
Since a book has limited page numbers, with a limited size, it is inevitable that the examples of application of typefaces and typeface specimens of different sizes will be limited. When I had questions such as “What would this typeface look like in 36pt font or 72pt?” or “How will it look like placed next to other text and paragraphs?” it was impossible, or at least very difficult, to get the answer for this in print-based media.
Relationships : It is difficult to learn about related typefaces
While some of the books show the names of similar typefaces next to the typeface being discussed in a given chapter, it is still difficult to learn about related typefaces because it is hard to constantly jump around pages. I used to have questions like these: “What other typefaces have been designed by the same designer?” “What typefaces are in the same category ‘Slab Serif’?”, “Does this typeface have any relationship with ‘Futura’? It looks very similar.” “Are there any typeface designed in the same time period?”
Time line&History : It is difficult to see the big picture
Because of the limited space and the characteristic of print based media, it is not easy to get the macro/micro view of time line and history efficiently.