A printed book design, regardless of its purpose or attribute, is rarely meant to be ignored.
The passive white space in itself is a chief offender in making documents look ugly and even worse, discouraging readers from the very act of reading. As seen on this spread the white space is nicely functional. A unique page numbering makes the double-page look more visually appealing while the scholar’s margins offer reader’s eyes some place to rest. To sum it up, the white space on this design serves well visually as well as functionally forming a useful backdrop to the main content.