Saturday, February 9, 2013

Large Print, Anyone?

I've noticed something that struck me as odd. Many, if not most, authors don't put out books in large print for those who are visually impaired. I realize many people are using e-readers, which allow control over text size. But I also realize I'm not the only reader who prefers a "real" book in my hands, and I have to wonder how many authors are missing out on readership because their books aren't available in large print format as well as standard fonts.

I recognize that traditionally published authors don't necessarily have a say in what formats their books are produced, but we indies DO. Advice I received recently during a seminar on self-publishing stated it simplest - get your books out there in as many formats and to as many venues as you can. Better to sell more copies.

I'm making my books available in both standard and large print paperback. I use Times New Roman-12 pt for my standard format paperback books (also makes it easier to format for e-books), using 6x9 size trade paperbacks. For large print, I use Times New Roman-16 pt. My novella was fine in the same size paperback with Times New Roman-16, but novels get monstrously thick, so I use 7x10 size paperbacks for large print books.

If you use a print-on-demand venue such as Create Space, it doesn't cost you anything but the time needed to change format/font to make your book available in both standard and large print. So why not do it and make your book available to even more people?


  1. This isn't just novels. There is a bit of obstinance in general regarding forsight in thinking of visually impaired people.

    Specific example: At our church, we order devotional magazines for the teens to disciple them. As a Sunday School teacher, I feel I need to read the same magazine they are reading. The magazine is not full size--I'd say something like 6X9 or thereabouts, and the print is microscopically small, and often times layered over colors that make the print even harder to read still.

    When I asked the publisher if they could provide large print copies, all I got was a cold response paraphrased as "Nope. We have no plans to make a large print version of this magazine."

    Well gee, thank you for your thoughtfulness. NOT!

    I may just be an old teacher, but sometimes the young ones have visual impairments too. I was quite underwhelmed by the experience and I will think twice before giving them my business again.

    1. Sad to say, but that doesn't surprise me. To some degree, I understand where they're coming from. Such places don't generally have print-on-demand capability, and they don't want to be stuck with Lord only knows how many copies after the fact. However, maybe they need to see about updating their production capabilities. Otherwise, they lose business from folks like you who get fed up with materials they can't read, or church's lose Sunday school teachers because they can't read the materials they're supposed to be teaching out of.

      It just struck me the other day that I almost never see novels put out by indies available in large print. Traditional publishers seem to be hit or miss, possibly dependent on the popularity of each author, but indies don't seem to do it. I know many of them don't do paperbacks at all (and they lose business from folks like me who prefer "real" books), but those who do paperbacks generally don't make large print versions available. I guess it's much like the number of indies who don't even do anything beyond Kindle e-books. They lose business from Nook, Kobo, Apple and other e-reader owners.

      It's a lot to learn and sort out initially, but I think it's worthwhile to cover as many formats as possible. You never know who you might be overlooking as potential audience. :-)

  2. And I understand any publisher is always watching their bottom line, but in the case of this monthly devotional, it doesn't HAVE to be a 6X9. It can just as easily be an 8.5 X 11. While readers expect a certain size for novels, no one has any such expectation if a magazine gets changed to sheet-of-paper size.

    But it really is pitiful that in the face of great strides in technology, we seem actually less adaptable, not more.