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Q. What is a Large Print book?
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Answered By: Margaret Dunlap Last Updated: Apr 25, 2022 Views: 3773
Large Print books are printed with a larger font size to make it easier to read if you have weak eyesight. The content of the Large Print and regular print books are the same, but there are usually more pages in a Large Print book to accommodate for the larger type-size.
If you prefer to read Large Print books, you can limit your results to Large Print-only in the library catalog. After searching for a book filter by Large Print on the right. Or click Advanced Search and use the Format drop-down to select Large Print.
Large Print titles, at top, make it a little easier on the eyes for many readers. However they require more pages so they can be heavier.
Also, eBooks offer scalable font sizes. Richland Library card holders may borrow eBooks through the Libby and Hoopla collections and adjust the font size, background colors, line spacing, and contrast levels to assist in your reading comfort.
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- I would prefer an illustration of the difference. by Rose on Apr 24, 2022
- Books, Movies & Music
The Biggest Large Print Myths Busted!
Spoiler Alert: The large print format offers benefits for people under the age of 60 with perfectly good eyesight.
Have you ever been so good at something you’ve found yourself pigeonholed? Being typecast can feel like a mixed blessing—your claim to fame shines bright, creating the shadow in which your other great qualities hide. If large print books were people, they would feel this acutely.
No doubt, large print books are a well-known solution for visually impaired readers, and those readers are typically seniors. Unfortunately for large print, being so good at solving this one problem for this one audience has led to a narrow, and sometimes inaccurate view of the usefulness of the format overall.
We’d love to enlist the expert MythBusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman to explore the issue in detail, but if you’ve ever seen the Discovery Channel show, you know their mythbusting process tends to involve blowing things up, and we’d hate to see our beloved books so abused.
So, without the pyrotechnics, here are the biggest large print myths: BUSTED!
Myth: Only seniors read large print.
Large print is not just a bigger font size that makes reading accessible for the visually impaired. It’s also proven to improve letter and word recognition, aid reading comprehension, and increase feelings of confidence and satisfaction when reading. That makes it perfect for beginning or reluctant readers and ESL/ELL students. Large print books are an essential resource for any literacy program.
Myth: Large print books are gigantic!
If the font is bigger, it stands to reason the book will be bigger as well, right? That large print titles seemingly defy basic logic makes this one of the most prevalent misconceptions. In fact, large print titles are often the same size or smaller than their hardcover or trade paperback counterparts and weigh about the same as a traditional hardcover book. The common reaction to learning this fact is, “Well, to be the same size or smaller, they must be abridged.” This is also false. The magic here lies in the combination of printing on a thinner, higher quality paper and laying out the text to maximize the use of white space.
Myth: The selection of titles available in large print is limited.
You may be noticing a trend by now, but that is also false. Thorndike Press publishes more bestsellers and bestselling authors than any other large print publisher. We currently have over 4,000 titles to choose from with 200+ new titles added monthly. From the classics to the cult favorites, our selection spans fiction and nonfiction across all genres and covers patrons of all reading levels from the 4 th grade on up.
Myth: Large print doesn’t publish for 6 – 9 months after the original edition.
Thanks to advancements in typesetting technology and process efficiencies, that is no longer the case. Many bestsellers are published by Thorndike Press simultaneous to the original release. That’s right. At the same time , not 9 months later. The vast majority of remaining large print editions follow by just three months, allowing you to keep your large print collection up to date with the freshest and newest titles.
Myth: Regular titles circulate better.
We’ve surveyed hundreds of libraries and learned that large print can circulate as well as, if not better than, regular print. But despite its big benefits, we often find large print collections tucked away in a little section on a low shelf. Here are the top tips from the most successful libraries: integrate large print copies with regular format titles; shelve large print in or near literacy centers to make it easier for beginning and reluctant readers, and ESL/ELL patrons to find; download the MARC Records for free to increase catalog discovery; and use the free bookmarks, posters and other promotional materials provided by Thorndike Press to increase awareness.
THE ONE-SIZE FITS ALL FONT
There are obvious benefits of large print for the visually impaired, beginning or reluctant readers and ESL/ELL students. But that’s not all. Here are three more unexpected large print lovers:
- Bouncing People: Have you ever tried to read a 10pt font size from 3 feet away while exercising? It’s really hard. Next time you hit the treadmill, grab a large print book instead.
- Tired People: According to the latest Nielsen stats, the average American adult spends 11 hours per day with electronic media. Digital eye strain occurs after two or more hours of digital device use. Tech addicts would be well-served to give their eyes a rest with the easy-reading large print format.
- Impatient People: Talking to a patron who is sad to hear they are the 992 nd person in line to read John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars ? With all of the benefits of large print, it’ll be easy to make it not only their first-available format, but their most preferred.
18 thoughts on “The Biggest Large Print Myths Busted!”
Here at the Lawrence Headquarters Library in Mercer County I was puzzled by the high circulation of our Large Print Harry Potter books. I was told it was due to the “grandparent factor”: seniors reading to children.
Love that! We’ll remember that one, Maria. Thanks for sharing.
Large print books are the best kept secret! And why? My collection of large prints are so popular! Yes, our senior patrons love them but so does the general public. Special Tip: For those of us who wear glasses, we can read LP books at night WITHOUT glasses. I guess the secret is out!
95% of our new fiction books are in large print. I have had one person tell me that “reading large print gives me a headache” but that is the only complaint I have had in over 8 years! Most of my patrons just love the fact they are getting the new releases in an easy to read format!
Those a pretty good odds in favor of large print! Thanks for sharing, Donna!
Other patron comments…”Don’t you need to have a note from your doctor before you can check out large print books?” “No, I don’t want to take a large print copy, you should save that for someone who really needs to use the larger print.”
That’s interesting, Diane. Hope you’re having success telling them otherwise!
I agree with you that large format printingcan increase our expenses but same time we can attract more people toward our business.
I’m so thrilled that all three of my John Pickett mysteries (so far) have gone into large print as part of Thorndike’s Clean Reads program! The fourth book just came out last month; I hope Thorndike will release it in large print as well!
By the way, I’ve noticed that in my local library large print books from 20+ years ago remain in the collection long after the “regular print” copies have been culled. I enjoy older books as well as new ones, so it’s nice to know that these are still available and ready to be enjoyed by readers who may have missed them the first time around.
I have been an avid reader since childhood and still am. I am now a shut-in with a cataract that blocks total vision on left eye and I am limited by other disabilities. I still read around 2-3 books a week sent to me through ‘Books-by-Mail’. It really helps with passing the time as I really don’t like TV and I have no close family/friends to visit. I see on this web sight that the font should be 16 and the color is jet black; however, most of the books I read (no matter who the publisher/printer) have a gray color. This puts more strain on my eyes and cuts down my reading time. Could someone please check this out and respond? The most recent book I have read published was Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman.
Saundra, Have you tried large print books? The print is black and larger, I feel it would really help lessen the strain.
I have been a large print book reader for 20 years mostly because they were so much easier to read but lately I have noticed the print is just barely larger then small print and have been disappointed when ordering online. Does anyone know of a way to find out publishing house online by book title?
Hi A J, While normal print books range from 10-12 point font, large print books range from 14-16 point font. Thorndike Press is happy to announce they are on the larger side of the range, coming in at 16-point font! The large, jet-black type has been known to help struggling readers too. Take a look at more benefits of using Thorndike Press titles and browse all of the titles we have to offer: http://learn.cengage.com/LP=2714
Do large-print books contain the same number of words that the small-l print books of the same story have?
Yes, they are the exact same words as the original print books.
I just wanted to check out a book from library and found out there is 100 people in the queue so it might be few months before a copy will be available then I noticed large print book in the system available right now. I was suspicious thinking something must be wrong with it (that’s why Google led me here) or maybe you have to have special impairment card or something but no i just checked it out right now. Amazing that people actually prefer smaller print. Wouldn’t guess that
Can anyone explain the different font sizes and font types used for large print books. For example: I have several large print books by the author Donna Russo Morin. All three are classed as large print. One of the books clearly has larger print than the other two; with a “bolder” print that makes reading easiest on my eyes. A second book has what I have come to think of as “normal large” print. The last book – The Glassmaker’s Daughter has the smallest of the three prints, and it is not that much smaller, but it is finer boned with less contrast between the ink and page. The difference is not that noticeable until I start to read, and I find that I am squinting and straining to see words and reading/guessing at words; sometimes incorrectly…….. like; I got into the cat …. no, that must be car. I just picked up The Rose Code in large print; which seems smaller but bolder than usual; I can manage this book in natural light, but not under a reading light; despite the brightness of my reading light. Is there is a code, or class, or sizing listed for large print book, so that I can order books that have print sizes/fonts/boldness that provide enough contrast and size for my vision?
Hi Estee – There is no regulatory standard for large print. Thorndike use a proprietary mix of high contrast ink and paper, plus a 16 pt serif style font. We take great pride in our format being “easy on the eyes” for an enjoyable reading experience. Unfortunately, we can’t license under our large print imprints, but we do produce 950+ adult titles a year. I encourage the person who made an inquiry to search our website and request favorite authors be purchased by the local library, checking to see that the imprint is either Wheeler Publishing or Thorndike Press. For ease of shopping, we do distribute other publishers’ large print products, but we don’t have control over their format choices.
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Home / Book Formatting / How to Publish Large Print Books and Why You Should
How to Publish Large Print Books and Why You Should
Large print books, also known as large-print editions or large type books , are designed for those who have difficulty reading the regular sized font, and can be an additional source of income for authors who take the time to create them.
Creating a large print book costs you little apart from time (and even that can be minimized with a good formatting program like Atticus), and provides a service that is in high demand and low supply.
Authors who take advantage of these opportunities can easily find large print books to be a lucrative form of income to supplement what your book is already making.
There are many benefits of using large print books for readers as well: they make reading more enjoyable, they help promote literacy skills among children and adults alike, and even help improve comprehension due to less eye strain. In this article we will go over how to create a large type book, because there's more to it than just using a large font.
- What large print books are
- Why it's important to create large print books
- The organizational guidelines for large print books
- How to make large print books
- The best software for creating the large print format
Table of contents
- Large Print vs. Regular Print
- Are Large Print Books Just for Seniors?
- Why are Large Type Books Important?
- What Are the Requirements for Large Print Books?
- Step 1: Select Your Trim Size
- Step 2: Customize Your Theme
- Step 3: Other Considerations
- Final Thoughts
What are Large Print Books?
What are large print books? Large print books are designed for those who have difficulty reading the regular sized font.
This often includes seniors, but easily works for others who are visually impaired as well, such as those with macular degeneration, cataracts, people who often read on buses or are otherwise frequently jostled while reading, etc.
Not all large print documents are created equal. There are certain guidelines to follow in order to make them easily accessible for the visually impaired, which includes using a larger font size than standard editions or regular sized prints of books.
Generally speaking, most people with normal vision have no problem reading a 12pt font on their standard book; however when you increase the type size, it becomes easier to read regardless of your vision capability.
The minimum font size for a large print book is usually 18pt, but you can sometimes go higher or slightly lower, depending on the intricacies of your typeface and how many pages you have in your manuscript.
And this is just one of the differences between large and regular print. Other factors to consider are the font type, the line spacing, the paragraph spacing, and the alignment.
No, not at all. Large print books can be easily used by anyone who has low vision or is otherwise visually impaired in some way.
Here's a list of groups that may benefit from large print books:
- The Visually Impaired: obviously, the visually impaired make up the majority of those people that we will be talking about here. This can include the elderly, but can also include anyone with low vision of any kind.
- The Dyslexic : many large print books are actually marketed towards children and young adults with dyslexia or other learning disabilities that make it difficult to read the standard sized text.
- The Tired: sometimes people just like to read when they're tired. It can be a great way to wind down at the end of the day, but a small font size can get in the way of this. Large font sizes create less eye strain.
- The Bouncing: readers who spend a lot of time on buses, trains, or in the back of a car, are another group that might appreciate large fonts. The larger typeface is easier to see when in motion.
- The Impatient: have you ever flown through a book because there were fewer words on each page, and it felt like you were making a lot of progress? Impatient readers need that sense of progression, and large fonts can help with this.
All in all, there are a variety of audiences for large print books, so you definitely don't want to ignore these demographics.
Note: this generally applies only to people who still like to read print books. It does not apply to those who use Kindle eReaders, because the font size can be increased on those devices
Why are large type books important? The most obvious reason is for those who have vision impairment, such as AMD or any of the reasons we outlined above. But there are more reasons than this.
Large print books are actually in high demand, and not just for senior readers. Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn even found that her large print edition made up 36% of the income for one of her books while the “regular” paperback made up only 12%.
That's a big difference!
So not only is producing a large print book in the best interest of the visually impaired, but it's another way to diversify your income and increase your chances of selling books.
However, the biggest misconception about large print books is that all you have to do is increase the font size and you're done, but there is actually a lot more to it than that.
In the next section, I will get into exactly what these requirements are, and why they are important.
Formatting Has Never Been Easier
Write and format professional books with ease. Never before has creating formatted books been easier.
According to the American Council for the Blind, there are four features that are particularly important if you want to have good readability for large print books. These four features are:
- Line spacing
That said, even this does not cover all of the guidelines from the American Council of the Blind, the ADA, or other similar organizations worldwide.
Note: for authors, there are no legal requirements for large print books, meaning that no one can legally sue you for not covering all the requirements. That said, the closer you can get to full compliance, the better the experience for the end-user.
Additionally, most book formatting tools out there do not actually comply with all of the requirements. Most check the boxes on one or two and leave it at that. So it's important to know what the requirements are, and which software will help you get there (hint: Atticus does everything you need).
Here is a quick list of everything you need to be compliant with the guidelines from most organizations like the American Council of the Blind:
- Use 18 point font
- Use a sans serif font
- Stick to a line height of 1.5 or higher
- Space your paragraphs instead of indenting them
- Use ragged right text (i.e. not justified)
- Titles and headings should also be a larger font and aligned to the left
- Bulleted items should be double-spaced
- Use only black colored text
- Use bold to emphasize text instead of italics
- Select a larger trim size
You can learn more about these guidelines from various organizations such as these:
- The American Council of the Blind
- UK Association for Accessible Formats (UKAAF)
- Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
- American Foundation for the Blind
How to Create Large Print Paperback Books with Atticus
For this example we will be using Atticus , because it does everything you need to perfectly comply with the correct guidelines, and it does so with just a few clicks.
Note: There are other programs that will increase your font size, such as Vellum, but there are more large print requirements (as seen above) that Vellum doesn't follow. Atticus makes sure it complies with all of the guidelines.
So let's dive into how to make those changes.
Step 1 : Select Your Trim Size
The first and most important step is to choose your t r im size . You can do this by going to the theme settings for your book, and if you scroll down you will see a section called “Print Settings”.
There you will see an option called “Large Print Options”. All you have to do is select one of those trim sizes, and all of the other settings will automatically be applied.
Literally, that's all you have to do to get the right font size, the right trim size, the right font style, and the right paragraph spacing, among other things.
There is just one more consideration to keep in mind, which leads us to step two.
Step 2 : Customize Your Theme
It is important to note that the pre-generated themes do not change font styles or sizes for the chapter headings or the header and footer.
So if you want to have large print titles for the chapter headings, you’ll want to create a custom theme, as seen in this screenshot:
It is recommended to use left aligned titles or chapter numbers and sans serif fonts are preferred, since these are part of the above guidelines.
Step 3 : Other Considerations
In steps one and two above, you can have everything you need for large print in just a few clicks. But beyond the basic formatting of your book, there are a few other considerations that you should keep in mind when creating your large type book.
- Your Book Cover: even if your trim size is the same as your regular paperback size, you will need to resize your book cover , because it will have a bigger spine. If your trim size is different from your regular paperback size, you will need even further modifications.
- Your Page Count: understand that your page count is going to be much higher with a large print book than with a regular print book. You'll need to check to make sure that your large print book does not exceed the maximum size for a KDP (or IngramSpark) print book.
- Mark as Large Print: one good idea is to mark your book as a large print book. One great suggestion that comes from Joanna Penn is to create a kind of sticker that is part of the cover design.
- Cream Paper: cream paper is easier on the eyes and reduces paper glare, making it a better paper type for those with low vision.
- Consider Hardcover: now the Amazon prints hardcovers through KDP, you might want to consider making your large print book a hardcover. These last longer, are more likely to be picked up by libraries, and increase its sturdiness for the reader.
As you can see, there is a lot more to creating a good large type book than just increasing the font size. There are a lot of plates that you have to juggle.
When you can get everything right, as mentioned above, large print books can be a great additional source of income.
Whether you're looking to create a book for seniors, the visually impaired, or you just want to create a larger print version of your regular paperback, large print books are important and worth looking at.
Thankfully, Atticus has you covered, as the best formatting tool for indie authors who want to create large print versions of their books. You can check it out here .
So what are your plans? Are you going to create a large print book? Or if you have already done so, what tips would you give to other authors? Share this post on social media and include your thoughts!
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Large and giant print
A guide to large and giant print options for people who are blind or partially sighted.
If you have some vision but you struggle to read regular print, large or giant print may be for you.
The size of a font is described in point size. Large print is generally 16 to 18 point size. Giant print is anything larger than this. Regular print is usually 10 or 12 point.
Your local library is probably the best place to have a look at large print books and check they are right for you. Some high street book shops also sell large print books that you can browse through.
eBooks can offer many people a solution to reading larger print as many eBook readers offer the ability to enlarge the print size. Try them in a high street store to see how the text size may be of use to you or read our guide to eBooks and digital .
Buy large and giant print from RNIB
- We sell a range of large print books and magazines in our online shop including puzzle magazines.
- To keep up with what’s on TV and radio throughout the week, subscribe to our Big Print TV and Radio Guide, which also includes a recipe, using the instructions below.
If you don't want to buy online, you can call us on 0303 123 9999 .
You can find out more about our Giant Print on Demand service for individuals here
Buy large or giant print from elsewhere
- Amazon (online book seller)
- The Reading House (online book seller)
- W. F. Howes Ltd (01664 42 30 00)
- Ulverscroft Ltd (0116 236 4325)
- CustomEyes at Guide Dogs
You can also try going to a search engine (like Google ) and searching for 'large print books' or 'giant print books' - or whatever it is you want.
Order a Big Print TV & Radio Guide
If you have difficulty reading TV guides, or if you have a friend or relative who struggles with standard print, why not try our Big Print listings?
You can have The Big Print TV & Radio Guide and the Big Print Freeview TV Guide delivered directly to your door each week. Both titles are produced in 16-point font, making them easier to read, and are printed on high quality paper to prevent ink bleeding through the page when you mark out your favourite shows.
How much does a guide cost?
An annual subscription (52 weeks) to the Big Print TV & Radio Guide or Big Print Freeview TV Guide costs £53.04 - just £1.02 per issue.
If you would like to take out a subscription to a magazine or newspaper or have any further queries, contact our Helpline by calling 0303 123 9999 , emailing [email protected] or completing our online contact form .
How to subscribe – gift and overseas
If you are overseas or would like to subscribe for someone else, call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected] .
Get a free sample of Big Print
If you'd like to try the TV and Radio Guide before you buy, you can order a free issue by calling our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected] .
More large print publications are available from RNIB so if you are looking for puzzle books, stationery, recipe books or reference books browse our large print books and puzzle books on our Online Shop .
Many eBook readers let you enlarge the typeface to a size that suits you, offering access to a huge range of book, newspaper and magazine titles. It's not just about books, newspapers, and magazines. You can change the text size and the colours of websites, meaning that everything you read online can be altered to suit you.
You can borrow large print books from your local library. If they haven't got the title you want, ask if they can borrow it from another library for you. eBooks are also available to borrow from some local library services, where the text can be enlarged to suit you.
We've got hundreds of products designed to improve the day-to-day lives of blind or partially sighted people
How (And Why) To Publish A Large-Print Edition
We are entirely reader supported. This article may contain affiliate links and we may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate we earn from qualifying purchases.
In this article, I’ll take a look at those incentives and make the case for publishing a large-print edition. Once the case has been made, I’ll move onto the practical realities of what you’ll need to do to create a large-print edition – it’s a task that’s possible for any author, but one that’s a little more involved than you might have assumed.
Why publish in large print?
The most obvious reason to publish a large-print edition is that there are readers out there whose experience of your book can be enhanced by publishing in this way. It’s also worth noting that this market is larger than you might think – many older readers either prefer or require large-print books, and that’s a demographic that likes to read. Because of this, publishing a large-print edition to include more readers isn’t merely an act of altruism, it’s a sensible way of attracting readers and entering a marketplace with significantly less competition.
In What’s The Best Way To Print Physical Copies Of Your Book? , we recommended print-on-demand publication for self-publishing authors. Since books aren’t printed until they’re ordered by a reader, this can make a large-print edition a particularly safe bet. All you have to do is make a large-print edition available. If there’s a market for it, you just sold more books, but if not, you didn’t lose any money or sales.
The principle of clarity
When it comes to actually making a large-print edition, ‘large print’ is a little reductive. The idea of a large-print edition is to render your words visible to those readers who would struggle with standard formatting, typography, and presentation.
Because of this, the goal isn’t simply to make the words bigger, but rather to make the book as a whole clearer. Font’s a big part of that, and it’s where we’ll start, but we’ll also be looking at more general styling and presentation tips before we’re done.
The APH also sets the standard of sans-serif fonts. Serifs are small lines at the end of characters in many fonts, while sans-serif fonts simply lack this feature. Sans serif is preferred in large-print edition because serifs can create visual confusion for some readers. APH specifically recommend the sans-serif fonts Antique Olive, Tahoma, Verdana, and Helvetica (other sources add Tiresias to this list.) They’ve even devised a specific font, APHont, that’s available to download and use for free for large-print books (you can find the APHont file here .)
Visual clarity is also improved by larger spacing that in standard-print editions. APH recommends at least 1.25 with double spacing between paragraphs (which should be in block style without indents.)
Another way to make it easier to pick out text is to ensure that the reader isn’t surprised by unusual formatting. Keep your layout clear and consistent. For example, text should always be horizontal and left-aligned, including in tables and headings. While it may be stylistically satisfying to center titles and headings, it’s possible for some readers to miss text presented in this way. An ‘ugly’ table that the reader can see is better than an aesthetically pleasing table they can’t.
Align your text with the left margin but not with the right margin (i.e. don’t ‘justify’ text). To align text is to bring it into a vertical line on the side of the page. When text is justified to both left and right, the spaces between words vary in order to make this possible, and that can cause visibility issues for some readers. Margins will need to be wider than usual, with at least one inch given as a minimum.
Since there are fewer words to a page, large-print editions are usually bigger than standard-print books. This leads to higher printing costs, and large-print editions are also usually more expensive as a result (something large-print readers will expect.) Depending on how you print your book, you can adjust its final size by adjusting the trim size. The larger the trim size, the fewer pages you’ll need, so it’s a case of finding the right balance of value versus accessibility. Vellum’s guide to creating a large-print edition is useful for the finer points of this calculation.
Publishing and marketing
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Librarian to Librarian
Join the conversation, large print books are crucial for striving readers.
By Ann Wilson, MLS, MA
As educators and librarians struggle to combat the dire reality of illiteracy and its impact on low graduation rates, meager job prospects, low income, and even crime, many remedies have been tried, with little success. Thankfully, one rather old-fashioned tool is gaining traction and showing promising results: using large print books with young, striving readers.
Large print is defined as text formatted in roughly 16 point type, compared to the usual 11-13 point type found in most hardcover books and on computer screens. A clear, clean font is used, and there is increased space (leading) between the lines. The dark, high-density ink stands out clearly from the high-opacity paper, creating a higher contrast, which is easier to read (see this article about helping reluctant readers for more). These characteristics have long been understood to benefit older folks with visual impairments, and for years, most books published in large print have been geared toward this audience. Unfortunately, children and teens with visual impairments have been largely ignored by the publishing industry.
Not only does a large print format assist those with visual impairments, but large print helps reduce eye strain for everyone, a factor which has become even more important as our population — especially teens — is spending more time on small-screen digital media.
In their quest to make reading an enjoyable experience for students, educators have noticed that too much text, information density, and visual clutter on a page can make reading a daunting task for many students. Large print books have fewer words and more white space, presenting a more inviting visual cue that increases reading performance and builds confidence. Students young and old, who are learning English as a second language, also seem to respond well to large print.
While research is important and can help us understand what’s going on, it’s also important to hear from teachers and librarians on the front lines. In a recent Booklist webinar titled “ Large Print, Big Advantages: Strategies for Increasing Youth Literacy ,” Camille Freund, ENL teacher at Urban Assembly Media Studies HS in New York, explained how incorporating large print books into her classroom collection has improved student literacy. Freund says that these books have motivated striving readers to keep trying, and that these students quickly make progress with reading and feel successful. In fact, Freund says, students often seek large print titles, refusing to read anything else.
Also during the webinar, Don Giacomini and Shelly Schwerzler from Gwinnett County Public Library System (GA) addressed the “why” and “how” of their large print title program, geared to middle grade students and teens. They explained that the large print titles are interfiled throughout their collections, allowing patrons to browse these books alongside books with normal-sized print. The library staff has worked closely with reading specialists and other education professionals in schools near each branch library to help promote the large print collection. Circulation statistics show that this collection is very heavily used.
With a wide range of titles to choose from, supported by research and endorsed by the kids who read them, large print books are finding new uses and enthusiastic acceptance in today’s libraries. They’re not just for the visually impaired anymore. Why not consider expanding your selection of large print titles to help reluctant readers?
Ann Wilson started working for Brodart, where she is affectionately known as The Sourceress, in 2000. Ann draws from her high school/public library career experience to feed sources and choose key titles for our selection lists. Click here for more.
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Large Print Books
The traditional large print book format is designed for people who have a deteriorating vision.
The first large print books were produced in 36pt in 1910 but proved too large and this font was abandoned in favor of the more popular 24pt. Covers were also standardized with different colors representing different genres.
Today, publishers such as ReadHowYouWant produce 16pt large print editions in trade paperback format; whenever the work extends to more than 800 pages, a lightweight cased edition can be produced. When specially requested, works are also produced in larger fonts – 18, 20, and 24pt. The 16pt large print editions produced today are much easier for people to handle and have much more appealing covers, which means they have grown massively in popularity over the years.
Nowadays, 16pt is the standard large print edition stocked by public libraries around the world. Many public libraries have a good range of large print titles for borrowing, but large print books can also be purchased through booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AbeBooks. These booksellers have a large selection of large print books including many ReadHowYouWant editions.
Since Covid-19 libraries have implemented strong protocols around loaning books, including storing the books for 72 hours before being processed for reloans, staff wearing PPE, click and collect services as well as extended delivery services. Bookstores have implemented similar protocols, and online stores have increased in popularity for contact-free/reduced contact shopping.
The large print has also been shown to support students who are struggling with reading. Cengage conducted a study in 2019 which found that large print books improve student reading confidence and comprehension. It showed that students developed stronger reading skills and greater confidence in their own ability.
It is not just the larger font size that supports the reader, but also the spacing between lines, words, and letters. A sans serif type font is preferred, and ReadHowYouWant uses the Gill Sans font to produce their large print books.
Non-fiction titles have enduring popularity in large print. Mind Body Spirit, Religion, Business and Economics, Biography, and Self-Help titles published by ReadHowYouWant continue to be the most popular genres. From a fiction perspective, the classics continue to have ongoing appeal in large print, such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, and romance and westerns.
ReadHowYouWant now publishers over 20,000 titles in large print, making it one of the biggest large print publishers. All of their books are print-on-demand and available for delivery to the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Visit our website www.readhowyouwant.com
Author: Vicki Grundy
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Book Production: How to Self-publish Large-Print Books
- November 29, 2018
Indie author Russell Phillips also runs an author services business
Diversifying formats enables indie authors to reach a wider audience – and large-print books helps us serve the significant number of print-disabled readers who find standard format paperbacks too difficult but still prefer print to audio. As Russell Phillips explains, drawing on his own research and experience, creating a large-print book is not just a matter of increasing point size . His useful post provides a complete how-to list for indie authors everywhere.
I've released large print versions of several of my books. Most indies only have an ebook, or an ebook and a standard paperback. Having extra formats such as large print looks professional and helps me to stand out.
Spot the differences between large print edition (above) and standard formatting (below)
Font and Font Size
Obviously, large print books need a larger font size than normal. 16 point is generally considered a minimum, but 18 point is preferred if possible. There should be no text in a smaller size . Page numbers, copyright information, etc. should all be at least as large as the main body text. Headings should use a larger font size, as with normal print.
It is also important to consider the font face. Use a sans-serif font , and if at all possible, avoid using italics, underlining, or blocks of capital letters.
In general, plenty of white space makes a book easier to read for those with sight issues. Single spacing can make it difficult to find the start of the next line, so use 1.25 or 1.5 spacing instead.
Indentation makes it harder to find the start of a paragraph, so use block paragraphs instead.
Margins should be wider than usual, at least 25mm (1 inch) wide. Footnotes should be at the end of the chapter, or in a section at the end of the book, to avoid cluttering the page.
Most print books use full-justified text, so that the right side of the text is lined up along the right margin. However, this leads to uneven gaps between words. Left-justified (or ragged-right) text should be used in large print books.
Headings should also be left-aligned rather than centre-aligned. This makes them easier to find.
Images should be aligned to the left for the same reason, but there should be no text to the right of the image. A partially-sighted reader may not realise that there is text next to the image. The image should be clear, and any text inside the image should obey the same rules as the rest of the text in the book. If possible, move the text out of the image. If this isn't possible, ensure that there is good contrast and that the text is on a plain background.
All text must be horizontal , including things like labels on diagrams and images.
Keep Things Together
It is important to keep related items connected , without large spaces. If your contents page doesn't already have a row of dots between the chapter name or number and the page number, add them. Tables should usually have lines around the cells. It is also important to avoid widows and orphans (single lines from a paragraph at the top or bottom of a page).
Don't use hyphens. If a word won't fit on a line, put the whole word on the next line rather than splitting it with a hyphen. Hyphenated words (e.g. self-publish) should be on one line, not split over two lines at the hyphen.
Use a Clear Layout
A consistent layout is particularly important when designing books for the partially sighted. Headings should be clearly different to the body text. Include chapter names on page headers if possible. This helps the reader determine where they are in the book.
Other Considerations (Book Size, Paper, etc)
Use cream paper rather than white, as it reduces paper glare. A very thick book can be difficult to hold, so you may need to increase the trim size to reduce the page count. I've used 6″x9″ and 8″x10″, but you could go up to 8.5″x11″ if you need to.
You may be able to sell your large print books to libraries , so consider a hardback version. Libraries prefer these as they are more durable.
Mark It as Large Print
Finally, make it clear that the book is a large print edition:
- In KDP Print , tick the “Large Print” box on the Paperback Details page.
- In IngramSpark , set the Edition Description to “Large Print Edition”.
This will set the metadata so that retailers can categorise it as a large print edition.
Add “(Large Print)” to the end of the title , and mark the cover to show that it is a large print edition. This can be as simple as a colored band with “Large Print Edition” printed in it.
This blog post covers the most important points. If you wish to find out more, the following should be useful:
- UK Association for Accessible Formats (UKAAF)
- Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
- American Foundation for the Blind
OVER TO YOU Do you have any tips to add to Russell Phillips' extensive list? Do you have any recommendations on how best to market large-print books? We'd love to hear them!
OTHER POSTS ABOUT REACHING PRINT-IMPAIRED READERS From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive
Production of Ebooks: 6 Ways to Make Your Self-published Ebook More Accessible to More Readers
Author: Russell Phillips
Russell Phillips is an established indie author. He self-published his first book in 2011, and has written and published books in various formats since then. More recently, he set up an author services business to help others that wish to self-publish. www.authorhelp.uk
I’m trying to publish the large print for my first in series, but I don’t see how to link it to the ebook or existing paperback. Do I have to publish a new series?
Can’t find any info on this.
Is this for Kindle? If so, there is a button on the first page to select a series.
Thank you so much for this enlightening article. Books have been one of my favorite things for as long as I can remember. Once I learned to read, I rarely stopped, and then only to complete more mundane tasks. My vision has become very problematic in recent years, so I have attempted to read large print books. To my dismay, I have found the layout to be much as you describe herein. For me, this layout is quite difficult to read; the ragged right edge is particularly distracting, with longer lines sometimes disappearing into the binding. I prefer serif fonts to san serif, and I would much prefer more traditional placement of all page elements. I don’t know if my preferences are unique among persons with low sight, but I hope you find my input useful. Thank you again.
Thanks Russell. Very useful information.
Thanks Russell… It’s a very informative QA you have going here… Keep it up… I will be coming back here again
Very helpful. Thank you, Russell. Most writers I know create their large print using 16 font, but everything I have read from websites for those with impaired vision says what you do–that 18 font is necessary. However, that brings my 8.5 by 5.5, 270-page book to a 6.14 by 9.21 (Joanna Penn specs) 572-page book. I used left instead of justified and reduced margins from .75 to .65. But then, should I still format the book as having mirrored margins? Also, someone showed me a large print book of theirs where the company had made it 7 by 10, not by 6 by 9–is that common? Lastly, this expansion makes the book thicker and heavier, but my understanding is large print readers expect that–along with higher cost. I notice large print books from the Big Five use a Large Print sticker on the cover but not always, and not for their bestselling authors like John Grisham (though the platform page says it is Large Print), but I would like to use one. Is there a site that has such a sticker for sale I can give to my cover artist? Apologies for so many questions–I just feel a keen sense of wanting to do this right for people who need the larger print version. Assuming they find my books… :-)) Best regards, Regina
You should be able to create a ‘sticker’ in Canva that can be added to the existing cover.
Some good info there, Russell. Thanks for sharing. I do have one question, though. The mechanics of setting out the page/font aside, do you know anything about creating the actual layout of the text, please? For example, when dealing with such a large font, can the issues of orphans and widows be ignored to help reduce page count, or must those be treated with exactly the same care as in a mass market book? Thanks again.
I didn’t see anything in my research to indicate one way or the other, I’m afraid. My feeling is that you should pay the same attention to such details as you would with any other edition, because not doing so means that you’re giving the large print readers an inferior product. I’m not sure that ignoring widows and orphans would make a great deal of difference to page count, to be honest.
Thanks, Russell. I know what you mean about creating an inferior product, but as it would significantly increase the page count for my title, initially at least, I’m ignoring them in favor of giving readers a book at a lower price. If mainstream publishers don’t follow all the guidelines, I feel I’ve done enough with the layout for large print readers to be happy with what my book offers them.
I’m surprised it makes that much difference, but yes, there’s always a compromise with page count and therefore cost.
Hi Russell, thanks so much for this information! I was wondering if you had any thoughts on how to format dialogue in large print? Normally, I would use a new line and indent for each new person speaking and their associated actions and thoughts. Do you treat each new character speaking as a new paragraph, and therefore leave a line between, or keep them together, just on new lines with no indent? Thanks for your help.
I use new paragraphs for each new person speaking. Normally, that would be indicated by it being on a new, indented line. In large print, I’d still use a new paragraph for the new person speaking, but in this case, it would be a block paragraph, so no indentation, and a gap to mark the new paragraph.
That makes sense. Thanks so much for your help!
You’re very welcome 🙂
Many thanks for the information. Just what I’m looking for at the beginning of the Great Upsizing Project our our 6 books.
What size gap relative to line spacing (1.5?) between speeches would you recommend?
Our books are all 5.25 x 8 and around 300 pages. Once we boost the font size, it will increase the number of pages. You mention that a book can become too thick and so a larger trim size would be recommended. At what point would that be, please? How many pages would be too thick?
Thanks for this timely post. Some have recommended doing a large print edition for library sales, which begs the question can you manage OK sales-wise with just KDP or do you find you get library sales only through Ingram for your large print edition?
Neither KDP Print nor Ingram Spark report on exactly where books sell, so I can’t say for sure whether my large print books have sold into libraries, but I suspect you’re unlikely to sell to libraries via KDP Print.
I believe libraries prefer hardback, which can be done via Ingram Spark, but not via KDP Print.
I’ve seen a few traditional-house large print, and they ussally compensate for the larger text by reducing the page margins, which allows them to have an LP book that isn’t much bigger than its standard-print counterpart, yet you say “bigger margins,” which really doesn’t make sense. How is an 8-inch page with 1-inch margins more readable than a 7-inch page with 1/2-inch margins (Yes, I’m ignoring the fact that the gutter would be larger that the outside)?
And if they’re at the end of a chapter or the book, they’re “endnotes,” not “footnotes.” Pet peeve of mine, because I use both: endnotes for works cited and footnotes for author commentary. I never read commentaries as endnotes because I get tired of flipping from where I’m reading to the end, only to discover it’s a citation rather than a commentary, and eventually assume they’re all citations.
The recommendation for larger margins, as with everything else in the article, comes from various groups that advocate for people with limited sight. As to why they’re useful, the UK Association for Accessible Formats (UKAAF) says that they help to separate the document from its surroundings. The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) say that they provide contrast to the print and luminance around the text.
When I first researched large print books, I borrowed several large print books from the local library, all from big publishers. It was notable that none of them followed all the guidance I’d found, and some of them appeared to do nothing more than increase the font size. Indie authors are often told to try to match the quality of traditional publishers, but I think in this case, we have the opportunity to do better.
You’re right about endnotes and footnotes, of course. My mistake.
This post came at the right time! Thank you for the super info – Bridgitte
Thank you, Bridgitte.
Very interesting, Russell. Thank you.
Can you tell me more about the cover? Are there any specifics for that, for instance the blurb text on the back etc?
The advice I found didn’t mention covers at all. I looked at some traditionally published books in large print, and the only difference there seemed to be to add a “Large Print” banner.
Ideally, I’d say that any text on the cover should follow the same guidelines – sans serif font, at least 16 point, etc, but I suspect it’s less important for the cover than the interior.
I’d think that enlarging the cover for a bigger book would automatically result in larger text on the cover. I certainly wouldn’t consider making a large-print book to the same trim size as the ‘normal’ book.
Fantastic information Russell. Very useful and I’m now excited about creating Large Print editions. Thank you
Thanks Lisa, and good luck with your large print editions 🙂
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Large-print refers to the formatting of a book or other text document in which the typeface (or font) are considerably larger than usual to accommodate
Large Print books are printed with a larger font size to make it easier to read if you have weak eyesight. The content of the Large Print and regular print
Large print is not just a bigger font size that makes reading accessible for the visually impaired. It's also proven to improve letter and word
Large print books, also known as large-print editions or large type books, are designed for those who have difficulty reading the regular
Large-print book definition: a book where the text is printed in larger text than normal, so as to make it easier to... | Meaning, pronunciation
The size of a font is described in point size. Large print is generally 16 to 18 point size. Giant print is anything larger than this. Regular print is usually
The American Printing House for the Blind considers 18 pt. or larger print as 'large print'. 14–16 pt. print isn't uncommon, but the APH label this 'enlarged'
Large print is defined as text formatted in roughly 16 point type, compared to the usual 11-13 point type found in most hardcover books and
The traditional large print book format is designed for people who have a deteriorating vision. The first large print books were produced in 36pt in 1910
Obviously, large print books need a larger font size than normal. 16 point is generally considered a minimum, but 18 point is preferred if