I hate to admit it, but it’s time. I am getting older. I now belong to that category called middle-aged.
If you are in middle age or beyond, you are familiar with a condition most people our age struggle with. It’s called presbyopia.
For those of you who have not yet reached middle age, presbyopia is a condition where the eye loses its ability to focus and reading glasses become a necessity.
I bet you are wondering, “What does this have to do with publishing and marketing books?” Let me tell you.
I no longer judge a book by its cover, author, and subject matter. Now that I am in middle age, a new factor has become important in determining whether I will buy or read a book. The size of the print used for the text of the book now matters.
With my eyes declining ability to focus, if I open a book and the print is small and very close together, it hurts my eyes to try to focus on the words. As a result, I put the book down and look for one that is easier for my eyes to handle.
People over the age of 40 begin to develop presbyopia. This means that, potentially, you could be losing sales if your font size is too small and tightly packed together. People over the age of 40 account for over half the book sales in the United States. Therefore, making your print books easy on this age group’s eyes is important for sales.
Here are my suggestions for making your books amenable to middle-age and over folks.
- Use a font size that is easily legible and not cramped together. Some suggestions for good fonts include Futura, Garamond, and Palatino.
- Don’t cramp the text to the edges. Leave wide margins.
- Make sure that the spacing between lines is at lease 1.5 to 2 times the space between the words.
Using large font and allowing more space can increase the page-count of a book, which translates to increased costs. As a result, many publishers are tempted to skimp and use small font and cram as many words on a page as possible.
Take it from me, an aging middle-ager, don’t use small fonts and cramped layout to save a little money on the production end. You will lose much more on the sales end if you do.