The Biggest Large Print Myths Busted!

5 min read

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 4th grade on up.

New York Times Best Selling Publishers Thorndike Press
Click to enlarge.

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.


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 992nd 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.

Air Jordan

18 thoughts on “The Biggest Large Print Myths Busted!”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.”

  5. I agree with you that large format printingcan increase our expenses but same time we can attract more people toward our business.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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:

  9. Do large-print books contain the same number of words that the small-l print books of the same story have?

  10. 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

  11. 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.


Leave a Comment