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.
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 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.