Monday, May 9, 2016

Font Size and Crossed Eyes: A writer/reader perspective

Has anyone else noticed that the word/font size in current paperback books is so much smaller than in decades past? In addition, is there less space between sentences than in times past. Does it matter? First let me explain how I discovered this interesting tidbit.

As a romance readers, I have a large collection of books. Some books date back decades when flowery language and prose were the norm. This said, I brought out of my favorite author's books from the past. This book was published in 1998. Immediately I saw the difference, but just to be sure, I brought out my most recent paperback romance bought in 2016. Here's what I noticed:

Page length varied but thickness of book was the same:
1inch thickness
1998 – 362 pages
2016 – 424 pages

Word/font size was considerably different. Although I couldn't measure this, I opened both books to a random page and the 1998 book appeared almost to be written in large print. A big difference when your eyes are tired.

Sentence spacing appeared similar, but again, it's the size of the word that made the page easier or harder to read.

The reason I examined this is because as a reader, I like to relax at the end of the day with a book. That being said, I'm already tired and sometimes can't make it past a few pages before my eyes are crossing in exhaustion. I always believed it was me, but seeing the word size and spacing in older books gave me a different opinion.

So then, in modern books readers get more words on the pages, more story to enjoy, but at what cost to their eye health. I can't say I'll ever stop reading paperbacks. I just might change up my night routine to older favorites, so I don't strain my eyes. I'd go for hardcover, but there is cost involved with that and not every book comes in hard cover.

What do you think? Do your older books have a better word size and spacing? Does it matter to you?

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