Friday, 15 August 2014

The Housemaid's Daughter goes Large in the USA

I have just received a copy of my novel, The Housemaid's Daughter, in Large Print for the US market. It has been published by Thorndike Press in hardback, with a beautiful African sunset on the cover. Thorndike is part of the Gale, Cengage Learning group, and sells Large Print books to libraries, schools, institutions and to individuals through their website The book is also available from conventional online vendors.

I'm always on the lookout for particular quirks in the various editions. In this case it was the the logo and seal of approval of an organisation that I had not come across before, the NAVH. This is the National Association for the Visually Handicapped. Digging a little further, I discovered that this body has specific guidelines for publishers if they wish to gain NAVH approval. Some are understandable - minimum limits on margin size, maximum limits on size and weight, opaque paper so that bold print doesn't show through - but there are other recommendations that address readability in more subtle ways.

It turns out that Sans Serif is the easiest font for visually impaired readers, with a type size of at least 16 points, but preferably 18, and with no short strokes on the end of a character. And then there is the business of "descenders", those pesky tails extending below j and q... these should definitely not be allowed to wander from the vertical or have any flourishes.

I sat down and read the first chapter and I have to say it really was a pleasure. The script leapt out at me, and I had no trouble finishing in double quick time. Despite the fact that the text clearly occupies more space, clever design of the pages/chaptering means that the book is not that much longer than most of the current hardback versions. I'm thrilled that readers in the US now have the chance to read my book in such a bold format!

So... if you happen to spot one in a library near you, have a look...

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