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An interesting topic, usually not considered in my first publications, is the set of font styles to be used in a book.

If you make a quick search on Internet, you will find a lot of pages speaking about readability and ergonomics. There is some difference between typefaces with and without serif (decoration) and indications on when you should use an indent or an extra line spacing to begin a new paragraph. In general, you should NOT do both in a same text…

Note: For example, the paper version of this book is edited with a font face without serif (Calibri) and paragraphs start with increased line spacing.

Line spacing will be related to the font size and the desired readability for your text. This way, for only-text books such as novels or essays, line spacing is equal to the character height.

Official or legal texts will increase this spacing, maybe to twice or three times the character height. In between, your text editor will allow you to select some intermediate values, like 1.15, 1.25, 1.5… times the character height.

Layout programs such as InDesign and Scribus let you go one step further, and you may define exact line spacing in terms of points and picas (units used in professional press).

Anyway, your first decision must be the font size. In an eBook this is not so critical, since the device will adjust that size to the user setting. However, when printing in paper, this can be a value to investigate in deep…

The paper version of this book uses a 9pt font size and 1.15 line spacing. A bigger font size would have produced just too few words per line, and few lines per page.

Bigger books may allow you to use bigger font sizes, so that they can be read from a longer distance. However, you should not exaggerate when setting your base size – your book might look “empty” if you set a too big font size or large line spacing.

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Publishing: Fonts

Did you like this post? It was adapted from the book "Online Publishing - do it yourself" that you may find on the main online stores...

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