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Old 11-10-2012, 07:11 PM   #1
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Favourite fonts for print on demand

What fonts have you been using for your print on demand books? (I'm asking about novels here.) Reading around the 'net it appears that Garamond is a current favourite among many (though it's not one I have on my system yet). Other popular choices appear to be Minion Pro, Sabon, Georgia, Palatino Linotype, Baskerville and Caslon.

Have you noticed much difference between your own-printer/on-screen experiments with fonts and what you get back from the print-on-demand printer?

Are there fonts you specifically don't like? (Not really talking about the obviously bad choices like Comic or something.)
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:36 PM   #2
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You want as clean and boring of a font as you can get. Like Times New Roman or Garamond, IMO. Usually the POD places that you go to will tell you want fonts they prefer, and it is usually best to follow their lead.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:48 PM   #3
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So I just looked, it appears I used Book Antiqua for my Amazon Create Space books and I really like how the print looks.

The template Amazon Create Space provides uses Verdana.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for your thoughts VydorScope. I'd seen that some use Verdana, but that's sans-serif, and not something I want. Book Antiqua is a copy of Palatino, according to Zapf, who created Palatino (ref: Wikipedia).

I'm going to see how hard it is to use Lightning Source (because I can get things printed here in Australia as well as U.S. and U.K.), which means I (or whoever I pay, if it comes to that) gets to produce our own PDF with embedded fonts. So my options are wide open at this point ... except, of course, some choices I'd have to buy first.

I tend to agree with you about wanting something clean and boring - though many of the comments I've read around the 'net have been people looking for something that was specifically not the same as what everyone else uses - which strikes me as odd, the font is not something I particularly want to stand-out, I'd rather the reader didn't notice it (as far as I can tell, most don't unless it's something bad).

I'm currently thinking that I'll use Georgia (because I have that one of the system), at 11pt. I think it comes out clearer than Times New Roman at the same font size. I've tried Palatino Linotype, and I do like how open it makes the text appear on the page (Times and Georgia both have a very dense appearance), but I'm thinking that the Georgia may be easier to read. Also, Palatino blows my page count out another 40-odd pages - to over 500 - which would have a cost impact.

If I was younger I'd probably have chosen a smaller font size, but these days I find don't particularly like books with a very small font - even with my reading glasses on.

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Old 11-10-2012, 10:21 PM   #5
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I tend to agree with you about wanting something clean and boring - though many of the comments I've read around the 'net have been people looking for something that was specifically not the same as what everyone else uses - which strikes me as odd, the font is not something I particularly want to stand-out, I'd rather the reader didn't notice it (as far as I can tell, most don't unless it's something bad).

Exactly. If they notice the font, you lost them from the story.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:08 AM   #6
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I've been playing some more and comparing the results to books off the shelf. I finally decided that 11pt Georgia was a little too big (made it look like a book for younger readers), so I dropped to 10.5pt but kept the line spacing the same (I'd already been using a slightly larger spacing). The result is actually quite good I think - though I guess the proof will be in the ... um, proof, I guess.

It's amazing how much time you can spend on the minutiae trying to get it look right. Does it get any easier as you go on?
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:16 AM   #7
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It's amazing how much time you can spend on the minutiae trying to get it look right. Does it get any easier as you go on?
Yes, at least for me because I develop paterns and use them every time. So when I am ready to get volume IV into a PDF I will open my template, paste in my book and 90% of the work will be done for the print pages.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:18 AM   #8
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I use Georgia, you can get away with a smaller size and save money on the page count.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:53 AM   #9
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I use Georgia, you can get away with a smaller size and save money on the page count.
Mr Ploppy, can I ask if you've ever gone as small as 9.5pt? If so, any complaints from readers?

I've been reviewing the costs while paying attention to the discount that resellers expect - and that's made me take another look at this. At 9.5pt (still with reasonable line spacing) I can get down under 400 pages and have a book with a more reasonable retail price. It looks quite readable in my tests here, about the same as some of our mass-market paperbacks. I'd prefer slightly bigger, but I would also like to actually make a buck or two off the sale while keeping a reasonable price for the reader.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:19 AM   #10
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Mr Ploppy, can I ask if you've ever gone as small as 9.5pt? If so, any complaints from readers?

I've been reviewing the costs while paying attention to the discount that resellers expect - and that's made me take another look at this. At 9.5pt (still with reasonable line spacing) I can get down under 400 pages and have a book with a more reasonable retail price. It looks quite readable in my tests here, about the same as some of our mass-market paperbacks. I'd prefer slightly bigger, but I would also like to actually make a buck or two off the sale while keeping a reasonable price for the reader.
I get complaints that the text is to small at 10 point from readers. So I do not think I would go to 9.5 personally.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:25 AM   #11
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I get complaints that the text is to small at 10 point from readers. So I do not think I would go to 9.5 personally.
It does make a difference which font, though. Palatino/Book-Antiqua seems to be a lighter font with a smaller relative 'x' height than Georgia, which prints quite dark. Line spacing can also make a big difference on clarity. For example I prefer 9.5pt over 10pt at my current line spacing (0.43cm/12pt) - and to expand the line spacing to make 10pt look good blows out the page count further than I wanted.

It's a touch choice. I like the way it came out at 10.5pt, but I'm worried it will push the price too far out. I can offset some of that by reducing the amount of discount, but if I go too far in that direction it limits who will list the book.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:04 AM   #12
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It does make a difference which font, though. Palatino/Book-Antiqua seems to be a lighter font with a smaller relative 'x' height than Georgia, which prints quite dark. Line spacing can also make a big difference on clarity. For example I prefer 9.5pt over 10pt at my current line spacing (0.43cm/12pt) - and to expand the line spacing to make 10pt look good blows out the page count further than I wanted.

It's a touch choice. I like the way it came out at 10.5pt, but I'm worried it will push the price too far out. I can offset some of that by reducing the amount of discount, but if I go too far in that direction it limits who will list the book.
Shop out printers too. I know I saved over 50% by moving off Lulu to Amazon Create Space. I do not know options you have in that space as I think I remember you not being in the USA. I only know the American market space
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:57 AM   #13
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Shop out printers too. I know I saved over 50% by moving off Lulu to Amazon Create Space. I do not know options you have in that space as I think I remember you not being in the USA. I only know the American market space
I've signed up with Lightning Source - they have a presence here in Australia which assists with dealing with them, and ensures better availability to resellers in my own country. CreateSpace would have been easier, but until Amazon have a presence here they are not an ideal solution for this market with printed books. (Delivery costs and times offset any printing cost advantage.)

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Old 11-19-2012, 12:05 PM   #14
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I use 10point with a 12point leading, but I don't think 9.5 would make much difference with Georgia.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:41 PM   #15
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Thanks, Mr Ploppy. I'm going ahead with 9.5pt for now. I'll update here if I get any readers that complain.
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