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  1. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Books that are hard on the eyes

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by jannert, May 5, 2017.

    Is it just me, or are some paper books more difficult to read than paper books used to be?

    I realise I'm getting older and my eyesight isn't what it was, but I find I struggle to read many 'new' books I've recently bought. I just bought a large history book, book Two of the Overland West series by Will Bagley. It came yesterday, and I sat down to read it. Difficult.

    After rubbing my eyes, trying a different angle, changing my glasses ...still no real joy. Just for comparison, I also took out my copy (similar size and subject) of Lamar's New Encyclopedia of the American West, which I've had for years. That's a huge tome, with very tiny print. Tinier than the print in the Bagley book. However, I discovered I could still read it, no bother.

    I compared the two, side by side, and discovered that the new book is printed on a creamy/buttery-coloured paper and the print is grey, rather than black. Even though the font size is bigger, it's much harder to read. The Encyclopedia is printed on a whiter paper stock, and the print is definitely black.

    I picked up a few other books I've got lying around, and discovered the same thing. Cream coloured paper with grey printing is VERY hard to read, as opposed to the more traditional white page with black print.

    I'm not sure what the fashion for yellowy paper and grey print is coming from, but I wish it would stop. Maybe the grey print is cheaper to produce because it uses less ink? And the yellow paper is cheaper to produce because it's not as refined? Dunno. But I'm really appreciating my Kindle at the moment.
     
  2. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    You may be right about the grey print; I suspect the yellow paper is because they're not bleaching the pulp to get it WHITE.
    Probably partially cost, partially eco-friendly; the ink may be a similar story.

    I read the Metro on my way to work, and they keep putting items in white print on blue ground; that can be really tough when their blue ribbon needs to be replaced!
     
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  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Cream and grey sounds like an awful combination for the eyes!

    I can't remember the last time I bought a print book so I won't have noticed any trend. But I do love my Kindle. Before I got one I thought it would be like reading on a PC screen, which I find very difficult for anything longer than an average forum post, but it's not - the screen is specially designed to be easy on the eyes. And, of course, the ability to increase and decrease fonts, as well as changing the font, is fantastic.
     
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  4. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oh yes, that's one of my pet peeves as well. (I don't read the Metro, but the problem exists elsewhere.) My husband, the ex-journalist, says it's fine to use pale lettering on dark ground for things like a small blurb beneath a picture, or one of those insert blurbs that helps to break up a page. But to print a whole article with pale lettering on dark ground? I usually just give up and don't bother to read the article.

    I subscribe to the paper edition of MacFormat magazine, and I noticed they started doing this a while back. And then a few letters of complaint came in (NOT from me) and they acknowledged the problem as a reply to one of the letters, and stopped doing it. Great.
     

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