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Book Production: How To Self-publish Large-Print Books

Book Production: How to Self-publish Large-Print Books

Headshot of Russell Phillips

Indie author Russell Phillips also runs an author services business

Diversifying formats enables indie authors to reach a wider audience – and large-print books helps us serve the significant number of print-disabled readers who find standard format paperbacks too difficult but still prefer print to audio. As Russell Phillips explains, drawing on his own research and experience, creating a large-print book is not just a matter of increasing point size. His useful post provides a complete how-to list for indie authors everywhere.


I’ve released large print versions of several of my books. Most indies only have an ebook, or an ebook and a standard paperback. Having extra formats such as large print looks professional and helps me to stand out.

double page spread of large print version

Spot the differences between large print edition (above) and standard formatting (below)


screenshot of double-page spread of standard edition formatting

Font and Font Size

Obviously, large print books need a larger font size than normal. 16 point is generally considered a minimum, but 18 point is preferred if possible. There should be no text in a smaller size. Page numbers, copyright information, etc. should all be at least as large as the main body text. Headings should use a larger font size, as with normal print.

It is also important to consider the font face. Use a sans-serif font, and if at all possible, avoid using italics, underlining, or blocks of capital letters.

White Space

In general, plenty of white space makes a book easier to read for those with sight issues. Single spacing can make it difficult to find the start of the next line, so use 1.25 or 1.5 spacing instead.

Indentation makes it harder to find the start of a paragraph, so use block paragraphs instead.

Margins should be wider than usual, at least 25mm (1 inch) wide. Footnotes should be at the end of the chapter, or in a section at the end of the book, to avoid cluttering the page.

Left Align

Most print books use full-justified text, so that the right side of the text is lined up along the right margin. However, this leads to uneven gaps between words. Left-justified (or ragged-right) text should be used in large print books.

Headings should also be left-aligned rather than centre-aligned. This makes them easier to find.

Images should be aligned to the left for the same reason, but there should be no text to the right of the image. A partially-sighted reader may not realise that there is text next to the image. The image should be clear, and any text inside the image should obey the same rules as the rest of the text in the book. If possible, move the text out of the image. If this isn’t possible, ensure that there is good contrast and that the text is on a plain background.

All text must be horizontal, including things like labels on diagrams and images.

Keep Things Together

It is important to keep related items connected, without large spaces. If your contents page doesn’t already have a row of dots between the chapter name or number and the page number, add them. Tables should usually have lines around the cells. It is also important to avoid widows and orphans (single lines from a paragraph at the top or bottom of a page).

Don’t use hyphens. If a word won’t fit on a line, put the whole word on the next line rather than splitting it with a hyphen. Hyphenated words (e.g. self-publish) should be on one line, not split over two lines at the hyphen.

Use a Clear Layout

A consistent layout is particularly important when designing books for the partially sighted. Headings should be clearly different to the body text. Include chapter names on page headers if possible. This helps the reader determine where they are in the book.

Other Considerations (Book Size, Paper, etc)

Use cream paper rather than white, as it reduces paper glare. A very thick book can be difficult to hold, so you may need to increase the trim size to reduce the page count. I’ve used 6″x9″ and 8″x10″, but you could go up to 8.5″x11″ if you need to.

You may be able to sell your large print books to libraries, so consider a hardback version. Libraries prefer these as they are more durable.

Mark It as Large Print

Finally, make it clear that the book is a large print edition:

  • In KDP Print, tick the “Large Print” box on the Paperback Details page.
  • In IngramSpark, set the Edition Description to “Large Print Edition”.

This will set the metadata so that retailers can categorise it as a large print edition.

Add “(Large Print)” to the end of the title, and mark the cover to show that it is a large print edition. This can be as simple as a colored band with “Large Print Edition” printed in it.

Further Reading

This blog post covers the most important points. If you wish to find out more, the following should be useful:

OVER TO YOU Do you have any tips to add to Russell Phillips’ extensive list? Do you have any recommendations on how best to market large-print books? We’d love to hear them!

#Indieauthors - reach more readers & get greater market share by producing large print editions of your #selfpublished books using this handy guide by @Helping_Writers Click To Tweet

From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive

Russell Phillips

Russell Phillips is an established indie author. He self-published his first book in 2011, and has written and published books in various formats since then. More recently, he set up an author services business to help others that wish to

This Post Has 14 Comments
  1. Hi Russell, thanks so much for this information!
    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on how to format dialogue in large print? Normally, I would use a new line and indent for each new person speaking and their associated actions and thoughts. Do you treat each new character speaking as a new paragraph, and therefore leave a line between, or keep them together, just on new lines with no indent?
    Thanks for your help.

    1. I use new paragraphs for each new person speaking. Normally, that would be indicated by it being on a new, indented line. In large print, I’d still use a new paragraph for the new person speaking, but in this case, it would be a block paragraph, so no indentation, and a gap to mark the new paragraph.

  2. Thanks for this timely post. Some have recommended doing a large print edition for library sales, which begs the question can you manage OK sales-wise with just KDP or do you find you get library sales only through Ingram for your large print edition?

    1. Neither KDP Print nor Ingram Spark report on exactly where books sell, so I can’t say for sure whether my large print books have sold into libraries, but I suspect you’re unlikely to sell to libraries via KDP Print.

      I believe libraries prefer hardback, which can be done via Ingram Spark, but not via KDP Print.

  3. I’ve seen a few traditional-house large print, and they ussally compensate for the larger text by reducing the page margins, which allows them to have an LP book that isn’t much bigger than its standard-print counterpart, yet you say “bigger margins,” which really doesn’t make sense. How is an 8-inch page with 1-inch margins more readable than a 7-inch page with 1/2-inch margins (Yes, I’m ignoring the fact that the gutter would be larger that the outside)?

    And if they’re at the end of a chapter or the book, they’re “endnotes,” not “footnotes.” Pet peeve of mine, because I use both: endnotes for works cited and footnotes for author commentary. I never read commentaries as endnotes because I get tired of flipping from where I’m reading to the end, only to discover it’s a citation rather than a commentary, and eventually assume they’re all citations.

    1. The recommendation for larger margins, as with everything else in the article, comes from various groups that advocate for people with limited sight. As to why they’re useful, the UK Association for Accessible Formats (UKAAF) says that they help to separate the document from its surroundings. The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) say that they provide contrast to the print and luminance around the text.

      When I first researched large print books, I borrowed several large print books from the local library, all from big publishers. It was notable that none of them followed all the guidance I’d found, and some of them appeared to do nothing more than increase the font size. Indie authors are often told to try to match the quality of traditional publishers, but I think in this case, we have the opportunity to do better.

      You’re right about endnotes and footnotes, of course. My mistake.

    1. The advice I found didn’t mention covers at all. I looked at some traditionally published books in large print, and the only difference there seemed to be to add a “Large Print” banner.

      Ideally, I’d say that any text on the cover should follow the same guidelines – sans serif font, at least 16 point, etc, but I suspect it’s less important for the cover than the interior.

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