This Fonts Just Not My Type…

I have been really struggling with a book recently. It’s not because its not entertaining, its not because the characters aren’t vivid, its not because the author can’t write. It is because of the font/typeface and its driving me crazy. We have discussed book covers before on the blog, today I thought we could look at type and font. Here is an example of what I have been having a problem with…

I have been informed that this font (as the picture above shows) is ‘Courier New’ and to be fair the book in question is in proof form, hence why I haven’t named it as I have seen the finished copy and the font is lovely, but books do get published in the strangest of fonts. The worst I have come across, which my eyes despise almost as much as ‘Courier New’, is Sans Serif and that one gets used quite a lot. I also had another book arrive recently which was all done in grey, yes grey… why???!!!

I do wonder why publishers choose random fonts. Its not just the proof copies either as I have mentioned. Has a book ever crossed your path that you simply couldn’t read? What was the title, or if you don’t want to name and shame, what was the font? Does font actually matter to you? Should I just get over it or can you empathise?


Filed under Book Thoughts

29 responses to “This Fonts Just Not My Type…

  1. Courier is basically the old typewriter font. It’s what a lot of writers use for their manuscripts. A few of my novels and scripts are in Courier. My guess is the proof copy isn’t at all typeset. They’ve just printed and bound the author’s manuscript. I’ve seem proofs like that before, but I’m used to reading manuscripts like that as people submit them to me all the time.

    The reason some books come out grey is that the standard colour for text in Word is not actually black but ‘automatic’. To save ink, ‘automatic’ is only 80% black. I guess the publisher in question had set (either accidentally, or because they didn’t know any better) in less than that. Maybe 60% or 70% for example.

    Anybody with a laptop can publish these days, so it’s really not surprising. The first few books I published had a couple of silly mistakes (although I would never use Courier or grey text), but you live and learn.

    Garamond is the perfect font for books. Why people use anything different just confuses me x

    • Oh Adam if you get lots and lots of that sort of type arriving through your door then I feel sorry for you because my eyes just couldnt take it I dont think.

      Thanks for all of the explination in everything and good to see publishers saving ink. I hadnt thought of there being an enviromental reason behind it!

  2. I abandoned a j g ballard paperback last year due to the font and quality of paper that made reading it terribly hard ,this looks just as bad ,all the best stu

  3. anothercookiecrumbles

    I love Coetzee but the edition of Youth I had borrowed off a friend was just unreadable. I gave up in the end.

    Some old library books also have really small prints which I struggle with.

    I don’t have many issues with courier new, to be honest, as I have to use it all the time at work.

    • Oooh thats a point, the old prints that they had in some of the penguin orange ones, or the old Agatha Christie are really small indeed. I hadnt thought of that till now, weirdly that doesnt bother me so much.

  4. Louise

    I’ve abandoned so many books due to fonts, and paper quality..i have a lot of problems with tiny fonts and coupled with sentences that arent spaced well, it just seems to mingle together and it drives me nuts!

    fonts do matter to me,just as much as book covers do..

  5. This is why you need a Kindle, Simon. You can change the text size, the words per line and the line spacing. You can even change the typeface to regular, condensed or sans serif! 😉

    Oh, and I’m with Adam, I do love books printed in Garamond, but I’m also a sucker for Bembo.

    • Oh Kim!!!! How could you even suggest such a thing, never, never not on your nelly. Having said that I have been reading on an iPad recently and did try Paul’s kindle. I wasnt too fussed with the latter.

  6. Not just font/typeface that can make a book difficult to read, but I have also found that line length can prove very challenging. I have one book that I have never been able to finish because of the ridiculous line length. I know it sounds crazy but it gives me a headache! 🙂

    • Line length is another thing that I have to admit I have never noticed or thought about too much Frances. I have to say though that if a book seems to spacious i get really cross at the wastage of paper… poor publishers they cant do right for doing wrong.

  7. I’ve never noticed a font annoying me… but it is possible that I have given up on books, not quite knowing why – it might have been subconsciously because of the font.

    I have to say it’s funny that you struggled with Courier New when it is the font that comes up when commenting on your blog!

    • Hahaha I have actually changed the settings on my computer so that I cant read courier new on here, it comes up in another font. I dont know how on earth I managed it now but I did.

  8. In my youth (nearly 40 years ago), I ran a private press with real moveable lead-alloy typefaces in a variety of fonts. I chose Poliphilus and Blado Italic for my publications.

    Perhaps people in publishing don’t read Bror Zachrisson “On the Legibility of Printed Text” or similar works these days?

    I’m also very fond of “Optima”, Centaur, Baskerville and Romulus

  9. From your headline I was expecting this to be a review of Simon Garfield’s book about fonts called ‘Just My Type’, which was a big seasonal hit last year. I haven’t had major problems with font per se. Rather, it tends to be font size, line spacing and the dreaded italics that can ruin a book for me.

    • I havent heard of the Simon Garfield book, I am wondering if it might be one for me to try and hunt out after your mentioning of it.

      I hate, hate, hate speech in italics. I think the Tom Rob Smith books are brilliant except for that one small annoyance.

  10. Fonts bug me too, sometimes, as do the textures of covers. I empathize!

  11. I’m not a font expert but I do know that that would do my head in. There is a reason after all that modern fonts don’t look like something a typewriter would produce.

  12. My Master’s thesis had to be in Courier New, and I absolutely hate it. Hate it. It’s such an unattractive font, and the space between letters is odd.

  13. This is always a problem for me as well (when the font is small and spindly!!!) If it bothers me in a book I always mention it at the end of a review.

  14. Jon and I were desperate to read Darkmans by Nicole Beauman and we both gave up because its typeface was impossible to read. It wasn’t Arial but it was a sans serif font like that. Susan Hill also alludes to it in Howard’s End Is On The Landing. A really stupid typographical choice.

    • Oh I know what you mean about Darkmans! I did struggle through, however it did take something away from the experience to be honest. I liked it a lot but begrudged it too in a way.

  15. I think that font is the font usually used for writing codes.

    Personally, I don’t like Times New Roman. It’s just too mainstream and gives the feeling of being too formal. Although it’s obviously better than that Courier font.

    Also, the publishers must take into account the spacing between lines. My eyes get easily tired reading when there’s almost no line spacing.

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