View Full Version : How do publishers decide on font size?

09-27-2008, 07:53 PM
I've seen books with 10 point, (possibly less), and 13 point. The number of pages would heavily depend on that. What do you think is average, and how would a potential publisher decide on it? I suppose YA books would have slightly larger font that Adult?

09-27-2008, 08:45 PM
I'm not sure but as a guess I think it would depend on the size of the novel, whether they have standards for book size in the genre/market (for example, SF/F books always tend to be similar in height and depth - always exceptions of course), popularity of author, etc. Just a thought anyway.

09-27-2008, 10:49 PM
The font size of the text of a finished book is often dependent on how long the book is as compared to the average length of books in that genre -- and what price point the publisher plans to use.

In other words, if you write a book that's 20,000 words longer than what the publisher generally sees in that genre, when the book is cast Production will reduce the font size to fit the pages allotted.

Likewise, if a book comes in short -- and especially if the cover and sales info has already been done -- the font size will be increased in order to fill the pages.

All that said, some writers routinely turn in "spare" novels, while others produce lengthy stories with dense prose requiring more space.


I don't read YA, but my guess would be that the standard font size would be a bit larger than some genres, largely because the books tend to be a bit shorter.

The thicker the book, the more the publisher can "legitimately" charge for it.

Danger Jane
09-27-2008, 10:53 PM
I've never noticed YA books to have a larger font than adult...maybe like Cece said, to make a book appear a little longer, but overall I would say the font size of a hardcover YA novel and a hardcover adult novel are often about the same.

ETA: Cece answered better. :D

09-28-2008, 06:32 AM
[B][COLOR=#4b0082]The thicker the book, the more the publisher can "legitimately" charge for it.

Makes sense, I guess. The last Harry Potter book has many more words than the fifth one, and the font in the fifth is much smaller than that in the last. The last book would be considerably thinner if they'd used the same font as the one used in the fifth.

09-28-2008, 06:42 AM
All I know is that I bought one of Janet Evanovich's books and it had hugh print and was only a couple of hundred pages long. I felt ripped off and made myself a promise that if she did that again, I would not buy any more of her books. I have bought books that 90 percent were one size font and the last part was a larger size. With the price of books I think this is a very bad way to do.


09-29-2008, 04:41 AM
Yep... trying to fit so much story into an ideal number of pages. For example, in the past week I've been reading two mass market paperbacks with vastly different font size. One is Robert B Parker's "Shrink Rap", which is about 300 pages with huge font and margins. The other is John Irving's "Prayer for Owen Meany", which is over 600 pages with tiny font and thin margins.

Sometimes larger font size can help make a book feel like a page-turner. I'd probably feel ripped off if I bought Shrink Rap, but seeing as how it was from the library, I was quite happy to finish the book in a day. Owen Meany, on the other hand, sometimes turns me off with its bulk. I can spend an hour reading and only get a couple pages ahead. It makes me more likely to put the book down if I see that I'm still less than 10% of the way through it after nipping at it for a month.

Speaking of which... I'm very glad I had a chance to thumb through the pages of Elmore Leonard's book of writing tips, rather than ordering it from Amazon. The font size is huge, the margins and blank pages take up more space than the text, and the whole $20 book might run 5,000 words. Don't write the parts that readers usually skip. There you go. That's pretty much the book in a nutshell.

10-16-2011, 01:05 AM
... some publishers pass off novellas as novels by increasing the font size among other things. I've seen font that's got to be 12 point. And like Cheshire said, the reason for that is so they can charge more. What's a consumer to do :-(

10-16-2011, 01:12 AM
I've put books back at the bookshop because the font is too small to read comfortably (and I don't have any vision issues). So who knows why they thought it was a good idea. I'd rather have paid a bit extra and had a book that was readable without a magnifying glass.