Large Print: First Frontier for Publishers?

Current student, Sean Betts, tells Blurbify about his discovery that large print editions seem, in some cases, to come off the press at a faster rate than the standard print counterpart.

I was very much surprised when I received the phone call from my local bookshop to tell me that the book that I had ordered, two days before, was not being released until 25th June. And this despite the fact that it was in stock on Amazon. I was even more surprised to find that the Amazon occurrence was in fact a large print edition and that it was published by a completely different publisher to the house responsible for the standard hardback.
I’d like to start off by admitting that I’ve been a closet Star Trek fan for some time. When I saw that Kate Mulgrew (Katherine Janeway, Captain of the USS Voyager) was releasing an autobiography, I knew I had to add it to my book collection.
I consulted Amazon and saw that Mulgrew’s memoir, Born With Teeth, was due to be released on 14th April 2015. I decided that I wanted to buy it in hardback form and, if possible, from my local independent bookshop. When the day came, it transpired that the title was not in stock, so I ordered the book to be delivered to my local book store, under the impression that it would be here within seven days.
On 16th April, the bookshop rang to inform me that Born With Teeth was, in fact, not going to be released until 25th June…

I logged onto to Amazon yet again to check that I hadn’t been mistaken, and there it was: Born With Teeth was due for released on 14th April, in hardback, for £20.99. Little, Brown (part of Hachette) is the publisher and it claimed to have an extent of 488 pages. I then clicked onto the other formats listed, taking note of the fact that it was available on Kindle, and that it was also available in hardback.

Needless to say, the hardback edition indeed had the 25th June release date attached, and this edition was 120 pages lighter than the version I’d hoped to get on 14th April. It was only at this late stage that I actually realised this version was in fact in large print. Interestingly, the standard hardback is being published by Life and Style (which is also part of Hachette).

This raised some questions: why were both editions not being printed under the same imprint? Why was the large print edition being published nearly two months ahead of the standard hardback? And, finally, is there anything to be gained, or utilised by printing large print prior to standard print?

While I may not have the answers to these questions at the time of writing, I do plan to undertake further research into this matter. Perhaps the bookshop was unable to source the large print from their supplier/wholesaler (or didn’t think to), or perhaps Amazon themselves have free reign on the sale of the large print edition. Whatever the answers, I eagerly await 25th to get my hands, finally, on a long-coveted memoir.

Share Button

Sean is a part-time student on the MA Publishing Course at Anglia Ruskin University. His acquaintance with the publishing world was born out of a long sense of intrigue about what actually happens at a publishing house. While his passion, and curiosity, is towards trade fiction, he also holds a bit of a candle to the academic publishing world. He loves to write about trade publishing on Blurbify and is always intrigued to see which book will be next that takes readers by storm!