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Publishers Enlarge Print For Boomers’ Needs

The Hartford Courant’s Korky Vann looks at the ever-growing need on the part of baby boomers and older for larger print type – and how publishers like Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group, Harlequin Enterprises, Random House and HarperCollins have launched or are about to launch programs that will cater to this squinting market. “More and more middle-aged consumers are looking for large-print books but don’t want to admit that they need large-print books” says Marion Haugh, owner of the Large Print Bookstore in Englewood, Colo., told the Courant. “So they preface their order by saying bigger print is easier to read in bed or on the treadmill or on the beach. Which it is. But the truth is boomers just can’t make out the type they used to be able to read. Publishers have realized that there is a whole new market for this format.”

The piece spotlights Harlequin’s NEXT and HarperLuxe but also clearly delineates exactly why these new large-print programs are necessary: in 2010, all boomers – a group of about 20 million – will be age 45 or older and most will be feeling the effects of presbyopia, the inability to focus on objects close up. Those numbers add up to an expanding market for easier-to-read books, a category in the past limited mostly to seniors and individuals with serious visual impairments. Of course, if these new large-print lines don’t sell to expectations, maybe the magnifying glass will make a comeback…

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