Thursday, 6 December 2012

Seven reasons why you might buy an ereader

Seven reasons why you might buy an eReader
As booksellers, many customers assume that we are antagonistic to eReaders but our concern is with the visually impaired, and enabling them to continue to enjoy a major pleasure – reading.
Whilst we love books, there are many reasons why we would suggest that you consider ebooks. We are now selling the Kobo Glo, which is particularly easy to adjust font, type size, margins, and the brightness of light thrown on the screen.
What we like about ebooks and the Kobo Glo in particular are the following:
  1. Availability: There are about 3 million ebooks available (compared to the 25,000 books in large print that are available in this country). About 1 million of these books are free of charge, including all the out of copyright classics such as Thomas Hardy, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, etc.
  2. Price: large print books are larger than normal print, their print runs are very short, and so the prices are high, especially of the out of copyright classics which are often produced to order, one at a time (print on demand). Four such classics could easily cost £25 each, which happens to be the cost of the Kobo Glo (£99.99).
  3. Weight: For many of our customers, weight can be an important consideration, especially if suffering from arthritis. Our best seller, Wolf Hall, weighs over 3 pounds (1.376 kilos) whereas the Kobo Glo, which will hold 1,000 such books, weighs under 7 ounces (182 grams).
  4. Font size: our books are nearly all 16 point, but you can adjust the font size of the Kobo Glo up to about 24 point. But do bear in mind that the ‘page’ size is quite small – about 6 inches – so the larger the font, the more frequent the page turns. The font is crisp, and you have a choice of seven fonts, including one particularly suitable for dyslexics.
  5. Page turns are easy: it is important that an ereader is easy to operate. Just touch the screen on the right-hand side to go onto the next page; touch the left hand to go back a page.
  6. The screen is lit: early eReaders were not lit up – you needed a source of light to read, just as with a book. The new generation of ereaders have their own light and the Kobo Glo is reckoned to be the best. Brightness is adjustable and you should be able to read comfortably even in the dark.
  7. Read on more than one device: when you buy a kobo ebook, you can read it on different devices such as your tablet, ipad, desktop, netbook, laptop, or even your smartphone, etc. You can have five devices registered to your account and can keep all your books synced between them. This means that if you select books for a parent, and their ereader is registered to you, you can read the same book at the same time, or any time you choose in the future.
Available for immediate dispatch: we currently have four Kobo Glos in stock. The price is £99.99 and we send them free of charge by Royal Mail Special Delivery for delivery the next working day (Monday to Friday) by 1 pm.  Providing our website says “currently in stock”  you should receive the Kobo Glo the next day, if you order by 4 pm. We do not give you a choice of colour: like Henry Ford with his Model T you can have any colour you like as long as it is black.

If you would like to see a short video (less than a minute) about the Kobo Glo then please click here.
To see a three minute demonstration click here.
To buy the Kobo Glo now click here.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Discover the pleasure of listening to a good book!

Many people who enjoy reading large print books also enjoy audiobooks; we meet many people who can no longer manage 16 point print size and they then move on to audiobooks.

The RNIB provide a marvellous service for those who need audiobooks and have 18,000 unabridged titles. But our audiobook partner (you can find a link on our website on the right hand side) have 48,000 unabridged titles.

I am currently listening to Hilary Mantel’s marvellous Bring Up the Bodies, her sequel to Wolf Hall, and this year’s Man Booker prize winner. This book is not yet available in large print (it is due to be published in February 2013), but listening to an unabridged book has been a revelation to me – I find myself engrossed every morning when I take my dogs for a walk on Royston Heath.

You can download a free audiobook via our website (there are 60,000 titles – including some abridged ones – to choose from). If you like what you hear, you can download a book a month for only £7.99, or 12 books for £69.99 (£5.84 each) or 24 books for £109.99 (£4.59 each). You can cancel your membership at any time.

The books are yours to own and keep and you can have more than one listening device (ipod, tablet, laptop, smartphone, etc.) registered to your account, so your partner, child or parent can listen to the same book at the same time!

Best wishes

Guy Garfit

Friday, 23 November 2012

Pollinger in Print Books appeal particularly to teenagers.

Readers of large print books are very poorly served by mainstream publishers like Penguin and Random House, and by literary agents. In this digital age many more books should be available in large print. At the moment less than 1.5% of all books published are also produced in large print.

Of those that are produced many go out of print almost as soon as they are published. (Eg Victoria Hislop’s The Thread was published in hardback last November but went out of print in early December – it would have been our big Christmas book last year; this year, the paperback edition went out of print last month – it would have been our big Christmas book this year).

Very few literary agents are looking after their author’s interests as diligently as they should. It always mystifies me as to why large print publishing is so little regarded by publishers and agents. One sees so many books published which are destined for the remainder table as publishers try to reach new markets, but they ignore a large and growing section of the population who loved reading, want to continue to do so, but are unable to because of failing eyesight.

The digital technology that enables publishers to print a book only when they receive an order for that book (print-on-demand or POD) is ideal for large print books. POD means that a book need never go out of print – we could be happily selling The Thread if the publisher had decided to keep it in print.

Hats off then to one literary agent, Pollinger Limited, who started their own imprint, Pollinger in Print, to make some of their authors’ work available in large print, using POD. They have some 40 books available in large print.

Some of these are from perennial bestsellers like HE Bates, which you can find here. We are very aware that many of the elderly visually impaired want to revisit favourite books and authors from the past but very little backlist titles are available in large print, so this initiative is particularly welcome.

But the major emphasis of the Pollinger in Print titles is books for children, particularly teenagers: a market that is particularly ignored by the mainstream large print publishers.

A favourite author, appealing to this age range is Vera Chapman, founder of the Tolkien Society whose three books in large print would be particularly popular with Tolkien fans. You can find them here: King Arthur’s Daughter; The King’s Damosel; and The Green Knight.

One author whom they are particularly proud to support is Susan Holliday whose books are aimed at adolescents on the cusp of adulthood. In fact her latest book is a Pollinger original, Fifteen and Falling, is one that staff felt as passionate about as the author herself who wrote:

"I wrote FIFTEEN AND FALLING because I thought there might be something of value in turning my own experience into a fictional story for young adults of today. It is a tale about friendship and drug- taking, two things that have not changed over the years.

Some time ago in our leafy country town, there were young people who were not only experimenting with drugs but for whom drug-taking became a way of life. Families, including my own, were in disarray. Several children disappeared for a while and one or two died. Many survived, sometimes suffering from long lasting effects. There were others who became marvellous adults and channelled their experience into helping others.

FIFTEEN AND FALLING is no morality tale. It is a fictional realistic account of two friends who, at an emotionally difficult time of their lives, succumb to the controlling influence of their drug addict boyfriends. They live in a squat in London but are eventually made homeless. It is their friendship, talent and vision that finally lead them back to a fulfilling life."

You can find a full list of her titles here.

Other authors:

Peter Clover, whose four titles are particularly appropriate for pony-loving children.

Philip Gross, the sinister Facetaker.

Frances Mary Hendry, a teacher for 20 years, has written 16 books, four of them available in large print. You can find more details about the four here, and if you would like to learn more about the author, visit her website here.

Valerie Thame, three books involving witches.

Gary Paulsen, the prolific author of fiction for boys, has written a tongue-in-cheek memoir, ideal for teenagers who want an adrenalin rush:

How Angel Peterson Got His Name is a nonfiction, young adult memoir written by Gary Paulsen, outlining the hilarious, and often dangerous stunts Paulsen and his friends pull in order to entertain themselves and impress the young ladies. All of the tales in this book are about the true adventures of Paulsen and his friends during the mid-1950s.

Bette Paul, another prolific author with 25 years’ teaching experience, has three books available in large print.

Allan Frewin Jones: The Mole and Beverley Miller. "One of the most believable, emotionally gripping and real teen novels I've read for a long time" Stephanie Nettell, The Guardian

Helen Magee: has six comic books for children available in large print.

Brandon Robshaw: Georgina and the Dragon.

Another genre that is severely underrepresented in large print is books relating to sport, but Pollinger have made available Wasim Khan’s Brimful of Passion, the story of the first Pakistani born in this country to make it as a county cricketer.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Independent Booksellers’ Week Book Award 2012 Shortlist Announced

The selection of ten adult titles and twelve children’s titles have just been announced. These have been chosen by Independent Booksellers as their favourite books of the year. The public will be able to vote for their favourite from 30th June.

The following adult titles are available in large print:

Andrew Miller, Pure

Matthew Hollis, Now All Roads Lead to France. Please note that this book is not published yet. It is due in August 2012.

Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending.

Alan Bennet, Smut.

Sebastian Barry,  On Canaan’s Side.

Kate Grenville, Sarah Thornhill.

The following children’s titles are available in large print:

Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Meg Roscoff, There is No Dog.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Richard and Judy Summer Book Club 2012

The ten titles for the Richard and Judy Summer Book Club have been announced and five of them are available in large print from our website. Click on the links to learn more about each title.

Victoria Hislop, The Thread. This book is published in paperback next week, and we have plenty of copies on order. (The hardback was published just before Christmas and went out of print almost immediately). Gransnet have also chosen this book as their June book club choice.

Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus.

Robert Harris, The Fear Index.

Lars Kepler, The Hypnotist. This book is only available in large print from the USA.

Penny Hancock, Tideline.

Richard and Judy choices are always popular and prove very good choices for book groups to discuss.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Visually Impaired Person’s Guide to The Hay Festival

The programme for the 25th Hay Festival, running from Thursday May 31st until Sunday June 10th has been announced, together with the children’s programme, Hay Fever, which runs at the same time.

There is a wonderfully diverse programme, with a large number of authors. You can find the full programme here.

Many of these authors are available in large print and we have produced a guide to what is available in large print for the benefit of festival goers, and for those who are tempted to get involved at a distance.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Half of a Yellow Sun and The Thing Around Your Neck, will give the Commonwealth Lecture ‘To Instruct and Delight – a Case for Realist Literature’.

Martin Amis will discuss his new novel with The Telegraph Head of Books, Gaby Wood. Some of his earlier work is available in large print and you can find details here.

William Boyd talks with the Festival Director Peter Florence about his new novel, Waiting for Sunrise.

Louis de Bernières discusses his work as the librettist for the musical production about the Hay Poisoner.

Monty Don appears in four events, discussing diverse subjects from climate change to bi-polarity to the growing world population.

Michael Frayn discusses his childhood memoir, My Father’s Fortune, available in hardback and paperback.

Stephen Fry attends two discussions on bi-polarity.

Philippa Gregory is appearing in three events on Saturday 2nd June. Five of her titles are available in large print.

Mohammed Hanif will be discussing his new novel Our Lady of Alice Bhatti.

Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding: It is rather extraordinary that a book about Baseball has received such rave reviews in the UK (as well as the US of course) and Waterstones have chosen it as one of their 2012 “Waterstones eleven” for debut novels.

Joanne Harris will be discussing a sequel to Chocolat. Let’s hope it is published in large print in due course.

Alan Hollinghurst will discuss his latest novel, The Stranger’s Child, with Gaby Wood.

Boris Johnson will be talking about his latest book, Johnson’s Life of London, one of the 98% of books published every year which are never published in large print. However, his The Dream of Rome is still available in large print.

Kathy Lette will be talking about her new novel The Boy Who Fell to Earth.

Two of our bestsellers are Ben MacIntyre’s Operation Mincemeat and Agent Zigzag, so it is a mystery as to why his latest bestseller Double Cross – The True Story of the D-Day Spies is not yet available in large print, despite having been a Radio 4 Book of the Week.

One of the highlights of the festival will undoubtedly be Hilary Mantel talking about her new book Bring up the Bodies, her sequel to Wolf Hall, one of our biggest sellers in large print. As yet, we do not know who is going to publish the large print edition of Bring Up the Bodies. Send us an email if you want to be kept informed as soon as we know more.

Andrew Marr will be talking about The Diamond Queen on Friday 8th June. If we are very lucky the large print edition will be available by then. It is due to be published on June 4th, the first day of the two-day Diamond Jubilee holiday, so we can be sure it will not be published on that day! The publisher is notorious for failing to meet their publication deadlines anyway, often being a month late. What is puzzling is that the normal print edition was published in October last year so they have had plenty of time to produce the large print edition.

Ian McEwan will be discussing his writing and his new novel, Sweet Tooth, with Timothy Garton Ash. He will also be talking to James Watson, the 1962 Nobel Laureate, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.

Sinclair McKay will be talking about his The Secret Life of Bletchley Park, chosen as the Independent Booksellers Book of the Year in 2011, and one of our biggest sellers.

Andrew Miller will be talking about Pure, the Costa Book of the Year 2012.

Adam Nicolson will talk about his 700 year history of The Gentry, arguing that it is the history of this yeoman class that makes England what it is today.

Frances Osborne, author of The Bolter, will talk about her new novel Park Lane.

Ian Rankin talks about his writing including his latest title, The Impossible Dead.

Anne Sebba talks about her biography of Wallis Simpson, The Duchess of Windsor, That Woman.

Lionel Shriver, Orange Prizewinning author, will talk about his latest work, The New Republic.

Helen Simpson talks about her short stories.

David Starkey discusses the House of Windsor.

Kate Summerscale will talk about her latest book Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady. Her Samuel Johnson Prize Winning The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is available in large print.

John Lewis-Stempel will talk about his biography of James Herriot, The Young Herriot. We would love to have provided a link to the large print edition of this book, published in April this year but unfortunately it also went out of print in April this year! Just one of the daft vagaries of our life as large print booksellers – see our blog on the subject here.

Rebecca Stott will discuss her new book on Darwin’s predecessors. In the meantime her novel, The Coral Thief is available in large print.

Sue Townsend, a great champion for the visually impaired, will be talking about her latest novel, The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year. Her Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years is available in hardback and paperback in large print.

Kate Williams talks about her latest novel Beautiful Lies.
Jeanette Winterson talks about her autobiography, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Large Print Bookshop Guide to CrimeFest 2012

Those who like crime fiction and thrillers are well-served by the large print publishers with over 50% of the authors at CrimeFest being available in large print.

CrimeFest 2012 to be held in Bristol later this month from the 24th to 27th May looks like being a wonderful and stimulating occasion.

This, the fifth, festival seems to be going from strength to strength. I am still hoping to be able to attend some of the sessions (most are already sold out), if I can get away from the office. Maybe next year the Large Print Bookshop should have a presence.

We are particularly pleased to have played a part in persuading ReadHowYouWant to work with PD James to bring back some of her titles in to large print.

We provide links below to books by all the listed authors. You can find the CrimeFest website itself here

Sunday, 6 May 2012

BBC Radio 4 Bookclub

Ross Raisin is currently discussing his debut novel, God's Own Country with James Naughtie.

This book is available in large print - one of the very few discussed on this programme that are.

Find further details here

Friday, 4 May 2012

New books in large print from WF Howes

Over recent months we have become increasingly impressed with the publishing programme of WF Howes and they have a good balance of award winners, fiction and non-fiction and classics.

We have just received the May titles and you can find out more details about these nineteen here:

Click on the author’s name hyperlink to see all the titles that we list by that author; click on the title to go straight to that particular book.
Crime and Thrillers

Greg Hurwitz, The Survivor

General Fiction

Alexander Maksik, You Deserve Nothing, a TV Book Club Best Reads of 2012
Kate Grenville, Sarah Thornhill

Kathy Lette, The Boy Who Fell To Earth

Christie Watson, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2011
Lauren Groff, Arcadia

Ismail Kadare, The Accident

Historical Fiction / Thriller

Lloyd Shepherd, The English Monster
Romantic Fiction

Paranormal Romance

Melissa Marr, Graveminder


Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Non Fiction

Julia Fox, Sister Queens – Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Houston – we have a problem, and it’s getting worse


The specialist large print publishers (eg Ulverscroft, WF Howes, AudioGo) buy rights from the mainstream publisher or the author’s literary agent to publish a large print edition for five years.

All the specialist large print publishers produce some really appealing titles and some real dross (which it would be invidious to mention by name).

The trouble is that the dross doesn’t sell well and hangs around for the full five years. But our problem is that the good titles, especially the really good titles, are going out of print not just in the first year of the five year license but in the first month.

One publisher which has a much more enlightened attitude is WF Howes. I was speaking to their Chief Executive Officer, Shaun Sibley, at the London Book Fair last month and he told me that their policy is to ensure that all titles in large print are kept available for the full five-year term. They do this by using very short print runs or single-copy print on demand technology after their initial print run is exhausted.

This is the perfect use of print on demand technology. The idea for arose as a result of a visit organised by the IPG (Independent Publishing Guild) to Lightning Source, the major print-on-demand printer, owned by the largest book wholesaler in the world, Ingram, in June 2004.

I should go back to see Lightning Source’s bigger and better facility in the UK, but what I saw in 2004 made a massive impression on me. Vast laser printers printing three titles of differing format and extent onto a seven mile roll of paper; turning the roll and passing it through a second printer so that the reverse pages could be printed; separating the three books into separate piles and creating book blocks ready to be bound with the full-colour cover which had been printed simultaneously on a separate machine. All happening at phenomenal speed, but the thing that amazed me the most was that 80% of all they were printing were single-copy orders. As I say, absolutely brilliant for large print books.

But consider the problem we are having with titles going out of print almost as soon as they are published (in some cases we do not even get one copy because all stock has been sold prior to publication date).

In December, a title I expected to become one of our big Christmas sellers, Victoria Hislop’s The Thread went out of print in the month of publication. (In this instance we will get a second chance as the paperback edition is coming in June).

Mark Logue’s The King’s Speech went out of print in both hardback and paperback in their respective months of publication.

Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse went out of print shortly before the Steven Spielberg film was launched.

There are many other titles that we could keep selling throughout the licensing period, such as Gervase Phinn’s Roads to the Dales; and the award winning Edward de Waal’s The Hare with the Amber Eyes, only published in large print last September but now out of print in hardback and paperback.

Such behaviour is bizarre in the current tough business climate. Actually, it would be bizarre at any time, but large print publishers are a breed apart.