Do modern-day publishers no-longer obtain a physical proof of their typeset works before going to market? As an occasional typesetter myself, I find myself perpetually frustrated by the impossibly tiny print in which so many contemporary books seem to be set.
Penguin seems to be particularly bad in this regard. Having just received Sathnam Sanghera’s Empireland, I was keen to sit down with it to read for the evening, but instead found it a battle, for the bodytext seems to have been set in 10pt Bembo. In an hour-long sitting, I managed just two chapters, before giving up, my eyes far too fatigued to continue.
Presumably cost-savings are at play in the production of these mass-market volumes. Perhaps the feeling is that those who are truly interested in reading the work will just end up buying a second copy for Kindle, which they can resize at will. But for the lover of physical books: truly a wasted opportunity. Just a slab of paper, no more engaging than a telephone directory. Good writers deserve better than this.