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> I read a lot of novels and am comfortable reading small
But when you read a novel you're usually in an optimal reading environment,
holding the book in both hands in front of your face, well lit, etc.
> I was just wondering why we persist in using 11pt, 12pt or larger,
Fatter book = more sales. Go into the computer section of your local
bookstore, look at the tomes trying to muscle each other off the shelves,
their fluorescent titles screaming for attention....
Just kidding. Publishers are not that crass. They use bigger type to make
the book more readable from a distance. We often use 'puter manuals with
the book open on the desk & both hands on the keyb. Not optimal.
Having said that, if the designers' intention is to make it easier to read
in this situation, then they should also use two columns per page. I find
that unless a book is spiral-bound & opens flat, the pages get arched, and
then it is very hard to follow the lines across the whole width of a page.