Printing Companies
  1. About Printing Industry
  2. Printing Services
  3. Print Buyers
  4. Printing Resources
  5. Classified Ads
  6. Printing Glossary
  7. Printing Newsletters
  8. Contact Print Industry
Who We Are

Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

Need a Printing Quote from multiple printers? click here.

Are you a Printing Company interested in joining our service? click here.

The Printing Industry Exchange (PIE) staff are experienced individuals within the printing industry that are dedicated to helping and maintaining a high standard of ethics in this business. We are a privately owned company with principals in the business having a combined total of 103 years experience in the printing industry.

PIE's staff is here to help the print buyer find competitive pricing and the right printer to do their job, and also to help the printing companies increase their revenues by providing numerous leads they can quote on and potentially get new business.

This is a free service to the print buyer. All you do is find the appropriate bid request form, fill it out, and it is emailed out to the printing companies who do that type of printing work. The printers best qualified to do your job, will email you pricing and if you decide to print your job through one of these print vendors, you contact them directly.

We have kept the PIE system simple -- we get a monthly fee from the commercial printers who belong to our service. Once the bid request is submitted, all interactions are between the print buyers and the printers.

We are here to help, you can contact us by email at

Blog Articles for

Archive for January, 2012

Book Printing: How to Make Illegible Type Legible

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

A client of mine just produced a “galley” of her book, 100 digitally-printed reader’s copies for her reviewers to critique before the final offset custom printing run. She loves it, but her husband thinks the type is too small.

The timing is actually perfect. Think of the “galley” as a digital, on-demand book proof that many people—not just one client—will review. If the type is too small, now is the time to fix it.

What Is My Client’s Husband Really Saying about the Type?

Basically he’s saying that it’s hard to read. When he points to a print book that he likes—a book that he wrote–I take note. He likes the body copy type. It’s easier to read. While the target audience for his wife’s book will range from age 20 to 80 and above, those in their 40s and older will have a harder time reading the body copy in her book than in his. And people who have difficulty reading something will not enjoy the experience and will eventually stop.

What Goes into Making Text Copy Readable in a Print Book?

Type has a number of characteristics. Among these are:

  1. Type size (height of the type)
  2. Leading (the space between lines of type)
  3. Measure (column width)
  4. Weight (lightness or darkness of a block of type on the page)
  5. “x” height (the height of a lower-case “x” in a typeface). This will correspond to any other character that has no ascenders or descenders: i.e., portions of type that extend upward from the top of the x-height or downward from the baseline (“l” vs. “g” or “j,” for instance).
  6. Style (light, bold, roman, italic)
  7. Serif, sans serif, slab serif, display, script, etc.

All of these attributes work together to improve or diminish legibility, which is the first requirement of type. It has to be easily readable, particularly in a book.

How Do You Fix Type That’s Hard to Read?

My client’s husband had a point. The type was too small. It was just under the threshold of comfortable reading. But the problem didn’t stop there. Here are some things I noticed:

  1. Compared to the type in her husband’s print book, my client’s type had a low x-height. It was a serif face (the ones with short strokes–like tails—at the ends of the letterforms). This is good, since serif fonts are easier to read in large blocks of copy than sans serif faces (the ones without the little strokes).
  2. It was a complex typeface, more suited to display type (large point sizes within short blocks of copy like headlines and callouts or large pull quotes) than to text copy. The letterforms were ornate and had dramatic contrast between the thick and thin strokes of the letterforms. It was actually classified as a “Modern” typeface because of these qualities. I suggested a typeface with a larger x-height. The designer had provided a sample page set in Century Schoolbook, which has a large x-height, pronounced serifs, and less contrast between the thick and thin portions of the letterforms. All of these qualities improve legibility in a print book. I also suggested increasing the size of the type by one point.
  3. We considered adding leading to the type (more space between lines). This is a good way to improve legibility.
  4. We discussed the fact that increasing the point size and the leading would make the book longer. Obviously this would add to the cost of the project, since more book pages would consume more paper and ink. There would also be more signatures and therefore more time on press at the commercial printer’s shop. It would be an expensive proposition.
  5. As an alternative I suggested “Old Style” typefaces, such as Garamond, which would have less contrast between thick and thin portions of the type than Modern typefaces but would take up less room than Century Schoolbook. Garamond is an Old Style serif face. It would be more readable than a sans serif typeface. In addition, Garamond even comes in a condensed face (narrower letterforms). Garamond Condensed is highly legible but takes up less space than many other typefaces, yielding more characters per inch and hence a shorter book.

I suggested producing laser printed samples of a page in a number of different typefaces to check readability. In the final analysis, the subjective experience of reading trumps any technical characteristics a typeface may have. (Is it readable? Always check with a number of people if you’re designing a print book.)

In addition, I suggested that my client’s designer produce a complete chapter and compare the length of that chapter in the new typeface to the length of the chapter in the old typeface that had been hard to read. This would give a rough idea of the extent to which the new typeface would increase the length of the book.

Laser Printing Doesn’t Always Match the Look of Ink On Paper

Ink printed on paper, particularly the absorbent uncoated stock often used for books, does not always match the printed output from a laser proofing device. Actual ink often spreads a bit (dot gain) as it flows into the paper fibers. In contrast, laser toner sits up on the surface more, since it is a powder and not a liquid. Therefore, it would be wise to show your commercial printer samples of the type and ask his opinion of how the final output will look when actually printed in ink.


Recent Posts


Read and subscribe to our newsletter!

Printing Services include all print categories listed below & more!
4-color Catalogs
Affordable Brochures: Pricing
Affordable Flyers
Book Binding Types and Printing Services
Book Print Services
Booklet, Catalog, Window Envelopes
Brochures: Promotional, Marketing
Bumper Stickers
Business Cards
Business Stationery and Envelopes
Catalog Printers
Cheap Brochures
Color, B&W Catalogs
Color Brochure Printers
Color Postcards
Commercial Book Printers
Commercial Catalog Printing
Custom Decals
Custom Labels
Custom Posters Printers
Custom Stickers, Product Labels
Custom T-shirt Prices
Decals, Labels, Stickers: Vinyl, Clear
Digital, On-Demand Books Prices
Digital Poster, Large Format Prints
Discount Brochures, Flyers Vendors
Envelope Printers, Manufacturers
Label, Sticker, Decal Companies
Letterhead, Stationary, Stationery
Magazine Publication Quotes
Monthly Newsletter Pricing
Newsletter, Flyer Printers
Newspaper Printing, Tabloid Printers
Online Book Price Quotes
Paperback Book Printers
Postcard Printers
Post Card Mailing Service
Postcards, Rackcards
Postcard Printers & Mailing Services
Post Card Direct Mail Service
Poster, Large Format Projects
Posters (Maps, Events, Conferences)
Print Custom TShirts
Screen Print Cards, Shirts
Shortrun Book Printers
Tabloid, Newsprint, Newspapers
T-shirts: Custom Printed Shirts
Tshirt Screen Printers
Printing Industry Exchange, LLC, P.O. Box 394, Bluffton, SC 29910
©2019 Printing Industry Exchange, LLC - All rights reserved