What’s the best interior font for your CreateSpace book? Generally, there are two factors that you should consider: aesthetics and effect on page count. This week, I’m testing Libre Caslon, a free-for-commercial-use font that has a number of advantages.
The default font CreateSpace uses in their templates is Garamond, a fine font aesthetically. Here’s a closer look along with some stats for a standard book layout:
Garamond – The CreateSpace Default
Font Size: 11
Lines Per Page: 43
Words Per Page: 435
Line Spacing: Single
PDF Sample: WPPComparison_Garamond.pdf
If you feel like you’ve seen Garamond before, you have. It’s used everywhere in books and magazines. It’s a bit wide, meaning you get fewer words per line and, subsequently, fewer words per page than might be possible with a narrower font. It’s also a fairly plain font, easy on the eyes but boring.
Using the standard margins in the 6″ x 9″ CreateSpace template (here’s a refresher on why I always go with 6″ x 9″, if you need it), Garamond 11pt allows for 43 lines per page, which grants a book a pleasant word density for reading. The best alternative to Garamond will be just as readable while packing more words per line and/or more lines on an average page.
For the record, I’m using a repeated 10-paragraph “Lorum ipsum” filler text for these tests and taking an average over 10 pages. Your results will vary somewhat in terms of actual word count, but the proportional differences between the different fonts should be the same regardless of the content of your book, so long as it is dense prose.
This week, the proposed alternative font is Libre Caslon. Let’s dive right in.
It’s immediately apparent that Libre Caslon is a much bolder, thicker font that seems to alternate between copying Garamond and departing from it entirely for letter forms. Note the distinctive capital “A,” the more modern capital “W,” and the added flourish of the capital “Q.”
Moving to the lowercase, note the longer, curled tails on “j” and “y” and the increased height of all lowercase letters relative to their capital counterparts. The relative heights of capital vs. lowercase is more apparent in the PDF sample. You’ll notice that the page appears much fuller than the Garamond PDF sample with less apparent space between lines.
The most significant difference between Libre Caslon and Garamond is width. Each character of Libre Caslon is significantly skinnier (even though the lines that make up the characters are generally thicker), allowing more words per line. When you combine the additional words per line with the fact that you can drop to a 9 point size without losing readability because of the larger lowercase letters, Libre Caslon comes out way ahead of Garamond for words-per-page, averaging 73 additional words on a page, a 16.78% increase.
Verdict: Libre Caslon is a wonderful choice both for aesthetics and words-per-page. It has enough letter forms that are completely different from Garamond to make it really distinctive, and the increased height of all lowercase letters greatly increases readability, even when using a 9pt font size. The end result is a denser page than the default Garamond, which may turn some people off, but if you are focused on economy, you aren’t going to find a better words-per-page without readability.
Note: To get this exact look from the PDF samples for your page, you need to turn on the super secret “Do full justification the way WordPerfect 6.x for Windows does” option that I discussed in a previous post.
Thanks to FontSquirrel.com for their huge selection of fonts specifically selected because they are all free for commercial use. I’ll continue this series of posts in future weeks comparing additional freely available fonts to Garamond. Check back soon for more help with optimizing your CreateSpace book.