What Font Should You Use For Your Book?

One of the most common questions asked by would-be self-publishers who are intent on designing and typesetting their book themselves is, “What font should I use?”

I’m always relieved when somebody asks the question. At least, it means they’re not just blindly going to use the ubiquitous default fonts found in most word processing programs.

However, there is almost no way to answer the question. It’s like asking, “What’s the best car model for commuting to work everyday?”

You’ll get a different answer from almost everyone you ask. And they might all be correct.

I am willing to offer one hard-and-fast rule, however: don’t use Times New Roman or Times Roman. That will brand your book as the work of an amateur at first glance. And there are other, very practical, reasons for not using it. Times Roman and Times New Roman were designed for the narrow columns of newspapers, originally for the London Times back in the 1930s. Today, almost no newspapers still use it. How, or why, it became a word processing standard, I have no idea. The font tends to set very tight, making the text block on the page dense and dark.

Here are two caveats before proceeding to few recommendations:

  1. The typeface you choose may depend on how your book will be printed. If you look closely at most serif fonts (like Times), you will notice that there are thick and thin portions of each letter. If your book will be printed digitally, you should steer away from fonts with segments that are very thin. They tend to become too faint and affect readability.
  2. Don’t get carried away with the thousands of font choices available. Most are specialty fonts suitable for titles, headlines, advertising, emotional impact, etc. And never use more than a very few fonts in a single book — we usually choose one serif font for the main text body, a sans serif for chapter titles and headings within the chapters. Depending on the book, we may select a third font for captions on photos, graphics, tables, etc. (or maybe just a different size, weight, or style of one of the other two). We may select a specialty font for use on the front cover for the title and subtitle.

For 90% of books, any of the following fonts are excellent choices:

  • Palatino Linotype
  • Book Antiqua (tends to set tight, so you may have to loosen it up a bit)
  • Georgia
  • Goudy Old Style
  • Adobe Garamond Pro (tends to have a short x-height, so it might seem too small in typical sizes)
  • Bookman (the name sort of gives it away, doesn’t it?)
  • Century Schoolbook (tends to be a bit wide, creating extra pages)

You need to look at several paragraphs of each font to see what, if any, adjustments you may find necessary in things like character spacing and kerning. You want to avoid little confusions, like:

  • “vv” (double v) that looks like the letter “w”
  • “cl” (c l) that looks like the letter “d”

Such things can make the reading experience annoying.

If you ask other designers, you will likely get other suggestions, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least some of the above included in their recommendations.

You may run across some books with more unusual font choices, but there are often good reasons for it. Maybe the book is a humor book for which the designer chose a lighthearted font, for example. Such decisions should be made with care and thoughtful consideration for the effects on readability.

Never decide on your font or font size based only on viewing how it looks on your monitor. Most trade paperback books are printed in 10 or 11 point size, but some fonts require larger – or even smaller – sizes. If 12 points looks too big and 11 too small, you can try 11.5 – no need to stick with integer sizes. You might be surprised how much difference a half-point (or even a quarter-point) can make on the overall “feel” of the page.

You also have to decide on appropriate leading (pronounced like the metal), which is the distance from the baseline of one line of text to the baseline for the next line, measured in points. The result is usually expressed as a ratio of the font size in points to the selected leading in points. So, you might say you have set the body text in Georgia 11/14 or Bookman 10/12.5 (11-point size with 14 points leading and 10-point size with 12.5 points leading, respectively).

Word processing programs tend to work in decimal inches, forcing you to convert leading from points into inches. A standard point is equal to 0.0138 inches. Professional typesetting/layout programs (like Adobe InDesign) allow you to use points and picas to define all type measurements and settings. although you can also specify those settings in various other units (including inches).

Typically, book designers will develop more than one design for each book’s interior, using different fonts, sizes, and leadings. They should typeset a few pages of the actual manuscript and print them out with the same page settings they plan to use in the final book (e.g., 6″ x 9″ pages). This allows the client to compare them side-by-side and evaluate them for readability and overall look.

And don’t forget your target audience. Very young readers and very old readers do better with larger type. Books that are very textually dense with long paragraphs frequently need more leading and a wider font.

Ultimately, you have to choose based on what your gut reaction is to the typeset samples. It never hurts to ask other people to read it and tell you if one option is easier to read than another.

If you want to gain an appreciation for typography and how to make appropriate design decisions, I recommend the following excellent books:

The Complete Manual of Typography by James Felici

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

Book Design and Production by Pete Masterson

For those who insist on using Microsoft Word to typeset books, you really should buy and study Perfect Pages by Aaron Shepard. He is the reigning guru of how to do it.

It is far better to buy professional layout software and then learn all you can about typography and how to apply those principles to book design…or to hire a professional to do for you. The latter course will leave you more time to develop a dynamic marketing plan for your latest book and start writing your next one!

How To Read A Credit Card Merchant Statement – 5 Ways To Categorize Fees

Reading your merchant statement and finding the rates and fees you’re being charged can be like playing “Where’s Waldo?”. One reason is because there are nearly as many different statement formats as there are merchant acquiring companies. Also, because of how competitive the industry has become, many monthly statements don’t completely disclose the rates being charged. And sometimes they are completely hidden.

I know of banks that don’t even send a statement out. If a merchant wants details of what they paid they have to logon to an online account to find it.

It’s War Out There!

One reason for this is the competitiveness. You have to remember that credit and debit cards make up part of a 2 trillion dollar industry. Money is like a magnet – it attracts Most merchants are being contacted continually by competing processors trying to get them to switch processors, by promising “lower rates”, etc.

So, to prevent a sales agent from another processing company from taking a merchant away – some processors make it as hard as possible for a competitor’s sales rep to walk in to a business, analyze a merchant statement, and do an ‘apples for apples’ comparison.

That being said, there are still some basic keys to look for when reading your statement. Here’s what I look for in analyzing a merchant statement, in order:

  • One: The pricing structure – how has the account been set up? Which pricing model does it employ? Is it using tiers (e.g. 3-tier; 4-tier, etc.) or – is it using “Interchange Plus”? (NOTE: most merchants are on a tier pricing model, which, in my opinion guarantees they’re being overcharged. Also, there are other pricing structures but tier pricing is by far the most common)
  • Two: The monthly fees (sometimes called “Other”) – next, I look to see what the monthly fees are. This can include: a statement fee; monthly service fee; account maintenance fee (normally, you’d only see one of these although I’ve seen two – or, you may see the equivalent fee but using a different term); PCI fee; batch fee; and gateway or access fees. Any miscellaneous, but not monthly fees can also show up here – e.g., an annual fee or semi-quarterly.
  • Three: Processing Fees – this is where the discount rates will be listed. If you are on tier pricing the best statements will print an itemized list showing the “qualified”, “mid-qualified”, and “non-qualified” (the 3 tiers) rate. If you are on Interchange Plus, you’ll see a list showing all the different cards you took, followed by the actual interchange rate for the card, the “dpi” (discount per item), plus the processors mark-up expressed as basis points and a transaction fee (or per item, depending on the term used to list it).
  • Four: Authorization Fees – here’s where you’ll find fees that go to VISA and MC. They’ll show up listed as access, authorization, and /or WATTS fees. You could also find here AVS fees (address verification); assessment fees; brand usage fee; risk fee; settlement fees, IAS fee (Issuer Access & Settlement).
  • Five: Third Party Fees – 3rd parties means networks other than VISA & MC that are included in your statement. This would include American Express, Discover, and the debit networks if you are using pin debit

Part of the problem in reading a merchant statement is different processors use different category names and different terms to identify charges. That’s why I began by saying it can be like playing “Where’s Waldo?” While there are common terms used for certain fees there is also a wide variation used, depending on the acquirer (the company you signed a merchant agreement with).

Again, part of this is due to an attempt to hide what’s being charged and make it difficult for a competitor to analyze a statement. While that’s ‘somewhat’ understandable – in my opinion it’s a disservice to the merchant. Integrity demands transparency. Maybe if processors were more merchant oriented they’d have a lower turnover and would not have to worry about competition so much. At least that’s my opinion.

The Meaning Of Quality In Health Care

The process of receiving health care services at the correct time in the appropriate way and to get the best possible outcome is defined as quality health care.

Six attributes of health care quality

• Safety – Care should not harm any patient.

• Patient centered – Individual needs should be taken care of when providing care.

• Timely – Care should be provided exactly on time.

• Effective – Care must be based on evidence.

• Efficient – Wastage of time should be reduced.

• Equitable – Equal care should be provided to every patient.

What is quality health care?

The meaning of quality health care is not the same for all people. According to some patients, quality care is to consult a doctor, to get proper treatment from the staffs of a hospital and to have a physician who can spend much time with the patient. But all these things are secondary. Clinical quality of care is the most important thing because more lives can be saved by providing evidence-based and high quality care.

Does quality equal safety?

Yes, quality equals safety. The quality of care is to be improved by the health care providers because it can save more lives of the patients.

How is health care quality measured?

Outcome indicators and process indicators are the two ways of measuring quality of care. Timelines and baseline practices are measured by process indicators. Complication rates, mortality rates and infection rates are measured by outcome indicators.

These indicators can be looked at by the consumer to compare the hospitals. National accreditations, recognitions and state of the hospital should also be looked at by you to measure quality.

What are quality measures and quality indicators?

The process of converting the medical information of a patient into percentage or rate to analyze the quality of care provided by the hospitals to their patients is called a quality measure. You will be given information by quality measures about how the patients are provided care by the hospital. This quality information can be used by you to compare the quality care of different hospitals.

What role do nurses and doctors play?

A very important role is played by the doctors and nurses. Quality care should be provided by all the nurses and physicians, clinically and satisfactorily. All the staffs in a hospital such as the receptionist, scrub nurse, hospital administrator, physician and the X-ray technician are responsible in providing quality care to all the patients.

Remember all these features when you will go to get quality health care from any hospital.

Electronic World – How We Use Electronics in Daily Life

Using electronics today is so much a part of our daily lives we hardly think of the way the world would be without electronics. Everything from cooking to music uses electronics or electronic components in some way. Our family car has many electronic components, as does our cooking stove, laptop and cell phone. Children and teenagers carry mobile phones with them everywhere and use them to take and send pictures, videos, and to play music. They send text messages on the cell phone to other phones and to their home computers.

Wireless internet is becoming more common all the time, with laptops set up in cyber cafes where people can drink coffee and check their email all at the same time. The computer user can do all the web searching in relative privacy thanks to the electronic accessories which can be added to the computer. Conversely, more and more transactions are being sent electronically across the airwaves so security is becoming a larger issue than ever before. Merchants who sell products online must be able to assure their customers that information submitted at a website is not being accessed by unauthorized personnel.

Music is a prime user of electronics, both in recording and in playback mode. Stereos, record players, tape decks, cassette players, CD drives and DVD players are all the result of advances in electronics technology in the last few decades. Today people can carry a playlist of hundreds of songs around with them easily in a very small device–easily portable. When you add Bluetooth or headphones the music can be heard by the user, but does not disturb those nearby.

Electronics technology in cameras has increased dramatically. A digital camera is available to most Americans at a price they can afford and cellphones often includes a fairly sophisticated digital camera that can capture still pictures or even video pictures and store them or transfer them to a computer where they can be saved, shared digitally with family or friends or printed out in hard form with a photo printer device. Pictures obtained through a camera or by means of a scanner can be edited, cropped, enhanced or enlarged easily through the marvel of electronics.

Literally thousands of everyday devices that we use constantly make use of electronics technology in order to operate. These are products ranging from automotive engines to automated equipment in production settings. Even artistic efforts benefit from computer modeling prior to the committing of valuable artistic media to create the finished product.

Electronics devices are being used in the health field, not only to assist in diagnosis and determination of medical problems, but to assist in the research that is providing treatment and cures for illnesses and even genetic anomalies. Equipment such as MRI, CAT and the older X-rays, tests for diabetes, cholesterol and other blood component tests all rely on electronics in order to do their work quickly and accurately. Pacemakers and similar equipment implanted in the body is now almost routine.