From The Book Designer:
If you’ve never formatted a book before, you might not know exactly how much work goes into it. It might seem easy and uniform—it just needs to look like a book, right?—but you’d be surprised just how many decisions you’ll need to make if you’re formatting on your own. Among the most important of these will be the font you choose for your book.
Think of it like this: picking a bad font for your book is much like picking a bad cover. Even if you’ve got the best content in the world, a reader is much less likely to buy or read it if it looks cheaply or badly made.
Let’s talk a little about fonts, why they matter, and how to pick the perfect one for your project.
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What is the easiest font to read in a book?
So, before we talk about exactly which fonts to use, let’s go over some terminology. The first choice you’ll need to make is serif v. sans serif. What does that mean?
Serif fonts are those fonts with little ridges on them. Think Times New Roman or Georgia—the little feet and embellishments on certain letters make the words flow together in a way that isn’t confusing. It keeps the eye moving, basically.
A sans-serif font does exactly the opposite. These fonts don’t have these details on them, making the letters smooth and unconnected. Think Arial or Calibri. The space between letters makes each letter clearer, which can enhance readability.
Generally, books are written in serif fonts because of how they lead the reader’s eye. Because the space between letters helps readability, sans serif fonts are generally reserved for large text editions of books.
While there’s no solid consensus on exactly which font is the best for your book, a few popular choices are: Georgia, Tisa, Merriweather, and Rooney.
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You don’t want to stick out
When you’re picking a font for a book, you don’t want something that the reader is going to notice. You don’t want it to stick out as a strange choice—in something like a logo, you might want a memorable, notable font, but in a book, you want it to blend in.
Sometimes, on the copyright page of a book, the font will be listed with the other publication info. Check for this the next time you’re reading a physical book and see if you notice any patterns. Do fantasy books tend to stick to a certain font family? Do nonfiction books? Keep that info in mind when you go to pick out a font for yourself, so you’re picking something that will blend in without the reader even realizing it.
You want to stay on-theme
Picking a neutral font, or a font you’ve seen before, shouldn’t be a choice you make at random. While you don’t want your choice to be overt to the reader, you also want it to be intentional.
We rarely think of words and letters as ‘images,’ but they are! And the way you choose to present your words will impact the way a reader thinks about the text, even if only in a very subtle way. You know how some people get flashbacks to college papers when they see Times New Roman? We want to avoid that.
Link to the rest at The Book Designer