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OpenDyslexic

Julian M. Miles
May 19, 2019

Dyslexia affects more people than many realise. It’s not a binary thing, not a simple case of having it or not. It has a range of affects, most commonly found in a difficulty reading, and is not a learning issue. At this point, I’m going to leave the definitions to expert sources. There is a wealth of material
and research on this diverse topic, should you wish to know more.

Back in 2012, I’d published a couple of books and was troubled by my inability to produce something to help readers with dyslexia – having known several people with varying degrees of the disorder.

I believe that the format of a book should not prevent you reading it. While I’m not clever enough to provide my work in languages other than English, I thought I should be able to do something about my lack of dyslexia support.

After spending a while investigating dyslexia in relation to assisted reading, I came to the conclusion that specialised ‘dyslexia-friendly’ fonts were what I was looking for. However, the costs involved in producing a dedicated edition weren’t something I could afford, before considering the costs of some of the fonts themselves.

Then I come across Abelardo ‘Abbie’ Gonzalez and his pioneering work on a completely free-to-use, open source font project called OpenDyslexic. Of all the offerings out there, it struck me as the best, in content and project aims.

Two years later, I found that CreateSpace (Amazon’s pre-KDP merger paperback publishing arm) book quality had risen to a point where I was prepared to use them. With publication options available that involved no up-front costs on my part, it seemed a superb opportunity. When they finally started accepting print-ready PDF versions of books for publication, producing OpenDyslexic font editions of my books was only a matter of the time it took me to prepare them (as I handle all design work and cover preparation myself). Getting an acceptable format took several months, but in December 2015 I released OpenDyslexic font editions of all my Amazon paperbacks at that time.

Since then, I’ve released every Amazon paperback I publish in two editions, standard font and OpenDyslexic font.

OpenDyslexic is free to use, for personal or commercial use. It’s a supported font on Kindle and while it can never work for every person with dyslexia, it is surprising how many people can benefit.

I’ve had people in tears after reading something printed in it, because the words or letters don’t ‘move about’ to their view.

I urge every author and publisher to support OpenDyslexic versions of their work. To that end, I will have OpenDyslexic editions of a couple of my books at WynterCon so people can have a look, and am happy to discuss how to get your book formatted for publishing in one of the OpenDyslexic fonts.

To find out more, please visit opendyslexic.org https://opendyslexic.org/about For my OpenDyslexic editions, available worldwide from Amazon, please visit http://www.lothp.co.uk/16.html‍

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