Bookstore fundraiser to boost dyslexia-friendly books

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Published:
06:00 17 June 2022



An independent bookstore in North Somerset has called out major book publishers for not doing enough to support dyslexic readers.

Books on the Hill in Clevedon set up the BOTH Press publishing house to fund and produce larger font books for dyslexic readers.

The social enterprise was launched in direct response to the lack of dyslexic-friendly adult fiction in UK bookshops.

The UK government reports that 10% of the UK population struggles with dyslexia. It’s estimated that up to one in 10 people in the UK have some degree of dyslexia – one in six adults have the reading level of an 11-year-old.

Worldwide, between 5 and 10% of the population suffer from dyslexia. 85% of parents say their children feel self-conscious about their dyslexia.

BOTH Press ran its first Kickstarter campaign in 2021, successfully raising £6,300 and releasing eight dyslexic-friendly fiction titles, including Rudyard Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King.

The team launched their second Kickstarter, ‘Open Dyslexia: the sequel’, on June 7, which runs until July 4 with the aim of raising £16,000.

It aims to publish eight more high-quality fiction titles from best-selling authors such as Bernard Cornwell, Peter James and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Dr Alistair Sims, Founder and Director of Books on the Hill and BOTH Press, said: “Many people who have told us their stories don’t want to be mentioned for fear of the stigma of their struggle to read.

“For years we have heard from clients of parents who love stories and would love to read, but who have endured a lifetime of being called stupid.

“It’s great that so many children’s books are now available in dyslexic-friendly formats. But that’s a recent development, and there are hundreds of thousands of adults who have never had the opportunity to read for leisure with all the advantages that this brings.

“This Kickstarter isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. UK book publishers have had decades to get it right.

“It’s absurd to think that dyslexics don’t want to read. That there is no serious offer for the 10% of the population who have difficulty reading perpetuates the myth.”

Dyslexia-friendly titles have larger Verdana fonts, which are easier to read, and thicker paper so ink doesn’t bleed through.

The book’s pages are cream-colored rather than white, providing greater contrast for dyslexic readers to more easily distinguish text, and there are larger gaps between sentences and paragraphs.

BOTH Press will need over £20,000 a year to continue publishing dyslexia-friendly titles on a regular basis. All funds go towards book production and lifecycle to make them readily available.

And Dr Sims, who makes no profit from the project, said he hopes the fundraising success will encourage UK ‘Big Five’ publishers to reconsider the commercial viability of dyslexia-friendly titles for a massive market. untapped adult readers with dyslexia.

BOTH Press has received many heartwarming responses about how the books have impacted the lives of adult readers with easier, more understandable, and more enjoyable leisure reading.

“More than anything, we want to give people choice, but we want to usher in business and attitudinal change in the way people understand and approach dyslexia,” he added.

“We’re asking people to support this Kickstarter, but we’re also calling out the ‘Big Five’ publishers for overlooking the enormous potential and reading appetites of adults with dyslexia.”

To learn more about the Kickstarter campaign, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/both-opendyslexia/open-dyslexia-the-sequel

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