If you can read this ...

August 15, 2005

FINALLY, SOME good news for aging baby boomers. No, Congress hasn't sorted out the Social Security mess or figured out a way to lower prescription drug prices. But a handful of book publishers have begun printing larger-type editions of works by some of their best-known authors.

The New York Times reports that the Penguin group, Simon & Schuster and Harlequin Enterprises are marketing the new versions in hopes of stemming the decline in the sale of mass-market paperbacks. Those are the small-format, generally nonliterary fiction paperbacks that account for most of the books sold today.

So don't run right out in hopes of finding your favorite translation of Beowulf in big type - and even if that potboiler you've been wanting is available in the new format, be prepared to pony up an extra couple of bucks for the privilege of reading it without donning those drugstore eyeglasses.

Nonetheless, we heartily endorse the idea, and hope more titles - and more literary and serious nonfiction ones - will soon be available for the post-50 crowd.

But we're not knocking the fluff. Harlequin, the publisher perhaps best known for its soft-core prose and occasionally steamy cover art, has a new line of romance novels aimed at the, ahem, older woman. That's a fine idea - especially now that she doesn't have to put on granny glasses to read them.

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