Clevedon bookshop owner to publish dyslexic-friendly books

By Alexandra Bassingham
Broadcast Journalist

Published
media captionBookshop owner publishes dyslexic-friendly books

The owner of an independent book shop is hoping to publish a series of dyslexic-friendly books for adults.

Alistair Sims runs Books on the Hill in Clevedon, Somerset and has identified publications by eight authors for the project including Rudyard Kipling and local writer Thana Niveau.

He said: "I'm dyslexic and my sister and many of my friends are too, so it really means something to me."

Mr Sims hopes through crowdfunding he can publish six to eight books.

The books will be published on cream paper, using Verdana font, with spacing that is easier for people with dyslexia to read.

Mr Sims said he was 13 when he read his first book from the Harry Potter series.

He said he was very familiar with it having listened to it on audiobooks and having been read it many times before by his mother.

'Snapped them up'

He said had books, like the ones he hoped to publish, been around in his late teens and 20s he "would have snapped them up".

“It's extremely important for the mental health and literacy of dyslexic adults who don’t have the facility to read," he said.

image copyrightAlistair Sims
image captionAlistair Sims was encouraged to follow his education to PHD level even after only reading his first book at 13

Author Ms Niveau said she thought the books were “a great idea”.

“I never knew anyone with dyslexia until I met Alistair and, to be honest, never realised there weren’t dyslexia-friendly books for adults," she said.

“If you’re blind, you can get audiobooks and Braille, but if you’re dyslexic, you’re left to struggle on your own."

She said that she hoped the project would raise awareness of the issue because “reading is one of the greatest pleasures in life”.

Mr Sims said he had been thinking about bringing dyslexic-friendly books to the market for the past five years.

He said although publisher Barrington Stoke had a range of books which targeted the younger reader, there were currently no dyslexia-friendly books specifically for adults.

“Publishers don’t think that adults who are dyslexic want to read," he said.

Mr Sims has now started his own publishing company, BOTH Press, and is collaborating with local author Chrissey Harrison on the project.

"We’re not really changing the contents, we're changing the formatting to make it easier to read.”

image copyrightKings
image captionAuthor Steven Savile is one of those whose work will be featured in the series

According to the British Dyslexia Association, (BDA), 10% of the population in the UK has dyslexia.

Helen Goodsall, BDA spokeswoman, said: "Because it’s such a diverse audience and attitudes to reading vary so much, it can be difficult, but for those who do want to read it will be a good opener.

“If we have more dyslexic-friendly books it will be great from an inclusive point of view and will open up reading to more people.”

The crowdfunding kickstarter "Open Dyslexia" started on Friday.

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