October 18, 2023 in 

“Right reading” refers to the written material facing the proper direction for reading to happen, usually left towards right. This term became popular with the advent of print and book-making techniques standardizing publishing practices.

“Right reading” dates back to the 15th century when movable printing emerged. The publishers did not take long to realize that text needed to be consistently organized and readable for comprehension and ease of reading. As a result, they implemented a standard convention of aligning text blocks to the left margin with smooth transitions from line to line, thus enabling readers to understand the text easily.

As the printing presses changed from manual to mechanized typesetting, “right reading” became more critical. The first typesetting machines were invented by the mid-19th century with specific rules written to read from left to right for Western readers, who predominantly read from left. Even for languages such as Arabic or Hebrew that are required to read from left to right, book publishers used to mirror these texts for international readership to follow the concept of “right reading.”

Besides the organization of text blocks into paragraphs, “right reading” also implies aligning the illustrations, photographs, and other visual elements included with the text to complement rather than impede the flow of the reading. Publishers try to convey these aspects not to distract readers but to make reading more exciting.

“Right Reading” is one of the basic principles that guarantee that text and visual elements are combined to make reading easy and natural. It is the core of book production, enabling readers to follow a writing’s contents without being diverted or disturbed.

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