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  • Writer's pictureAnton Grishin

Fonts in EPUB

A few theses on what would be worth devoting a separate detailed article, but where to take so much time.

1. In general, fonts are not obligatory in an ebook: all readers have their own set of fonts, and all users have their own preferences and often choose fonts to their own taste regardless of what the e-reader intended.

2. Fonts are added to EPUB quite simply via @font-face and pointing to the font file hooked to the book.

3. No, you can't mindlessly use fonts from an InDesign layout in an ebook. You should always check what licenses your publisher has. Big font studios offer a separate license for fonts embedded in EPUB — for example, in Russia ParaType has such a license called "Electronic Publishing".

4. You can use any typeface available in the font, your options are not limited to Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic. At the same time, you should not forget about the appropriate HTML tags, so that outdated readers can display at least some italic or bold lettering.

5. Free fonts exist, and there are many good ones among them. It's worth remembering that free fonts are not something you could download from dubious sites, but what the studios themselves write about on their websites, disclosing the rules of their free licenses. The de facto standard of free fonts in Russian EPUBs is PT Public Pack from the same studio ParaType, but we should not forget about free licenses of other studios and Google Fonts. Type.Today made the review of the quality of Cyrillic versions of Google fonts of all types (here's a link to the latest article, but I highly recommend studying the previous 6 series as well).

Before you buy e-publishing licenses for all the necessary typefaces, or dig through the entire Google Fonts catalog in search of the perfect fonts, and then design EPUB styles of stunning beauty, consider this. Many readers (both in book services, standalone apps, and e-ink devices) don't support custom fonts for various reasons. That is, the fonts in your book could be completely any font you want. That's why you shouldn't throw all your efforts only on fonts, it's better to work on adapting your layout for all kinds of readers. Everything flows and everything changes in EPUB, and that's why we love it.


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