This week, let's talk about the type of font to use for your e-book. According to Shlomo Perets' article, Fonts Can Make or Break PDFs, "intelligent use determines display and/or printing success." I totally agree. Some fonts are way better than others for electronic documents, especially for those of us who have eye problems, wear corrective lenses or spend a great deal of time on the computer.
Often if I like the layout and fonts in an e-book, I'll check the Document Properties to see what the author used. To do this with Adobe Reader 7.0, I click on File, then Document Properties, and then click on the Fonts tab to get the list. That's how I know that Times New Roman fonts were exclusively used for Sasha White's novel, Abduction, which has a nice cohesive look to it and is quite easy on the eyes.
How much difference does the font style make? Since PBW is also an electronic document of sorts, let's have a look at a couple right here*.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs.
Comic Sans MS:
The lazy dogs went after the quick brown fox.
Copperplate Gothic Bold:
The quick brown fox's fine bod attracted the attention of an alien.
(All Sasha White's fault, naturally.)
The interested alien abducted the quick brown fox.
The dogs were now lazy, pissed, and out one fox.
Lucida Sans Unicode:
But there you have it. Aliens 1, Dogs 0.
MS Reference Sans Serif:
Thus the quick brown fox became gorgeous mammal specimen #989, destined to be auctioned off as a pleasure slave on a fem-dominated world.
Times New Roman:
Now you'll never be able to type the quick brown fox sentence without thinking of erotic alien abduction.
I've been mostly using Arial, Eurostile or Courier with my stuff, but I'm also experimenting with this e-book, so I'm going to try some new fonts. Would be nice to get a bit of an antique look to my text. A font like Copperplate Gothic Bold or Enviro, however, can be hard on a reader's eyes, so lately I've limited using fonts like them strictly as accent fonts (good for short things like titles, bylines, chapter headers, URL linkage, etc.)
What's your favorite e-book font? Least favorite?
*Note: If you'd like to learn the html code to mess with the fonts on your weblog or web site, take the online tutorial here.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
E-Book Challenge Update
Posted by the author at 12:00 AM
Labels: e-book challenge
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As journalist, I was taught that serif fonts were the best for reading as the little bits on the letters break up the look of the sentence. San serifs were used for titles and headings because the words were brief (newspapers excluded).ReplyDelete
I think for e-books a serif font like New Times Roman or Courier are the best; especially for people who read a lot. The title can be anything creative as long the reader can see what it says.
I think I'll have to play around a bit more with mine...
I'm partial to Garamond as a traditional serifed face, and Myriad for modern san serif and headlines. Both are lovely faces, highly readable, and come in a wide variety of weights, styles, and treatments.ReplyDelete
Isn't there a problem with using most fonts, though, for internet viewing? As an example, few people will have LaFigura on their computer (it's the cover font used on Ghosts and Threads). So if I specified LaFigura, say for headlines, how would the reader's computer know what to do? Wouldn't the computer automatically replace it with something it does have - say Times or Arial? Like in your examples, I don't see Copperplate, Enviro, Lucida, or MS Reference. They all look like Times to me. (I do however see Arial, Comic Sans, Courier, and Eurostile just fine)
Sorry to be a pain, but is there a solution to this? So that Copperplate actually looks like Copperplate? Or are we stuck making graphic elements and pasting them in? How can we know what fonts are standard issue, across platforms, operting systems, and national or continental boundaries?
Looks a lot like TNR, but has a wider spacing, easier on the eyes.
Courier new. I know editors supposedly love it, but I hate the 'blockiness' of it.
Personal preference, I guess.
Sans serif fonts tend to be easier to read on a screen, hence the overuse of Arial. I quite like Trebuchet and use it for all my blog posts, but when I print up a manuscript it's always in Times New Roman - serif fonts are always easier on paper.ReplyDelete
Tambo, I think you can embed your font files in the pdf, although this will increase the size of the file considerably. I'm not sure how you do it, mind. Adobe's monster is a bit of a mystery to me, despite having used it for years.
I've been looking for studies that address the issue of online typefaces and readability. I've seen them for print (proportionally spaced, serif fonts are easier) but not for screen. There are also studies that determine the maximum line length for readability, which I notice lots of blogs ignore. The human eye doesn't want to travel too far across a page.ReplyDelete
I also suspect sans serif are easier onscreen, but I have seen no supporting evidence.
What Tambo said. If the machine viewing an html or php document, etc., doesn't have the fonts used installed, the page will default usually to TNR or some such. I do believe, tho, that a pdf file is different, and the chosen fonts will be seen by all viewers. Someone can correct that part if I'm wrong. I know from my web design business that any special fonts you want to be seen have to be made into a graphic.ReplyDelete
In my previous job, we created PDF documents, and we were always told that Times New Roman was the best font to use. It looked clean, it was readable no matter how you zoomed in or out, and it worked best with the ADA requirements we had to meet (for automatic readers and such). It's become a habit for me to use TNR.ReplyDelete
That, and I guess I'm just traditional. *-* I'm used to Sans fonts in my books and such, so I expect to see it all the time. It just doesn't occur to me to try a different font (unless we're discussing the cover - that's completely different).
I use Book Antiqua for my free ebooks, because it's the font used in the Samhain template and it makes nice, clear readable text. The cover font could be anything, though, depending on what looks good! The designy husband is very into fonts and has a million of 'em.ReplyDelete
My favorite font is Arial. I don't like Times Roman at all, and most of the other fonts are too unclear to be of much use. I set Arial as my default font on every program and application which has an option to modify fonts, such a word processors and browsers. Other fonts can be cool, in the right places however, such as titles and such, but should be used sparingly. Anyway, that's my opinion for what it's worth.ReplyDelete
For readable fonts, I prefer Book Antiqua, easy to read and a little easier on the eye than TNR, IMO. For funky fonts, I like the Evil of Frankenstein. If you don't think your title font will be read by the reader, you might try converting it to wordart. Not only will the reader read it as a graphic, but you can manipulate the text in some really cool ways: stretch it, slant it, and even curve it in some instances.ReplyDelete
As a graphic designer, I concur with most of what's been stated above: Serif fonts are easier to read in large amounts of print, sans serif are better for signage and small amounts of text. But I believe the opposite is true for on-screen reading (but I'm too lazy to search for supporting documentation). I remember reading somewhere (probably in some Microsoft propaganda) that fonts like Trebuchet, Tahoma and Verdana were designed specifically for ease of on-screen reading and my personal experience bears this out. I vastly prefer Microsoft Reader on my PDA. One reason is it displays most text in Tahoma with Cleartext smoothing.I find this much easier on the eyes than TNR or most other fonts. And I'm getting old enough that it matters. :)ReplyDelete
i don't care for courier, for some reason.ReplyDelete
I like bookman antiqua. new times roman is fine, just kinda blah.
I like Bookman Old Style and Book Antiqua, as those are what my publishers use and I'm accustomed to them. For my husband's company I use Arial, even though I find it ugly, because it faxes nicely. I'll probably do mine in Bookman Old Style.ReplyDelete
Hmm, apparently my computer doesn't have Enviro, Eurostile, or MS Reference Sans Serif. What happens if someone downloads a PDF with a font that his computer doesn't have?ReplyDelete
Oops, I saw that Tambo already asked my question, and it was answered. But what if you don't embed the font files? Will the person's computer replace the font with another font, or will the document just be unreadable? I don't do much with PDF documents, so I'm not familiar with how they work.ReplyDelete
I'm partial to Palatino Linotype. It's very clean looking. I also like Book Antiqua.ReplyDelete
Anyway, My freebie is up! I didn't know where else to put the information. (It's erotic paranormal/werewolf romance, and is quite graphis so folks MUST be 18+ to download it.)
It's called Under A Midnight Moon, and it available here:
There is a blurb for the story here:
The gorgeous cover was created by Silma Pagan. She is so talented!
Hope this is everything I needed to do. ^_^
I prefer Book Antiqua or Times New Roman. My least favorite is CourierReplyDelete
I write for a couple of ebook publishers and have to turn everything in already in their template, which uses Book Antiqua. Once I got used to it, I decided I like it pretty well.ReplyDelete
My favourite is Arial 11, and I hate Courier with a passion. Not very fond of Times Roman, either.ReplyDelete
Sometimes, I want my old Atari FirstWord program back. It was the only one ever that allowed my to define my own letters, and I need that to cover some weird things to be found in Old Norse manuscripts that NO extra font has. My brother has managed to transfer the defined letters from Atari to Winword but they don't match Arial exactly, no matter how hard he tried, and that Neanderthal printer doesn't recognse them.
And I need two new letters. :(
Well, at least the printer is going to be history soon, mwuahaha, and I'll make sure the next one prints whatever I throw at it, even Runes and Linear B.
My favourite? Palatino Linotype It's clean looking, or it seems so to me.ReplyDelete
I didn't get to weigh in on this the other day because your blog wouldn't load. I love fonts, and type and all things dealing with letterforms. I am actually a graphic designer by day and a writer by night.ReplyDelete
With that in mind,I implore you, do not use comic sans. It is an ugly ugly font that always looks cheap. If you are looking for a nice alternative consider Thesis which comes in sans serif as well as serif and reads pretty well on the screen. You can find it at fontshop.com. My favorite is Semi Bold Plain.
Actually there is a growing body of evidence that serif fonts are actually not easier to read in print OR screen. Most studies did not correct for familiarity and so were biased in favour of serif fonts. Personally I have come to dislike all serif fonts and prefer San Serif. I you have to use a serif online, Georgia was developed to be read online. But if your ebook is going to be read on a computer - stay away from any fonts with feet.ReplyDelete