Yes they do have a manual however it is on their website. You can find it via the link below or just look under the support options for the Touch Reader at kobo.com
I thought it was a bit weird as well when I got my Touch this past summer, however as I have come to use it I found out that the operation is completely dependent on the firmware. As they issue updates the layout and operation of it changes so if they did put a paper manual in the box it probably would be obsolete by the time they issued an update for the reader.
Not sure about the font issue you are having, if you are using your own fonts it could be that the italic sub-file (not sure how else to describe it) is missing.