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Old 02-18-2013, 10:51 AM   #1
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Paperwhite Publisher Font Lock

I recently bought some books from Amazon where I could not change the fonts.

It's blocked on some ugly slab-serif semi-egyptienne font, and even though the 'Aa' menu comes up, and I could select a different font, it has no effect on the actual displayed font.

I spent half an hour in chat with Amazon, and in the end they said that they'd 'send the request to the tech guys'. In the end it was child's-play to remove the DRM (Thanks Apprentice-Alf) and convert it back to mobi, without all the limitations.

Out of curiosity I had a look at the 'exploded' contents of the book and found a CSS that specifies 'Times New Roman' just about everywhere. But the font I see is definitely NOT Times New Roman. It looks like the attachment.

What is that font? And why does it propose that?
(I tried Identifont.com, but couldn't find anything that looked close enough.)

I also just bought another book, and it has exactly the same problem. Is there a faster way to communicate one's displeasure, than spending half an hour in the Amazon chat? (I'm in Switzerland, and they apparently can't phone me here. And I'd much prefer to solve it by email.)
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:17 PM   #2
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Popup View Post
I recently bought some books from Amazon where I could not change the fonts.
It's most likely that the book in question was in Topaz format. That you had to convert back to mobi format (from htmlz?) after importing into calibre also points that way.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:21 PM   #4
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This seems to be an issue with KF8 ebooks on the Paperwhite. I've ran into the exact same problem with "Times New Roman" being defined using an inline style on virtually every html element. This seems to prevent the user from changing to any other font. Any user agent, whether it be a web browser, ebook reader, etc., shouldn't behave that way; the user should always be able to select their preferred font.

For now, the only solution is to do as you have done by converting to mobi, request a refund and post a scathing review about poor publishing, or try to contact Kindle customer support. Hopefully this will be rectified in a future update.

See:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...66#post2398666

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...8&postcount=15

Edit:
I don't believe it was the publisher's intention to lock the ebook to a specific font. Properly made ebooks with embedded fonts do not behave this way.

Last edited by JimmyR; 02-18-2013 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy-Jim View Post
This seems to be an issue with KF8 ebooks on the Paperwhite. I've ran into the exact same problem with "Times New Roman" being defined using an inline style on virtually every html element. This seems to prevent the user from changing to any other font. Any user agent, whether it be a web browser, ebook reader, etc., shouldn't behave that way; the user should always be able to select their preferred font.
Yes, that seems to be the case. Although I don't think that it's a KF8 book. File claims that the .azw3 file is 'mobipocket'.

Quote:
For now, the only solution is to do as you have done by converting to mobi, request a refund and post a scathing review about poor publishing, or try to contact Kindle customer support.
I've left 1-star reviews and hope that the issue will be fixed. Hopefully this will be rectified in a future update.

Yes it sounds very similar. (That thread is a veritable goldmine!)
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Popup View Post
Yes, that seems to be the case. Although I don't think that it's a KF8 book. File claims that the .azw3 file is 'mobipocket'.

I've left 1-star reviews and hope that the issue will be fixed. Hopefully this will be rectified in a future update.
All Kindle formats use Mobipocket files as the container. AZW3 is KF8 + MOBI in the same file (although one or the other can be stripped out if desired). KF8 is built using ePub as the base, but by using the Mobipocket file container, it makes backwards compatibility possible.

However, with ePub (and thus KF8), the spec pretty much allows poor publishing like what you ran up against, because of how much CSS is supported. An eBook author can set the font used in the CSS or HTML and it will usually wind up overriding whatever the device tries to set as the font and size.

This is definitely a problem with HTML content spat out by a generator, like say, Microsoft Word's HTML output. HTML generators in word processors tend to do stupid things with CSS that results in files like this.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolenka View Post
All Kindle formats use Mobipocket files as the container. AZW3 is KF8 + MOBI in the same file (although one or the other can be stripped out if desired). KF8 is built using ePub as the base, but by using the Mobipocket file container, it makes backwards compatibility possible.
This is not always so. When you import a KF8 eBook into Calibre, the extension is converted to .azw3. So that is mostly just a stand alone KF8 eBook.

Quote:
This is definitely a problem with HTML content spat out by a generator, like say, Microsoft Word's HTML output. HTML generators in word processors tend to do stupid things with CSS that results in files like this.
Yes, it is an issue with output from Word. I have been saying that a book should never ever go near Word if it's due to becoming an eBook. It just has the potential to botch up a number of things and fonts are one of the issues.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
This is not always so. When you import a KF8 eBook into Calibre, the extension is converted to .azw3. So that is mostly just a stand alone KF8 eBook.
I think you missed my aside in that post. I did mention that you can strip out one of the formats. And my understanding is that Amazon's servers will indeed strip it out to save bandwidth if it knows what device you are downloading from.

As PRC, MOBI, AZW, Topaz and AZW3 all share the same file container (Palm DB), all the file extension tells you is some expectation of what to find in the DB. The whole point behind AZW3 and KF8 is to provide a means of storing ePub content in a backwards compatible way with Mobipocket content. Otherwise I might as well just use ePub.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:29 AM   #9
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For what it's worth, I sent a few days ago some feedback to Amazon (UK) about the PW and the general "Kindle experience". One of the things I mentioned was the inability to turn off the publisher font in some books. I have the right tools in Calibre to change that, but given that I have quite a large "to read" pile anyway, what I now do when I buy a book is to immediately check whether the font is locked or not. If it is, then I go with a return/refund. There's plenty of books that don't have that issue, so I'll buy and read those instead

Edit: for the UK, the email is kindle-feedback@amazon.co.uk

Last edited by Yolina; 02-20-2013 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:18 PM   #10
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I know that "Molly Fyde and the Fight for Peace" by Hugh Howey has a locked font. I didn't run it through Calibre...just bought at Amazon and sent to my PW.
Font cannot be changed, just line spacing and margins.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Popup View Post
What is that font? And why does it propose that?
(I tried Identifont.com, but couldn't find anything that looked close enough.)
Kindle falls back to Caecilia Regular if a book requests Times New Roman and you don't have it installed. From your picture it could be Caecilia, hard to tell.

Edit: Yes, that is definately Caecilia - was judging from thumbnail alone. The blowup shows it clearly.

Last edited by DuckieTigger; 02-21-2013 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieTigger View Post
Kindle falls back to Caecilia Regular if a book requests Times New Roman and you don't have it installed. From your picture it could be Caecilia, hard to tell.

Edit: Yes, that is definately Caecilia - was judging from thumbnail alone. The blowup shows it clearly.
Without jailbreaking, is there a way of making a different font the default?
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:12 PM   #13
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Without jailbreaking, is there a way of making a different font the default?
No, even changing the default on a jailbroke is not trivial. Requires best to my knowledge a deep reconfiguration of fontconfig. Hiding fonts that you don't intend to use is rather simple in comparison. The easiest to change the fall back for Times New Roman would appear to just install a font with that name (have not tested that though).

What I can tell from reading the config files is this:
  • all common fonts (post-script, microsoft, ...) get grouped together that fonts that are similar are considered the same, with one font beeing the fall back
  • each of those groups get classified a generic like serif, san-serif or monospace (san-serif is beeing used when everything else fails)
  • those generics are then assigned a priority list of which fonts to use in case such a generic is to be used

So for the case of Times New Roman it goes something like this (in that order pretty much and on Paperwhite):
  • Times New Roman gets grouped together with other fonts/groups:
    Times New Roman (fallback)
    Liberation Serif
    Thorndale
    Thorndale AMT
  • Times New Roman(MS) and Times(PS) get assigned fallback for each other
  • Times New Roman gets assigned the generic classification of serif among other fonts (Bitstream Vera Serif, DejaVu Serif, Liberation Serif, Times New Roman, Times, Nimbus Roman No9 L, Luxi Serif, Thorndale AMT, Thorndale)
  • actually installed fonts on the PW get added to serif (Palatino, Baskerville, condensed, Caecilia Regular, Kindle Symbol, TBMincho, HYMyeongJo, Song S, Song T, Code2000)
  • serif gets this priority list:
    Caecilia Regular
    Kindle Symbol
    TBMincho
    HYMyeongJo
    Song S
    Song T
    Code2000
Now if a book requests Times New Roman it will rattle through the list top to bottom until it finds a match of a font that is installed. Remember that by the time it falls back to Caecilia, the name Caecila Regular itself is not a single font any more, but a group.

In short, if you wanted to change the fall-back font of Times New Roman, it is much easier to simply INSTALL a font with family Times New Roman and be done with it.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:43 PM   #14
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So if I was to put a version of Charis SIL that I called Times New Roman in the fonts directory, would it work? All this Kindle has installed is USE_ALT_FONT.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
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So if I was to put a version of Charis SIL that I called Times New Roman in the fonts directory, would it work? All this Kindle has installed is USE_ALT_FONT.
It should, let me test that to be sure.
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