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Old 02-19-2014, 01:15 PM   #1
cybmole
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Unhappy side loaded books - font options - confused

I am trying to understand how my new Aura HD works with side loaded books

my test books all have embeedded fonts removed and all have standard 1em font size in CSS for text.

my 1st impressions are that I can change the font size on the kobo very easily, but changing the font family seems to have no effect
( even though I have checked that all embedded fonts have been removed from my test books)

is that a general principle ( i.e. do some sliders only work with kepubs - or does it depend on exactly what is in my epub book's CSS

some have a simple
font family:serif; setting
others have an explicit Times New Roman setting - I used to add this to improve bookview in sigil but I have not consistently added it to all books because it made no difference on my previous Sony e-readers>

I am also confused by the seeming lack of a global font -size setting on the Kobo aura HD. when I side-load a new book there seems no way to predict what font size will first appear, and no logic to where the sliders need to be to standardise across books.

So with 4 test books, I have the sliders in 4 different positions at present, even though each book is using font-size:1em for it's <p> tags

I am feeling very confused & wishing I'd stuck with a simpler model

more confusion:
I I select a test page of a book & cycle through the font options, the number of words per line and the font appearence stays the same, but the number of lines per page changes! - so if I go to Kobo font the line space is greater than say for Georgia. I guess each font has a (different) default line spacing and that IS being applied to the side loaded book, even though the actual font face is NOT changing.

Last edited by cybmole; 02-19-2014 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:33 PM   #2
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You changed threads, are you trying to confuse me?

As I said previously, delete the font-family statements. On a Kobo, font-family:serif will give you it's default font (some kind of Georgia). This is not the same as on a Sony where font-family:serif in the CSS was equivalent to no font-family at all.

...And try to relax a bit and enjoy the journey I'm around all evening if you need specific help with Kobo vs Sony CSS issues. Go to PM if you prefer.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackie_w View Post
You changed threads, are you trying to confuse me?
it was a pre-emptive change before the mods say "this no longer has anything to do with Calibre ! ". I jumped before being pushed.

please see PM but 2 specific reasons for NOT wanting to remove all font-family assignments.
1. practicality - I would have to manually edit each book unless there is a cleaver way to do it via modify e-pub plug-in
2. I still like to edit in Sigil, I'm trying to migrate to calibre editor but tend to fall back to the software I know best. Sigil book view is awful unless there's a font-family setting, it's hard to read & the QT package leaves trailing bits of characters as you insert/delete text. SO pretty much every book I've ever edited has a font family setting which I've forced in via a calibre conversion or a modify e-pub tweak

So I am hopeful that a consistent use of append css can lead to consistent appearance on Kobo
e.g. instead of just appending
p { font-family: "Times New Roman", Times, serif;}
I could also append
body { font-family: "Times New Roman", Times, serif;}

If, however, I do strip out every font-family statement, do all the built-in Kobo fonts then all start to work, and what do I then see when I select "document original font". if YES , then maybe that's an acceptable trade-off for some ugliness within Sigil book view, but how would I automate finding & removing all those ?

I think I've still not grasped the font sizing issues fully - maybe this is because some books had an explicit 1em value & others have nothing at all ( because older readers than assumed 1em ? )

is there a "proper" written kobo user manual anywhere, not the tiny one in the box that only tells you how to do set-up ?
update: google finds a reasonable length user guide but it mostly restates the obvious.
I Like old-school manuals for programmers like IBM used to write

I did find this in the iuser guide though, which answers one question for me
Note:
• When you change the way text looks, your eReader
remembers your preferred text size and style, and
applies it to other books you read in the future.

Last edited by cybmole; 02-19-2014 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:07 PM   #4
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UPDATE:
more testing, more clarity...

I made a test copy of a book & stripped out every font family as you advised. Yes, the reader fonts are now switchable. I also noticed that if I minimise line spacing, there's a bit of an optical illusion effect, it seem like I'm using a worse font and it looks like a different font whereas really is just a bad line setting.

now, opening that same book in calibre editor - the book preview is not too bad, better than the sigil book view so maybe a can lose all my font-family settings with no great pain. They had no effect on Sony reader anyway so no loss there. But I'm not aware of any tweak that will automate finding and stripping every instance from one or many books ?

but more complex books may have e.g. font-family:sans-serif; for headings. I would need to test what happens if one or more of those is left in - ill Kobo still apply it's fonts to the story text ?

back to the simple test book. I think I am seeing that font choice " document original" is the same as font "Georgia" on the Kobo - is that the case?
& if YES then is the effect of leaving in some font-family:serif; commands just to lock the font into that Georgia option ?
does accidental leaving just one of those in, say within one of several paragraph styles, lock the whole book out of font controls ?
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:57 PM   #5
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You should be OK with generic font-family:sans-serif statements. I believe the built-in Avenir font is used for those. Just avoid font-family:"my font" options for an easy life.

Caveat: If you need a generic font-family:monospace option for portions of a book you need a slightly different approach as Kobo doesn't include a monospace font. There is a fairly simple solution applied via calibre should you need it.

Re: the is Default Document the same as the 'real' Kobo Georgia, I'm not sure. The real Georgia allows the Advanced thickness setting but the Default Document font choice doesn't.
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
& if YES then is the effect of leaving in some font-family:serif; commands just to lock the font into that Georgia option ?
does accidental leaving just one of those in, say within one of several paragraph styles, lock the whole book out of font controls ?
Sorry, forgot to answer this bit. There isn't really much Kobo black magic here. If you leave a font-family:serif statement in a particular CSS class, the result will depend on which parts of the book use that particular tag/class. 3 examples:
  1. If your epub has body {font-family:serif} and/or p{font-family:serif}. Your epub will display in the font selected in the Kobo menu because body, p are the tags overridden when you use the Kobo font family menu.
  2. If your epub has h1, h2 {font-family:serif} then the bulk of your epub will display in the font selected in the Kobo menu, but any <h1> or <h2> heading text will display in the default Georgia font.
  3. Worst case is with a calibre conversion. Calibre always assigns the body css to a class. So if your epub has
    <body class="calibre"> for every html file and
    .calibre {font-family:serif} in your css file
    then the font selected in the Kobo menu won't be displayed at all and you'll see the default Georgia everywhere.

As I know you have some understanding of how CSS works, it may help you to think of it like this. When you select a font from the Kobo font menu it's almost as if the css statement
body, p {font-family:my-chosen-font}
had been added as the last line of the epub's css file and all the standard css cascading/inheritance/specificity rules apply as normal.

N.B. This isn't actually what happens but the result is the same. Or maybe I've just added more confusion ...
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackie_w View Post
Caveat: If you need a generic font-family:monospace option for portions of a book you need a slightly different approach as Kobo doesn't include a monospace font. There is a fairly simple solution applied via calibre should you need it.
Would you mind elaborating on the monospace font "fix"? Or just point me to an article or thread that discusses it? I have been wondering how to get Kobo to display text in monospace. Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:02 PM   #8
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Would you mind elaborating on the monospace font "fix"? Or just point me to an article or thread that discusses it? I have been wondering how to get Kobo to display text in monospace. Thanks.
There are 2 methods depending on why your book needs monospace. I did document option 2 below somewhere in this forum but I can't, for the life of me, remember which thread it was part of, so here it is again:
  1. If you want to read the whole book in monospace (e.g. Screenplays often expect mono throughout) you just need to sideload a monospace font (preferably all 4 flavours, regular, italic, bold, bolditalic, but not essential) and pick the new mono font from the Kobo font menu. Don't forget to power off/on after adding new fonts.

  2. If there are just selected parts of a book which need to be mono (e.g. author wants to simulate an old typewritten letter, code samples in tech manuals).

    Firstly, make sure you've already sideloaded a monospace font into your Kobo fonts directory.

    Secondly, the internal css in the epub needs to have font-family: monospace in all the relevant places.

    Thirdly, you need to enable this feature in the calibre KOBOTOUCH driver. Then in your custom kobo_extra.css include css statements something along these lines (where Dark Courier is the internal name of my sideloaded mono font. It's important to make the code match the internal font name exactly)
    Code:
    @font-face {font-family: monospace; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; src: url("res:///fonts/normal/Dark Courier")}
    @font-face {font-family: monospace; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; src: url("res:///fonts/bold/Dark Courier")}
    @font-face {font-family: monospace; font-weight: normal; font-style: italic; src: url("res:///fonts/italic/Dark Courier")}
    @font-face {font-family: monospace; font-weight: bold; font-style: italic; src: url("res:///fonts/bolditalic/Dark Courier")}
    If you've only got a single ttf (i.e. only the regular), you can simplify the extra code in kobo_extra.css to
    Code:
    @font-face {font-family: monospace; src: url("res:///fonts/normal/Dark Courier")}
    Once you've added the mono stuff to your custom kobo_extra.css, all future epubs transferred to the Kobo via calibre will get the extra css inserted into the epub during the Send-to-Device process. The calibre library copy of the epub remains untouched. You don't need to worry about adding this extra mono css to epubs which won't need it as it will just be ignored.

I'm not sure whether option 2 will work for kepubs but it definitely works for standard epubs (at least in fw 3.1.1 and many earlier releases).
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Old 02-20-2014, 12:28 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=jackie_w;2768234]Sorry, forgot to answer this bit. There isn't really much Kobo black magic here./QUOTE]

that is very clear, thanks & is consistent with my test results.

Yes I do calibre convert all books before reading, so as to have an original_epub backup so stuff was being added to CSS class definitions by my default preferences.

I shall now change those.

I now need ponder how best to remove explicit line-height: 1.2em; lines from new books so that line spacing controls work, as a lot of books have similar lines.

and also <a> tags. when I touch a chapter number in my current book, I get a pop-up offering to launch the kobo browser- maybe I can turn that off in Kobo, otherwise I will have to mess with code that looks like this:
<p class="title-num-rw" id="rw-title-num_65077-201898256"><a href="../Text/TOC.xhtml">3</a></p>

PS Another CSS example from same book as the above- this books styles all text messages sent by characters in the narrative with a class containing font-family:sans-serif; to make then stand out. So this is an example with automatically wiping all font-family code ( via calibre CSS filter) would affect the intended book layout. So I am inclined not to enable that calibre CSS filter as a default perference

Last edited by cybmole; 02-20-2014 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 02-20-2014, 12:52 AM   #10
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so: things to not have in CSS, ideally

font-family: affects font choice on Kobo
line-height: prevents line spacing slider control on Kobo

on Sony T2, T3 line-height:1.2; or 1.2 em; looked OK, but on Aura HD screen it looks cramped

now wondering about:
font-size: ( in em) will that affect font size slider on Kobo ?

also wondering about widows & orphans:

there seems to be a default value of something >0 in Kobo renderer,
so I should add widows:0;orphans:0 explicitly to turn that off ? ( same as for Sony readers)

Last edited by cybmole; 02-20-2014 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:31 AM   #11
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update

line-height: xxx% code in CSS also prevents line spacing options on reader from working
e.g. line-height:130%;

specific font-size: values in CSS seem seem harmless

I am a tad curious - when Kobo sell a KEPUB , do they have a quality control process that strips out any of this stuff or do they just hope that the book publisher has done it

i.e. is it reasonable to expect all the sliders to work with every purchased .kepub format book ?

Last edited by cybmole; 02-20-2014 at 04:33 AM.
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
line-height: xxx% code in CSS also prevents line spacing options on reader from working
e.g. line-height:130%;

specific font-size: values in CSS seem seem harmless
font-size affects the line spacing if there is no fixed line-height. When the line spacing is adjusted with the line spacing slider it doesn't increase the line height in proportion to font size, so large text will have a narrower spacing than small text. This becomes a problem when the publisher uses something like font-size:small for the main text, it effectively causes the line spacing to increase. For this reason I rescale all the font-sizes if necessary so that the main text is 1em/100%/medium, and I leave a fixed line-height for large and very small text such as headings, so the spacing doesn't change when I adjust the spacing of the main text using the line spacing slider.

Quote:
I am a tad curious - when Kobo sell a KEPUB , do they have a quality control process that strips out any of this stuff or do they just hope that the book publisher has done it

i.e. is it reasonable to expect all the sliders to work with every purchased .kepub format book ?
Kobo seem to fix a lot of the problems during the conversion to kepub, but not all of them, and they sometimes add problems too. The adjustment sliders work for most of the kepubs I have bought, but not for all. There are just so many ways to screw up an epub I doubt there is an automated procedure that can fix everything. I just treat the time spent fixing mistakes in epubs as part of the price of the ebook now. It usually takes less time to fix the problems than it would to write a complaint with a description of the problems.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:27 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
and also <a> tags. when I touch a chapter number in my current book, I get a pop-up offering to launch the kobo browser- maybe I can turn that off in Kobo, otherwise I will have to mess with code that looks like this:
<p class="title-num-rw" id="rw-title-num_65077-201898256"><a href="../Text/TOC.xhtml">3</a></p>
The only time I remember seeing this is when the file specified in the href doesn't exist in the epub. Is it possible some html files have been removed (TOC.xhtml in your example) without the necessary clean-up operation.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:40 AM   #14
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also wondering about widows & orphans:

there seems to be a default value of something >0 in Kobo renderer,
so I should add widows:0;orphans:0 explicitly to turn that off ? ( same as for Sony readers)
This has been raised by many Kobo users. The html defaults are widows:2; orphans:2. It's possible the Kobo defaults are even bigger, no-one seems quite sure.

However, this option for the calibre KOBOTOUCH driver was created to tackle this problem. There is no need to edit all your existing epubs (unless you really want to). If you use the worked example in the link, the widows/orphans problem will be sorted out during the send-to-device transfer. The calibre library version of the epub will remain unchanged.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:50 AM   #15
cybmole
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Device: Kobo aura HD, Kobo Arc, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 , Kindle for PC
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackie_w View Post
The only time I remember seeing this is when the file specified in the href doesn't exist in the epub. Is it possible some html files have been removed (TOC.xhtml in your example) without the necessary clean-up operation.
I appreciate it's my own doing. I dislike having to page thru a TOC before I can get to chapter 1 so I zap any such at edit stage.

please expand on " necessary clean up" - I usually jsut delete the html toc then have the modify plug in clean up the "real" TOC.

is there a different clean up which will take out the invalid href=......
I did a couple with regex but it has to be done carefully or the xlink:href on title page can get zapped also
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