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Old 02-24-2013, 12:02 PM   #1
Brad Reid
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Problem with Open Font Licensed typeface?

The Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines (page 28) seems to make a request against embedding open source fonts (if I'm using that expression correctly).

Specifically, to quote:
"Only embed fonts that are not currently available on devices and apps. Publishers do not need to include the Charis font with their Kindle books because it is an Open Font Licensed typeface."

Can anyone tell me the reasoning or motivation behind the Guidelines' request? I would think that if you wanted your ebook read with Charis, it's best to embed it as that would make it available to broadest number of readers, regardless of whether it comes with the device to start.

I'm currently interested in embedding Crimson by Sebastian Kosch, which has an SIL Open Font Licence, in an ebook that I intend to make commercially available. Do you think it's unwise to do so?
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:22 PM   #2
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Simply put: they're trying to discourage people from including custom fonts at all in their ebooks -- fonts that are meant to be used as the default body text, that is. They're not discouraging anyone from embedding fonts to be used for headers and other special elements/sections within the book.

It's been determined that many readers enjoy being able to choose their preferred font for reading. Embedding a font and constructing the ebook in such a way that the default "body" text uses that font, oftentimes prevents users from being able to change the default font of the book.

As to whether including a font is wise or not. Who knows? I do know that I still see a lot of commercial ebooks coming from Amazon with Charis fonts embedded in them. But unless the creators get creative with CSS, some Amazon devices are ignoring the fonts. My Kindle Fire HD won't display embedded fonts that are assigned directly to the <body> element with CSS. *shrugs*

Quote:
10 Kindle Quality Guidelines

Amazon strongly recommends that you verify your exported content before converting it into a Kindle book because some content creation tools format content differently when exported to HTML.

In addition, Amazon encourages you to review the entire book for:
• missing content;
• wrong content;
• typos;
• alignment errors;
forced font throughout the entire book; and
• proper paragraph spacing.

These errors negatively affect readability and may require the Amazon team to suppress the title to protect the reader’s experience.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:25 PM   #3
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The general advice is against using an embedded font for the main text, so that the user can choose his/her preferred font. It's OK to embed fonts for headings, decorative caps, handwritten fragments, foreign scripts (the odd Chinese character in an English book), etc.

But I don't understand the quoted extract from the guidelines either, unless it's a convolute way of implying what wrote above.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:14 PM   #4
Brad Reid
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"The House of the Scorpion", which I have on my Paperwhite, has Bembo embedded as the body text and Trajan Pro embedded for the chapter heads. When I switch the font to Palatino, both publisher fonts are switched out for Palatino.

This leaves me thinking that Amazon isn't letting on to their true operating policy for embedded fonts, as they do allow specific fonts for body text in certain circumstances.

Perhaps the idea is to protect themselves from amateurish font choices.

But I'm getting away from my original query, as I'd still like to know if Amazon has anything against open font licences.

Last edited by Brad Reid; 02-24-2013 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Reid View Post
But I'm getting away from my original query, as I'd still like to know if Amazon has anything against open font licences.
I guess I wasn't aware that was the main question. Although the exact meaning of the part of the guide you quoted isn't entirely clear to me, I certainly never interpreted it as them having something "against" open font-licenses.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:25 AM   #6
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My guess? This is what happens when a tech writer who doesn't fully understand a technology is given information about a subject by an engineer and is asked to translate it into proper English. Even more cryptically, earlier in the document, it said, "Do not include the Charis font; it is replaced with a higher quality font in the Kindle Readers."

I'm guessing that the Kindle publishing process involves a human reviewing the book, and if you use that particular font, they substitute Caecilia or something, but it could just be more of a "We don't like this font, and we think ours are better, so please don't include a font under the flawed assumption that the reader's built-in fonts will all suck."

Either way, it's just a guess.
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