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Old 04-30-2013, 02:44 AM   #1
katl
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Red face Kindle Previewer Font Face grayed out?

Hi! I'm Kat. New to the forum. Thanks for having me!

I'm converting my self published e-book to mobi to sell on Amazon.

I don't own a Kindle, so I've been using Kindle Previewer to figure out what works and what doesn't. I used InDesign CS6 to typeset a PDF, converted to epub (which was a nightmare...), and cleaned up the HTML and CSS in Sigil. Then I used KindleGen (via KindlePreviewer) to create a Mobi and view the results. I'm currently going back and forth between Sigil and KP to clean up discrepancies.

After finally coming to grips with the notion that e-book readers want to control the font face themselves, I've removed the font-family style from my <p> tag. I've also removed font-size, alignment, and color, as per Amazon's HTML guidelines for "normal" text.

There are still some p classes and headers with defined font-family, but I am under the impression that Amazon allows this. (Please correct me if I'm wrong!) I don't have any embedded fonts, because the typefaces I would have used may not have been strictly legal to "redistribute".

So, I'm hoping to avoid negative reviews for locking the font. But, when I open the book in KP and click through the devices, and the only one that has the option to change the Font Face is Kindle Paperwhite.

I thought Kindle Fire had the option to change font face as well, but it's grayed out when I preview those devices.

Is this an issue with KP? Is it potentially a problem with my book/html/css/conversion?

I'm just terrified that I'll upload the book and get a slew of negative reviews from people who are upset that they can't change the font to Courier (however bad that may look...)

I'll gladly include any additional information that will help solve this mystery for me. Thank you!
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
There are still some p classes and headers with defined font-family, but I am under the impression that Amazon allows this. (Please correct me if I'm wrong!) I don't have any embedded fonts, because the typefaces I would have used may not have been strictly legal to "redistribute".
Correct. Different fonts (even embedded fonts) are OK for special sections of text and/or headers. The general idea is not to have the basic text font defined so the reader can choose their own. But I worry about your special classes with font-family definitions if you're NOT embedding the fonts. Are you sure the various Kindle Devices can make use of the font-families you've defined?

Quote:
I thought Kindle Fire had the option to change font face as well, but it's grayed out when I preview those devices.

Is this an issue with KP? Is it potentially a problem with my book/html/css/conversion?
This appears to be a Kindle Previewer issue. It's greyed out on my books too ... books that have special fonts embedded yet my Kindle Fire still allows me change the basic font of the book.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:08 PM   #3
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Thank you so much for taking a look

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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Correct. Different fonts (even embedded fonts) are OK for special sections of text and/or headers. The general idea is not to have the basic text font defined so the reader can choose their own. But I worry about your special classes with font-family definitions if you're NOT embedding the fonts. Are you sure the various Kindle Devices can make use of the font-families you've defined?
I used the list of included fonts for various readers from this website to come up with my font family fall backs, so hopefully most people will be happy.

I'm actually considering removing the font-family from all of the text in the book. My thinking is this: If I don't know what "normal" text font the user will choose, how can I really choose a header to compliment it? I'll dig around a little more to see if that's the best way to proceed,and if anyone has any advise on that matter I would love to hear it.


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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
This appears to be a Kindle Previewer issue. It's greyed out on my books too ... books that have special fonts embedded yet my Kindle Fire still allows me change the basic font of the book.
Thanks for setting my mind at ease! I've had to jump through so many hoops to get my PDF turned into a mobi. I'm soo glad I'm almost done!
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:07 PM   #4
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To be honest, I would have skipped the PDF step altogether and just exported an ePub from InDesign (if I was using InDesign). Then used Sigil or a text editor to tweak the ePub and feed the ePub to Kindle Previewer.

PDF is a destination format... and a final destination at that. It's hard to imagine a worse source format than PDF.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
To be honest, I would have skipped the PDF step altogether and just exported an ePub from InDesign (if I was using InDesign). Then used Sigil or a text editor to tweak the ePub and feed the ePub to Kindle Previewer.

PDF is a destination format... and a final destination at that. It's hard to imagine a worse source format than PDF.
I think I explained my workflow incorrectly. I made the INDD in Indesign and designed it with a PDF in mind. None of my objects were anchored - I used a lot of local override styles etc (I had no prior experience with Indesign so I didn't know these were not good practices).

Worked great for the PDF, but then when I exported the INDD to EPUB it was a total mess. So I payed a company $100 to convert it for me, and they left it an even worse mess.

Not wanting to spend more money on unusable services, I went back, cleaned up the INDD and finally got it to the point that I could export a n EPUB that I could work with. Now I'm in Sigil working with the HTML and CSS (which I am far more familiar with than Indesign).

I didn't actually convert the PDF to EPUB. So, I think I followed the workflow you suggest, I just didn't know how to use Indesign properly to avoid a ton extra work.

I sell the PDF on my website. I didn't realize that 1. Indesign is great for PDFs but you need special knowledge to make it work for EPUB, and 2. Amazon doesn't let you sell PDFs. I didn't even know that an EPUB was basically a little website... otherwise I could have saved myself a bunch of time and started with Sigil!

A lot of resources for blogger self publishers (I mean like ProBlogger, CopyBlogger etc.) tell you to create PDF ebooks. But they don't tell you that you won't be able to sell it anywhere but your own website in that format.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:13 PM   #6
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I didn't actually convert the PDF to EPUB.
Thank goodness! That can be quite the hair-pulling experience for even the most seasoned of veterans.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katl View Post
I used the list of included fonts for various readers from this website to come up with my font family fall backs, so hopefully most people will be happy.
It won't work. there is no way to access fonts on a reader just by using the font-family name of the font. You can use the generic serif, sans-serif, and monospace. But that's it. All it's doing it preventing font changes if the device supports such.

Quote:
I'm actually considering removing the font-family from all of the text in the book. My thinking is this: If I don't know what "normal" text font the user will choose, how can I really choose a header to compliment it? I'll dig around a little more to see if that's the best way to proceed,and if anyone has any advise on that matter I would love to hear it.
You can do something like sans-serif for the headers. That's acceptable. Unless you actually embed the fonts, leave the body as whatever the device displays.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:44 PM   #8
katl
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It won't work. there is no way to access fonts on a reader just by using the font-family name of the font. You can use the generic serif, sans-serif, and monospace. But that's it. All it's doing it preventing font changes if the device supports such.
That makes me sad... at the end of the font-face fall backs I include serif or sans-serif. Will those be honored?

The book is a technical manual for beginners on how to use GIMP (the Gnu Image Manipulation Program). It's not a novel, so I honestly think a large portion of my readers will be reading on their computers. Will the font-face value be honored for kindle apps on desktops?


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You can do something like sans-serif for the headers. That's acceptable. Unless you actually embed the fonts, leave the body as whatever the device displays.
Does serif or sans-serif have to be the only value for the font-family declaration, or can it be at the end of my list of fallbacks?
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