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Old 09-18-2013, 04:48 PM   #1
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Apple symbol and other special characters in ePub

Hi guys,

I'm working on a novel that happens to be full of special characters. It looks good on paper but I have no idea how to deal with these in ePub. Have a look:



Looks fun, eh?

Now, I don't know much about Unicode but I know that some of these can appear as "regular characters", like this ⌘ or δ or even these ☰ ☷ ☳ ☴ ☲ ☵ ☶ ☱. That said, I have no idea how they will appear on various e-readers...

How would you deal with this situation? My first thought make an very small image of them and use that instead. It is not exactly an elegant solution... But is there a better one? Maybe a font I could embed that would have them? (But keep in mind this ePub will be sold.)

Thanks in advance for your help.

Michael
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:29 PM   #2
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Best to embed a font with as full a unicode coverage as
possible (Google is your friend), alternately a dingbats-type
font may help. Trigrams seem to be in Miscellaneous symbols.
Not sure if the Apple symbol is unique to Apple though(more here).

Last edited by DomesticExtremis; 09-18-2013 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:41 PM   #3
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Trigram font search yields a number of possibilities.

You probably will need to download Adobe Digital Editions to see how things will turn out on ADE devices. Might be worthwhile to create a small test using these fonts etc and see how things work out before being committed to a particular approach and find it blown up after hours of work by one particular reader. And I would stay away from the Apple symbol unless you want to give away half of your earnings, when an ordinary royalty free apple might do.

If the trigrams, etc are truly central to your story and must be present regardless of the reader, then images may be the best way to go. You might show a piece of paper with them on it, with the corners curled or whatever fits with the story.

My first impression, and it may be wrong, is that the how-to-display-tail could wag the story-dog.
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:52 PM   #4
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These glyphs can be found at the following Unicode code points:
U+2630 ☰
U+2637 ☷
U+2633 ☳
U+2634 ☴
U+2632 ☲
U+2635 ☵
U+2636 ☶
U+2631 ☱
U+2318 ⌘
U+03B4 δ

The apple logo is more problematic since it resides in the Unicode private area at
U+F8FF 

It will likely show up only in fonts distributed by Apple. Notably, in the (huge, unrestricted shareware, somewhat hugly, but quite comprehensive) Code2000 font it conflicts with the "KLINGON MUMMIFICATION GLYPH" :
Spoiler:
Name:  Klingon.jpg
Views: 331
Size:  664 Bytes
Hmm... image needed... let alone epub readers, I couldn't find a font in the forum that displays it!


To reduce the size of an embedded font, I would suggest to first strip it, only keeping the glyphs that you use. A tool like GlyphIgo might come handy.
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:51 PM   #5
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I think using a font might be better than images. Images don't always scale well, and can look jaggy or blurry. (Test this yourself by adding to an epub an illustration with text on it, style it in the html to size it in ems, so that it re-sizes along with font resizing, and see what happens as you move from very small to very large font sizes.)

A font you might look at is Symbola by George Douros, from http://www.alanwood.net/downloads/index.html
It is released under the Open Font License, so freely re-distributable. It has over 6,000 characters, including the trigrams. There is probably an apple in there somewhere as well.

It is a really big font, almost 2 mb, so you would be advised to subset it. (Another way to subset: load your completed epub into Calibre, convert to epub using the setting for "Subset Embedded Fonts" on the Look and Feel tab, then pull out that subsetted font and add it back into your original epub.)


EDITED TO ADD: On the other hand, for a commercial ebook, you have to be concerned about device support for embedded fonts. So sometimes images might be a safer way to go. Wouldn't it be lovely if every ebook problem had a clear-cut answer?

Last edited by GrannyGrump; 09-19-2013 at 03:00 AM.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:27 PM   #6
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Thank you very much for your help. I guess I'll first try to embed the 'Symbola' font suggested by grannyGrumpy. There seems to be everything I need there. Except the Apple logo that is—for that one I guess I'll have to go with an image...

By the way, I'm not the author of the book, nor the publisher. I'm just the guy helping them to get a decent ePub. And it is a novel about Steve Jobs, so it has to be the Apple logo, not just any apple image... I'll let them worry about copyright and that kind of stuff.

I've done quite a bit of books in ePub but it is the first time I have to embed fonts and worry about unicode. I'm a bit confused and can't seem to find the exact information I'm looking for. Thanks to PoP, I have no the equivalent Unicode code points for almost all the characters I want in the ePub. Now my question, which will seem quite naive, is how exactly do I get the symbols displayed in the ePub?

I embed the fond, tweak my CSS, no problem there, and then in the html file I add the equivalent HTML-code of the Unicode code point? For example, the first trigram:



That's it? Or am I missing something?

Of course I'll test this on a few reader with a test file first.

DomesticExtremis, mrmikel, PoP, grannyGrumpy, thank you very much. Your help is really appreciated.

PS. I couldn't even get the HTML-code for the trigram posted on the forum without being converted to the symbol so I put an image...
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:22 PM   #7
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So far so good with the embedded Symbola font. I manage to get all needed symbols. It works fine on iBooks and ADE. And on my old Kindle too.

See attached file for an example ePub. I did as grannyGrumpy suggested to get a subset of the font: convert in Calibre with said setting and the resulting font is 147 KB (instead of 1 684 KB). Thanks for the tip!

Now I only need to use the Apple logo as an image—unless I find a solution for that too.

Thanks again!
Attached Files
File Type: epub Special-characters.epub (55.9 KB, 53 views)
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:03 AM   #8
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Glad it's working out. Good luck on the Apple logo--- don't know if that image is available royalty-free. (Check with the publisher before you commit a lot of work to that part).
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:06 AM   #9
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You could also include the logo as an SVG image.
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
You could also include the logo as an SVG image.
Could you please give me a bit more details? What would it change?

Thank you.
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:33 AM   #11
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The problem with the Apple symbol in a font is a trademark one, not a copyright one. So if you can find it in a font, you'll be able to use it withotu any legal problems, provided you acknowledge it as a trademark in the frontmatter. (But, of course, IANAL.)

An SVG image can be vector artwork, and so scales nicely without bitmap effects.

Personally, I'd add the apple symbol to the font I was already embedding, but that is a tricky business. (FontForge is the tool you need. And, of course, a source for the symbol in vector form.)
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrahan View Post
Could you please give me a bit more details? What would it change?

Thank you.
I did a quick search, and found an SVG Apple logo on Wikimedia:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...logo_black.svg

These topics might have a little more information/examples on inserting SVG (RbnJrg's posts on this subject are great):

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...&highlight=svg
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...&highlight=svg
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:51 AM   #13
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Ah. I had downloaded and played a very tiny bit with some font-editing software a couple months ago. I put it on the back burner, but give me the weekend to play, and I might have some thoughts for you.
The software is TypeLight, from http://www.cr8software.net/typelight.html. You can use it to add glyphs to an existing font, and it might be an easy thing to add the logo to your Symbola subset. I had only tried out a couple of glyphs, and the software is really easy to use.
Something for you to consider, anyway...

EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to mention, TypeLite is Freeware! Also, the Pro edition is available on a trial basis, limits you to (I think) 50 or 52 characters.

Last edited by GrannyGrump; 09-21-2013 at 09:53 AM. Reason: adding the importance of FREE
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:20 PM   #14
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FWIW

After some Googling, I found this font at http://www.fontspace.com/lollibomb/techno. It includes the Apple logo at the expected U+F8FF code point.

Click image for larger version

Name:	Apple logo.jpg
Views:	133
Size:	25.1 KB
ID:	111739

It would be easy (if not illegal) to strip the font to this unique character and use it in an html span tag.

Or to recreate the glyph from pseudo-scratch :

Click image for larger version

Name:	Apple logo detail.jpg
Views:	97
Size:	59.4 KB
ID:	111740

Last edited by PoP; 09-21-2013 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:26 PM   #15
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Hey guys,

Thanks again for the input. I tried TypeLight to add the Apple glyph in the font PoP found to my Symbola subset. No luck so far, there's something I don't get and I don't have time to read all the documentation this week-end. Gotta finish this for monday.

So I tried with the SVG logo found in Wikimedia by Tex2002ans. And I still feel like a n00b. First, I couldn't find a way to resize the svg image and after some googling I came to the conclusion that there was something to tweak inside the SVG file itself. I used RazrFalcon's SVGCleaner and then I seemed to be able to tweak the image size in my ePub.

But still there must be something I'm doing wrong (long story). What's the good way to add the .svg image so that it appears inline with the text (ie. I want to downsize it so that it is just the size of a letter in the middle of a paragraph)? Style an image class with something like "height: 1em;"? Or there is a better way?

EDIT: OK, styling an image class with "height: 1em;" just doesn't work in iBooks. I end up with a giant apple... Argh.

Last edited by mtrahan; 09-21-2013 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Added test report.
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