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Old 01-24-2022, 04:46 AM   #1
Uncle Robin
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Is it worth escalating this?

To test the alleged battery life improvements in the new firmware, I broke with my habit and started reading a store bought kepub directly on my Sage. I discovered that it doesn't render the font properly, causing characters to be missing. Attachments 1-3 show in order kepub in Sage, kepub in Android app, kepub in PC app. As is clear, the Sage does not render properly, while the best rendering is on the Android app - all are using "publisher default".

I then decided to see what KOReader would do with it, so downloaded the epub from Kobo,de-DRMd it and sideloaded it. Attachment 4 shows the sideloaded epub in Nickel, attachment 5 shows it in KOReader.

It has long been said that no good deed goes unpunished, and this seems to fit. I bought a book, opened it on my Sage, and found it significantly flawed in my preferred device, while the sideloaded version in another app is probably the best. Hence the subject line - is it worth escalating this, given that Kobo's idea of a helpdesk seems to be modelled on the Vogons' example?
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Old 01-24-2022, 05:09 AM   #2
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The problem seems to be that you do not have hyphenation and thus gaps in the KePub's display.
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Old 01-24-2022, 05:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
The problem seems to be that you do not have hyphenation and thus gaps in the KePub's display.
If you don't know what you're talking about, as you clearly don't here, please don't intrude.

The problem has ZERO connection with hyphenation. As the screenshots clearly show, certain specialized characters are not being rendered at all on the Sage, creating blanks. Had you bothered to to take the time to actually look at the screenshots properly, you would have seen this.
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Old 01-24-2022, 05:32 AM   #4
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The problem seems to be that you do not have hyphenation and thus gaps in the KePub's display.
Not at all, there are letters missing in those gaps.
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Old 01-24-2022, 05:44 AM   #5
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Try a font type like Google's Noto. I refrain from using the "publisher default" setting as long as that preferred font is not embedded in the epub itself.
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Old 01-24-2022, 05:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrChiper View Post
Try a font type like Google's Noto. I refrain from using the "publisher default" setting as long as that preferred font is not embedded in the epub itself.

Thanks, I have Noto, although for most Indic stuff I prefer Arial Unicode MS, or Mangal for devanagari, but the reason I asked about escalating is that the "publisher default" works in both Kobo apps, and fails only on the ereader. To me, that seems like a fault Kobo should be able to fix. If, for example, I had bought the book and ONLY had the Sage available to read it on, I'd be VERY annoyed, since so much of the book would quite literally be missing. I should not have to sideload a font in order to read a purchased kepub, I think. Of course, this is based on my presumption that the official apps download the same kepub that the Sage does. If that's not true, then all bets are off, I guess.

And just to make it CRYSTAL clear, to any who think otherwise, that the issue is font rendering, I've attached another set of screenshots showing that the problem is utterly unrelated to hyphenation.
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Old 01-24-2022, 06:23 AM   #7
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I would contact the customer service. Even if the only help they can offer is to refund the book, they should still be aware of the issue.
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Old 01-24-2022, 06:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirtel View Post
I would contact the customer service. Even if the only help they can offer is to refund the book, they should still be aware of the issue.
Thanks, that's my thought too. I'm not even looking for a refund, since it reads well on my 11 inch tablet. But they should know that a product they sell can't be properly used as is on a device they sell, so I guess I should be the bigger person and put up with contacting their helldesk.
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Old 01-24-2022, 08:00 AM   #9
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Did you try the system fonts? There are three fonts intended for Japanese and Chinese use. These are much more extensive than Georgia which is used for the Publisher Font when none is specified in the book.

This is also a case where the font needed should be embedded. The book creator should not be relying on the device or app to have a font available for those characters. For the other apps, they probably worked because of the way the fonts are handled when there is missing glyphs, or it was a fluke that the font you had was one that was suitable. But, I am pretty sure they are either using the OS fonts, or are falling back to other fonts installed on that OS for missing glyphs.

And having typed the comment about font handling reminds me that the kepub reader does have some fallback to the above fonts. That may mean the glyphs are missing from them as well, but, it should be tested.
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Old 01-24-2022, 09:56 AM   #10
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Because of the font patch?
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Old 01-24-2022, 12:31 PM   #11
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Like davidfor says, it has to do with the fallback fonts and the glyphs they support. Kobo pulls from the Kobo Tsukushi Mincho and the Kobo UD Kakugo fonts for symbols missing in serif or sans serif text when using Publisher Default but the book has no default font specified (and the Chinese font for those symbols too). Koreader uses Noto Serif CJK by default as its fallback font (I believe), which has wayy more symbols and better unicode support (it's Noto's reason for existence).

It would be nice if Kobo's fallback fonts had more glyph coverage (and bold, italic, and bold italic versions too), but the real blame should go to the book for failing to embed a font with the correct symbol support and assuming the e-reader would compensate.

To be fair, the stock fonts on Kobo are subsetted, so you may have better luck in sideloading a version of Georgia from a Windows PC or another e-reader like a Kindle or a Nook, which may have more glyphs (although it still wouldn't have full unicode support). I internally renamed Georgia Pro to Georgia from a Windows 10 PC and am using that instead because it has better pan-european support than regular Georgia (I'm also using a W1G version of Avenir Next for the same reason). I like the look of Georgia and it's part of Kobo's visual identity so I keep it; if I didn't, I'd probably take Noto Serif, internally rename it to Georgia and replace it (and replace Avenir Next with Noto Sans to keep things consistent, I guess), although I'm always concerned about RAM usage due to my large database and large number of fonts.

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Old 01-24-2022, 01:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Robin View Post
Thanks, I have Noto, although for most Indic stuff I prefer Arial Unicode MS, or Mangal for devanagari, but the reason I asked about escalating is that the "publisher default" works in both Kobo apps, and fails only on the ereader. To me, that seems like a fault Kobo should be able to fix. If, for example, I had bought the book and ONLY had the Sage available to read it on, I'd be VERY annoyed, since so much of the book would quite literally be missing. I should not have to sideload a font in order to read a purchased kepub, I think. Of course, this is based on my presumption that the official apps download the same kepub that the Sage does. If that's not true, then all bets are off, I guess.

And just to make it CRYSTAL clear, to any who think otherwise, that the issue is font rendering, I've attached another set of screenshots showing that the problem is utterly unrelated to hyphenation.
I had a similar issue with a math textbook I bought. One of the few to actually use MathML. It worked fine in the Kobo desktop app and the iOS app but would not display correctly on my Aura One as equations had symbols missing. Kobo's resolution was just a refund which I took. Don't know if they ever fixed it for that book but I can't imagine it's a high volume seller either.
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Old 01-24-2022, 01:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
Did you try the system fonts? There are three fonts intended for Japanese and Chinese use. These are much more extensive than Georgia which is used for the Publisher Font when none is specified in the book....
And having typed the comment about font handling reminds me that the kepub reader does have some fallback to the above fonts. That may mean the glyphs are missing from them as well, but, it should be tested.
If the three fonts are the ones in the attached screenshots, then yes, they too fail. Arial Unicode MS and Noto Sans both display perfectly. Perhaps the publisher should have embedded a suitable font, but I still feel that a customer should be able to expect that when they a book from from Kobo, they will be able to read it as is on any Kobo, without need of sideloaded fonts.
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Old 01-24-2022, 01:55 PM   #14
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Every cloud DOES have a silver lining, perhaps. I rang Rakuten Kobo's helpline, and got a very helpful CSR. It may well have been fortuitous that he was of South Asian origin, and quickly grasped the problem as I explained it and verified it faster than I would have expected. He escalated the issue to the QC team so that they know there's a problem with the book, and asked me if I wanted a refund. Because he was so helpful and efficient, I decided to to take the refund as store credit. It was EASILY the most competent and smooth interaction I've had with Kobo CS in the 3.5 years I've been a customer.
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Old 01-24-2022, 05:10 PM   #15
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To play devil's advocate, IPA coverage is a bit of a PITA to get right ;p.

(e.g., you can either put the blame of the publisher's side for embedding a font with insufficient coverage; or the reading system's for failing to provide adequate fallback mechanisms and fonts).

We just happen to have two or three contributors that happen to be familiar with the field in KOReader . (We seem to attract linguistics nerds ;p).

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