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Field Guide to Fonts for E-Books

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Book designers have been leveraging the power of typefaces for printed books for more than 560 years to convey mood, message, and branding—purposes that are no less applicable on-screen. The introduction of typesetting for digital books has demanded a shift in the roles, processes, and skill sets needed by book designers, no less dramatic than the transition to desktop publishing in the 1980's.

The use of custom fonts in digital books has begun to show promise, but as this guide explains, ensuring your custom fonts will display correctly on the myriad of devices and reading systems available to consumers takes thought and careful planning. BISG's Content Structure Committee created theField Guide to Fonts for Ebooks to help designers make the best choices when selecting and styling type for digital publications.

Topics include:

  • How to select the best front for your purposes
  • Guidelines for embedding, obfuscating, and subsetting fonts
  • Styling and special characters
  • Using fonts legally: font licenses and protection
  • Best Practices for quality assurance testing
  • Troubleshooting common problems
  • Reading system standards and how they apply to fonts
  • Resources, training, and more...

Field Guide to Fonts for EBooks was prepared for the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) by members of the Content Structure Committee’s Fonts Working Group.

Edited by Lucy Albanese, HarperCollins Publishers and Julie Morris, BISG.

Copyedited by Patricia Fogarty.


Bill Kasdorf, Apex CoVantage
Karina Luke, Book Industry Communication
Julie Morris, Book Industry Study Group
Heather Reid, Copyright Clearance Center
Thomas Phinney, Extensis
Joshua Tallent, Firebrand Technologies
Garth Conboy, Google
Liz Kessler, Hachette Book Group USA
Chris Mitchell, Hachette Book Group USA
Lucy Albanese, HarperCollins Publishers
Laura Albert, John Wiley & Sons
Ben Dugas, Kobo
Robert Kasher, Macmillan Publishing Solutions
Paul O’Neill, MarkLogic
Nancy Singer, Nancy Singer Design
Bob Anderson, Penguin Random House
Sara Dayton, Penguin Random House
David Haase, Penguin Random House
Andew Peltcs, Penguin Random House
Adam Royce, Penguin Random House
Dan Sanicola, Penguin Random House
Samantha Cohen, Simon and Schuster
James Yanchak, Taylor and Francis
Steve Kotrch

© 2014, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. All rights reserved. ISBN 978-1-936757-31-2


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