I get Times font when I want Arial

I prepared my binder document using a blank template, using Arial font throughout. After compiling for Kindle eBook .mobi format, the product in the Kindle Previewer always first appears in Times font (or Times Roman, I can’t tell the difference). It doesn’t make any difference whether I use Format As: Original, or Format As: Custom. When I use Format As: Custom the font in the text window is Arial, but greyed out. When I check the box Override text and notes formatting, I can select a font, its size, colour etc, for Title and for Text using the menu bar above the text window, and that selection is visible there. Only in the case of the Kindle e-ink device is there choice of different font faces – not Arial, but that’s okay, Helvetica is similar, and Palatino is acceptable, but that’s up to the person on the other end. Is there a way for Arial to be the default font upon compilation?

I’m not sure if I follow what you are looking for. As I think you have noticed, it doesn’t really matter what font you choose yourself, because the reader’s preferences are ultimately going to be controlling that, and even if the reader is using a device that supports publisher formatting, you can’t select fonts that the device itself doesn’t have installed. So what is it you are looking for, as a default setting?

As for the various “Format As” options, the real magic is in the compile settings themselves. These are presets, and in this case “Original” is just the basic standard preset which (with one or two exceptions) essentially just prints out your manuscript as-is (assuming the format you are exporting to is even capable of the formatting you see in the editor). Custom isn’t anything in particular, except to mean that you’ve changed an option somewhere, and your compile settings are no longer strictly governed by a preset. You have customised the settings.

So I suppose to answer your question literally, if you want to make Arial your default you could set up the override formatting option and change the text to Arial, then save that as a preset, and choose that instead of “Original”. Again though, this all assumes the actual export format is capable of expressing the format options you have chosen. In the case of e-books, the answer is very often “no”, since so much is left up to the individual reader’s preferences, and font choices are much more limited on mobile devices and dedicated readers.

Thank you for that explanation. I think my problem is that I have been working in iBooks.author too long, and in translating to other eBook formats, Kindle (.mobi) format was the first. I am a bit astonished at the lack of choice here. The only Kindle model that allows any other font than Times is the black and white e-ink edition. Fire, Fire HD, and iOS editions (iPhone and iPad) are Times only for goodness sake. Anyway I can now stop trying to bang my head against the wall on that one. I won’t even bother to ask about the option of right ragged justification. The answer lies deep within the Kindle genes I conclude, correct me if I am wrong. I like Format As: Original best, since at least I have control over variation of font size and colour, important for “text box” type text in my document.

Hmm, in fact the Fire varieties, and Paperwhite model offer a choice of eight or so different fonts on the actual devices themselves. The simulator may not represent this as it doesn’t simulate the full UI, only the text rendering engine. The iOS applet will provide about six or eight fonts to choose from as well. The older Kindles generally did not have any font family options, just display options like justification, margins and line-height. At any rate, Amazon and many other e-book device and software designers come from a different tradition than Apple, where e-reader software is reader centric, not publisher centric. This may change in the future, but you will find that many ePub and Mobi based devices ultimately provide a large amount of presentation control to the software doing the rendering, not you. It can be frustrating, especially coming from a print background, but as a reader I actually do appreciate that. I definitely have font preferences (I for one would die if I had to read an entire book printed in Arial, no offence!) as well as line-spacing and other such things that I prefer. I’ve played with the publisher mode before on books that allow it, and nearly always I prefer what I prefer more than whatever the publisher preferred. I’m the one spending a month staring at the text and reading the book after all. :slight_smile:

Your observations about the limitations of the UI of the Kindle Previewer were very interesting and helpful. Thanks.

Here are a couple of notes about this matter, though this is about the Kindle specifically and not Scriv.

  1. Reading a version of complete Sherlock Holmes on my non-touch Kindle with ads, The chapter titles are serif, but the body text is sans serif (or like your Ariel). This is the case no matter what I choose in my font options on my Kindle and it is most annoying to me, as I find serif fonts (like your Times/TNR) much easier to read. For one thing, a word like corner' really looks like comer’ in small sans serif type. But whoever formatted this Kindle edition made it so that it removed the choice of the body text font; all I can do is change the size and line spacing.

  2. Awhile back Joe Konrath and Blake Crouch offered a number of their Kindle editions for free, so i pulled them down. On on (I believe it was from Crouch) in the prefatory material was the note that this edition had embedded its own font, and I could if I wish choose to employ that font on my Kindle. I found the option under the choose font settings for that book, switched to the publisher-supplied font, and then some formatted pages and headers looked a lot better - they had clearly been designed with this font in mind.

So Amazon does offer this kind of choice to publisher, I believe it is a feature of the new KF8 format - the one that moves on from the mobipocket origins of the Kindle file formats. There are probably instructions on the kindle publishing web pages as to how to do these tricks, but if Scrivener does not support them, then you will have to work them manually or with another software application post-compiling from Scrivener.

One problem with this is that older Kindles, that were not updated to firmware that can interpret KF8 files, will not show your font choice. As I understand it, Amazon is outputting Kindle files as hybrids, including both KF7 and KF8 formats, though possibly older, less-capable Kindles only get the KF7 format.

Going forward a few years, I can see Amazon abandoning the mobipocket base entirely, at which point it would probably be safe for Keith and company to include font embedding and overrides in the Scrivener compile options for ebook Kindle.

  • asotir

A follow-up: I just made some tests, and if you compile your Scrivener project as an epub ebook, you can then open the epub using freeware Sigil, and modify the stylesheets to include font-family: Arial, sans-serif.

This gave me, in the Kindle Previewer on the Mac OSX, sans-serif (I presume Arial) on all devices except the iOS iPad and iPhone. Kindle eInk and Kindle Fires all showed the sans-serif Arial font.

So you can do that if you want, and urge your readers on iPad and iPhone to buy the iBooks version instead of the Kindle.

  • asotir