Serif, Sans Serif and Monospaced fonts in epubs

I realize that compiling to an epub is very limiting regarding formatting, but can I at least choose between a Serif and a Sans Serif font as my default? I’ll take whatever font is on their computer, forget about embedding anything. I also realize that the end user can override everything on their reader.

How about mixing the two on one page? Say, a title in Sans Serif (Arial) and text in Serif (Palatino)? Can this be done within Scrivener? None of my styles are working when I compile to epub. (the sizing does, but not the font family) I seem to remember doing this when I coded ebooks via html back in the day.

If not, how about just a monospace font somewhere? What do I need to do to make some text monospace within Scrivener?

If you want to use a monospaced font, you should just be able to use a fixed pitch font (such as Courier), and that will get set to “monospace” when exporting to Epub.

All the best,

But what about all Serif vs Sans Serif? All is lost when you hit compile?

It seems weird that the standards Gods never wanted to see a page with an Arial title with Serif text.

Someone on here mentioned editing the epub after the fact with something like Sigil ebook editor. Anyone weigh in on Amazon/iTunes/Kobo/Smashwords rejecting epubs that have such font family “hacks”? (or is this something specific to Scrivener?)

Although it’s technically possible to tell HTML to use a “sans serif” font (ebooks being based on HTML), ebook readers all seem to ignore this from my own testing. Besides, much of the point of e-readers is that the user can choose his or her preferred font for reading. To this end, all e-readers have two fonts: the main reading font and a monospace font for things such as code blocks. The user may be able to choose between variants for these two fonts, but they are determined by the reader or e-reader, and not by the book itself.

Now, it is in fact possible to embed fonts into ebooks, so that the e-reader displays the font embedded in the ebook instead of the default font of the device. Scrivener does not allow for this, however, so you would have to use a third-party solution if you wanted to embed fonts. There’s a good reason for this: to embed a font, you’ll need a licence, and that you will have to pay good money. You can’t just embed the fonts available on your machine - they can be used for many things, but not for redistribution in the form of being embedded in an ebook.

So, for instance, if you want Arial to be included in your ebook, you would need to buy a licence, for instance from for £60 per book title (that’s cheap compared to many fonts). If Scrivener made it easy to embed fonts, we’d have users inadvertently breaking licence agreements.

All the best,

As someone who does all her reading on ebooks, I’ve got to say, forcing a font on me is a big mistake and will ensure you book doesn’t get bought or read. One of many advantages of ebooks is the ability for the reader to set her own preference as to font - and font size and line spacing, etc.

Right. What I have in my novel are passages that represent electronic devices. (text message and emails) I want to them to look different, so they don’t appear coming from the (1st person) narrator.

I guess I’m stuck using a monospace font to illustrate that - even though it looks so 70’s.

The only other alternative is to use a third-party tool and embed a sans serif font to which you have the rights to distribute in ebooks. Even if you do that, though, if the user has chosen to use a sans serif font for the rest of the text, it may not appear as different as you hope. Apple Books, for instance, comes with two sans serif fonts that the user may choose for their main text.

All the best,