Serif vs San Serif font in epub

Some Kindle books use serif fonts while others use non serif. I thought serif was the default (I haven’t changed my Kindle app font). Here are two examples (you can check the free samples):

1.) Large non serif font: … 671&sr=8-1

2.) regular size serif font: … opywriting

How is book 1 able to force a nice sized serif font? Is that something I can set initially in Scrivener?

Book 1 also does not indent paragraphs and there is a blank line between each paragraph. All of this makes for a great looking book that is easy to read. But this layout is rare among ebooks.

I don’t think there is a standard on formatting but I’ve read over and over that all except the first chapter paragraph should be indented and no blank lines between paragraphs. This is what most ebooks look like.

If I want to do a larger non serif font, no paragraph indents and use a blank line between each paragraph, is there any reason I shouldn’t? Will the ebook reader change any of that?

I haven’t looked at the odd one closely, but my guess is that it uses the older Topaz format that is deprecated now, rather than Mobi. Books in this format can perform more slowly, use a font that cannot otherwise be selected on Kindles, and often have a “scanned” look to them. It isn’t something you want to intentionally do, just an artefact of old catalogues Amazon purchased years ago.

As for indentation/spacing style choices, that is all up to you.

Thanks. That makes sense because I notice the little spinny wheel icon shows up in the non serif book above more than any others I’ve been reading on Kindle. Actually, I haven’t noticed the spinny icon in other books (with serif fonts) on Kindle.

In your opinion, are the any advantages/disadvantages between going indent vs non indent and line between paragraph vs not?

Maybe it is just me but non indent and line between paragraph reads way better. The other format looks so crammed.

You’ll find strong opinions on either side of the argument for whether paragraph spacing is superior to first-line indents, which is a good indicator that it’s a subjective argument. :slight_smile: Almost everyone agrees you shouldn’t mix the two together, but as to which method is better that is just up to taste. Using indents has also been preferred in publishing because it reduces printing cost—all of those empty lines cost paper—this isn’t a factor on e-books naturally.

This is a good point. If the ebook across various formats (Amazon, IBookstore, B&N, Kobo) use no indents and space between paragraphs, that is consistent. But if the printed version uses indents and no space between paragraphs, I view that as inconsistent.

Or do you think it is ok for the ebook format to have a different layout from the same printed book format? They are different reading experiences. But if anyone bothered to notice (and maybe a lot of people would notice), it would be inconsistent.

I think it is absolutely okay for the e-book version to be formatting differently from the print version. There are certain things we do in print that are a benefit of being able to know exactly what each reader will be seeing on a page. If you know what the page looks like, you can do things like adding “* * *” between scenes at the bottom of a page, but otherwise using a larger blank space to indicate a scene break in the middle of the page. You can’t really do that in e-book publishing because the page size will be different for large groups of people. So with e-books, I believe it is better to use a strong marker between scenes, even if that method is a bit out of style right now in print publishing. Now I realise that example is not applicable to you, but I think the general principle holds true for non-fiction as well. The e-book format just isn’t quite as sophisticated as print publishing yet, and it will likely be a while before it is, so there may be some things it is better to do in an e-book that you ordinarily wouldn’t consider with print publication.

All of that is a rather abstract conversation though. I suppose what you can take from that is: yeah, go for the look you want with the e-book. Make it look as good as you can, it’s great to have people care about how the e-book looks. I wished more publishers did.