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Why can I not change fonts on some books?


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Showing 1-25 of 49 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 24, 2012 8:45:17 PM PDT
Brian Hall says:
Some books seem to be locked into a font I don't like. Why am I not able to change them to a better font? I don't care if the author likes a certain screwy font. I should have control over it.

Posted on Oct 24, 2012 9:41:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 24, 2012 9:43:34 PM PDT
Because those books are older topaz format instead of newer AZW format. You can't change the font type with the topaz format, although you can still change the font size. If you look at the content of Kindle with your computer, you will notice that the books with the older topaz format has .tpz extension while the newer AZW format has .AZW extension.

Posted on Oct 24, 2012 9:54:10 PM PDT
Kribu says:
Or if Brian has a Paperwhite, it could be any number of books in the new azw3 / KF8 format. Many people have had that problem on their Paperwhites with various books - it lets you move the font selection dot around but it won't actually change the font (and there is no "turn off publisher font" option either). I've had that happen with at least two books already, both azw3.

If it's an azw3 issue on the Paperwhite, there will hopefully be an update in the not too far future that will solve this. If it's about Topaz books, one is stuck with the fonts, though.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 10:03:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 24, 2012 10:15:12 PM PDT
Which azw3 books do you have that you can't change the font type?

Note: It seems strange to me that the newest Kindle model doesn't work with those files.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 10:23:59 PM PDT
Kribu says:
Several. DD Barant's Dying Bites was one I can remember off-hand. There have been at least two threads about this issue / threads where it's been talked about, and people mentioned a lot of examples, all different books.

It seems there is some sort of a bigger problem, not necessarily just with a handful of book files.

In my case, both books where I had the problem would only display in Caecilia no matter what font I chose. I don't know if Caecilia was the publisher's default font or not - it might be there is a problem with some azw3 books where the book doesn't display in publisher font either but just defaults to Caecilia and refuses to be displayed in anything else.

I don't know how common the problem is as I've mostly read sideloaded / converted / non-Amazon-bought books on my Paperwhite so far, and of course they've all been okay as font changing goes. But considering there were quite a few people already talking about this, it's not an isolated issue.

I'm fairly confident it will get fixed in some update, but it does look like Amazon is still trying to get the whole azw3 font issue figured out in general - there have been all those problems with too small font sizes on previous azw3-capable Kindles etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 11:34:28 PM PDT
Brian Hall says:
One book that has the problem on the Paperwhite was a special today. "The Great Crash of 1929". I just opened it on my Fire HD and it displays in a better font there, but also won't let me change it. It looks like some type of bad Helvetica font on the Paperwhite and some type of Serif font on the Fire HD.

Posted on Oct 24, 2012 11:38:40 PM PDT
Brian Hall says:
I just found another book with a bad font. "The Complete Atopia Chronicles" by Matthew Mather. It is displaying in a Helvetica type font on the Fire HD and won't let me change it. Just opened it on the Paperwhite and it is displaying in the same font and again won't let me change it.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012 3:15:19 AM PDT
Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy, by Ken Follett. Seems stuck on Caecilia when viewed on the Paperwhite. It's an azw3 K8 format sample, and I think it's probably coded incorrectly.

There was a post in the Kindle Publisher forum about a problem that occurs when a book is generated from a Microsoft Word document. Apparently Word leaves font tags embedded, which must be removed to prevent this issue. Not sure if that's what happened with the Follett book, but it shows that this problem can be caused by the way the book is coded/formatted.

I emailed Penguin Publishing, who replied that they're looking in to it. Not solved yet.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012 6:03:09 AM PDT
Polperro says:
Other books with this problem: Capital, by John Lanchester, at leastvthe first two and presumably all of the Patrick O'Brian Aubtry/ Maturin series (Norton is the publisher on all the above); Inspector Faro's Casebook, by Alanna Knight (published by Amazon Digital Services!), and The Devil's Trill, by Gerald Elias (don't remember the publisher). All default to what seems to be Caecilia and can't be changed. All are fine on the Kindle Touch, although some have the same problem on the 2011 Basic.
The Patrick O'Brian series is especially annoying. 21 books that I got when they were on special offer a few months ago, and now no Helvetica (my go-to font) to read them with on the Paperwhite.
I was told by Tier2 Kindle CS that this would be investigated but have heard nothing. CS tried a few of my titles on a Pw, with the same result.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012 7:52:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 25, 2012 7:52:59 AM PDT
That book also has a far more serious problem, http://www.amazon.com/gp/community-content-search/results/ref=cm_srch_q_rtr/?query=kindle&search-alias=community-reviews&Go.x=0&Go.y=0&idx.asin=B003ZSIT1Q misspellings, missing words, and other copy errors

Posted on Oct 25, 2012 3:58:21 PM PDT
lcook0825 says:
I have a Kindle Touch and I can change the real font on all the Cooper Collection by Bill Bernico.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012 8:04:04 PM PDT
andrew says:
I have a book where I can change the font on my iPhone, but as with the other commenter, I can choose whichever button I want on the kindle fire and the font remains the same.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012 8:34:04 PM PDT
MamaSody says:
Now I'm wondering what I've been missing. I didn't know that changing the font type was an option for all the books. I have the basic Kindle, and I've only been able to change the font size...except for a couple of books by the same author. And I really like the font type that was used in those books.

I'm off to find out what's wrong with my Kindle....or if it's just me.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012 9:59:56 PM PDT
I just started a book on which I not only can't change the font, but the font is so teeny tiny that I had to put it on the largest setting in order to read it at all. The size of the type on the largest setting is about what setting *one* looks like on most books! Firecracker

Perhaps it is fortunate that: a) I got it free, and b) so far I'm not liking it all that much and may not be reading it for long...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 10:21:20 AM PDT
Nobody says:
I had trouble with a personal document last night. I typed it in 12 point Times New Roman. Had to set it on the second to last size to read it, and partway through I encountered a section that was in Helvetica HUGE Helvetica. Maybe it's one of those surprises Word likes to tuck into its program.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 10:26:28 AM PDT
Kribu says:
On the Basic Kindle, you should have the option to use default font (which is Caecilia, a serif font), condensed font (condensed Caecilia) and sans-serif font (not sure what is used). Unless the book is in topaz format, it should be possible for you to choose between those three types in addition to font size. At least this is how it works on my Kindle 3 (Keyboard) and I think this is true for Basic Kindle and Kindle Touch, too.

The Paperwhite has three more font options and they actually have added font names to the menu.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2012 3:43:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 30, 2012 3:43:58 PM PDT
A. Wright says:
I believe this is also an Amazon issue. I have this problem with many (maybe all) books I've encountered on my Kindle Touch and Paperwhite that were published through their Kindle Publishing Platform. I've talked to authors about it, and the formatting was fine when they uploaded and previewed. (Their preview files look great on my Kindles.) I complained to Amazon because I read a lot of KDP books. Amazon said it's a known problem that they are attempting to fix.

ETA: This particular problem that I discussed with Amazon does not occur on all Kindle types.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2012 4:34:42 PM PDT
Nobody says:
Hmm, that's odd. I wonder why it wouldn't be the same across the whole family of Kindles. That must drive the authors batty.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2012 8:15:41 PM PDT
andrew says:
Amazon is referring this to the publisher-they think it has something to do with the choices they made when they published the book to kindle.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2012 12:53:06 AM PDT
Rose Noire says:
That makes sense. The only books I've has this problem with so far have been ebooks by the same author; I wouldn't be surprised if she used the Kindle Publishing Platform.

Is there any workaround? Maybe using Calibre to save the books in a different format?

Posted on Oct 31, 2012 1:41:16 AM PDT
Dorsie says:
It's writers and publishers thinking that a certain font they happen to like will make a bad book better. It doesn't. It makes it a returned book, and you can specify that in your reason for return.

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 12:22:10 PM PST
MOM2JTV says:
I have had this problem on indie books mostly.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 12:38:30 PM PST
A. Wright says:
I don't think there's a workaround at this point. Unfortunately, the files are fine when uploaded. Then Amazon does a conversion and offers the author a preview file to send to their Kindle. In theory, the preview represents the final version that customers will receive..except it doesn't. The author could run the preview through Calibre, but then Amazon would do another conversion, and again the preview file wouldn't be the true end product.

I do some publishing myself, and I've tried changing the features of my file before uploading. It hasn't helped. I imagine a lot of authors don't even realize there's an issue, as they'd have to (1) purchase their own book and (2) view it on one of the devices that have this issue. Why would they purchase the book when they already have the preview version? It's supposed to be the same.

After noticing the issue on friends' books, I purchased all the books I've published. All have problems on the Kindle Touch and Kindle Paperwhite, but are great on my phone, my tablet, and my sister's Fire. (Luckily, I'll be working with a distributor soon, and I'll no longer have to use KDP, but it stinks for other authors/publishers--and for their customers.)

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 4:41:28 PM PST
I have been noticing this problem with more and more books I've been reading on my PW. The text is just plain tiny. It is better with non-Indy books, but even then I am having to use the third and second largest font settings for almost every book. And it is a good thing I prefer the Caecelia font because more often than not the font can't be changed :-).

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 9:34:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 9, 2012 9:40:32 PM PST
Vmurph says:
The font issue that Brian and Susan Umpleby are having, is because those books are formatted as KF8 books (.azw3). I have the Atopia Chronicles as well, and it is indeed a KF8 book.

KF8 is a fairly new format that supports embedded fonts. With those books you can change the size, but not the typeface or the line spacing. Ever since the Kindle Keyboard's recent firmware update a couple of weeks ago, *ALL* Kindle devices now, except for the K1 and K2, support KF8 books.

The problem is, the Kindles seem to have a problem displaying these books properly. I don't know if it's a bug in the firmware, or what, but the line spacing is too wide and can't be changed. Some worse than others, some not so bad. But an even worse problem is that some books display with a font so tiny that it's almost illegible.

Amazon CS will tell you that KF8 books should have an extra option that allows you to "turn off publisher fonts", however in most cases the option does not exist, because the decision to include it is up to the publisher (or author). Unfortunately, the whole purpose of embedded fonts is to force the reader to view the book in the font that the publisher chooses, so allowing us to turn off publisher fonts sort of defeats that purpose. So most don't include the option.

I personally hate KF8 books because almost all of them are published with a serif font and I abhor reading serif fonts. It just bothers my brain, for some reason.

Luckily there is a solution for all of the above. Just use Calibre to convert the files to mobi files, and the embedded formatting will be stripped. However, mobi files don't support page syncing between devices. BUT, you can email the mobi file to your device with the word "convert" in the subject line, and the file will be converted to a regular AZW file, so syncing will be once again supported :)
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  22
Total posts:  49
Initial post:  Oct 24, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 26, 2013

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