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AAUP 2015: Fonts in E-Books Panel Outline

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Outline for the panel "Fonts in E-Books" at AAUP 2015 in Denver, CO on Friday, June 19.

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AAUP 2015: Fonts in E-Books Panel Outline

  1. 1. Fonts in E-books Pick Your Poison ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  2. 2. Book Industry Study Group recommendations https://www.bisg.org/publications/field-guide-fonts-ebooks
  3. 3. Problems and Solutions • Problems call for solutions. • Every solution introduces its own problems. • The challenge is deciding which problems to solve, and which to live with.
  4. 4. Introduction • Rendering • Fonts and typography • Display and delivery ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  5. 5. Panelists • Mark Fretz, Scribe Inc. • Eileen Reilly, Princeton University Press • Dan Ochsner, University of Minnesota Press • Tim Roberts, Modern Language Initiative and Field Editorial • Clark Matthews, Independent Publishers Group ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  6. 6. Topics 1. Font options: Current state of affairs and future possibilities (licensing issues, legacy fonts) ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  7. 7. 2. Fonts behaving badly: How technology affects font display in e-books ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  8. 8. 3. Typesetting and creating e-books: Font issues when designing for multiple formats ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  9. 9. 4. BIDI (bi-directionality) in e-books ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  10. 10. 5. Unicode in e-books (e.g., MathML) ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  11. 11. What We’ve Learned ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  12. 12. Illustration of the BIDI Problem • Open file named SampleText-illustrated.epub in Readium, Azardi, an iPad, or other tablet. • Open this same file in Adobe Digital Editions
  13. 13. Takeaways 1. Problems • Problems are associate with the condition of source files (e.g., PDF, InDesign, print) being converted to ePub format. • Problems are related to font choices made prior to e-book conversion. • Problems relate to the substance of the content (e.g., non-Latin scripts, diacritics, spacing, math symbols). • Problems can arise even when source code and markup is perfect (e.g., due to hardware and software configurations and end-user behavior). • Problems can be introduced in the conversion process that did not exist in the source files (e.g., human error in keying or coding). • Problems may have nothing to do with technology (e.g., licensing, end-user behavior). • Tofu alerts us to a font problem—that something is digitally missing and perhaps relegated to the analog domain. • By default, e-reader devices tend not to use the font specified by the publisher, even if it is embedded. ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  14. 14. 2. Solutions • BISG Field Guide to Fonts for E-Books is a good place to start the search for solutions. • Nip e-book font issues in the bud, by anticipating them during the production of the first iteration of the content (e.g., design for print). • When it comes to solving font problems, the CSS is your best friend. Use the @font-face declarative rule to control font display and direction. • Embedding a font may be required because of the typographical significance of the content. • Changing fonts may solve some problems (e.g., use a different font in the e-book than was used in the print edition), but could simultaneously introduce others. • Open access fonts can improve font interoperability, but free does not always work. • Sometimes embedding a proprietary font is the only solution, even though it may cost more than alternative solutions. • Fixed layout, rather than dynamic and reflowable e-book design, can help control font issues. • Play around with alternative solutions and try them out in multiple display environments. • Some solutions create new problems (e.g., Google’s Noto Sans CJK font). ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  15. 15. 3. Limitations • Hardware defines font display possibilities. • Software and operation systems place limitations on font display possibilities. • End-user behavior and comprehension of how devices work are beyond the publisher’s control. • Creating a universal font is certainly not about “making the reading experience beautiful.” • Sometimes the most practical solution is not the ideal solution (e.g., using an image rather than Unicode characters for specific fonts, opting for a web- ready PDF rather than ePub). • Multiple typefaces may be required to meet some language or symbol needs. • When images are used instead of characters to represent fonts, you have to accept the display limitations that come with using images. • End-user tolerance for variation in display between print and electronic editions, and even between display on multiple electronic devices, is unpredictable. ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  16. 16. 4. Recommended best practices • Make sure the CSS accommodates all embedded fonts and it includes declarative rules to control font choice and display. • Make sure the fonts you choose to embed include the full character set for display (e.g., bold, italic, symbols, entities). • Create and rigorously adhere to a quality control (QC) procedure, which includes a checklist of known and previously experienced font problems. See BISG’s Field Guide to Fonts for E- Books (pp. 27–29) for a good starter checklist. • Effective QC of fonts requires subject competence (e.g., math equations). The person doing the QC must be able to read and understand the font (e.g., Chinese, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Sanskrit, Cyrillic). And that person should have fresh eyes; i.e., not have reviewed the content prior to performing QC. • When using images for glyphs, adjust the size for optimal display in the widest range of environments. • Build accessibility standards into your font choices and solutions. • Implement a company-wide font management policy and system for tracking the licensing and use of fonts across all formats of a given book or journal’s life. • Employ font obfuscation and subsetting as means of protecting font copyrights. • Conform to font standards for e-books (e.g., OpenType standard, ISO Open Font Format standard). • Consult with your distributors before you deliver your e-book files to them. ©2015 Scribe Inc.
  17. 17. Send us your best practices mfretz@scribenet.com ©2015 Scribe Inc.

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