Writing–Fonts in ebooks and print PDF files

It’s time to discuss another big topic: FONTS.

Confused about which ones to use? Unsure about what “embedded font” means? read on!

—Feel free to add and discuss what fonts are your favorite, and which work best for you.


I’m speaking from my own experience using Smashwords.com to create my ebook for Bleeding Heart: The downside for ebooks is that you can’t do as much with fonts. No fun experimenting with unique styles and adding your own “flavor” to your creation, which can be a let down . But that’s just the way ebooks work: they are designed so that the buyer can change the fonts, size and etc. according to their own reading preferences. But for a poetry book it can be complicated, as you cannot give each of your poems a cool and “special” look. To a degree you can, but it cannot compare to the styles of the printed version!

Basically, for ebooks, you want to use simple fonts that don’t have all the flare and curls or jagged features, if you want your book to look nice on every hand-held reading device: Times new roman, Book Antiqua, Corbel, Calibri, Garamond, Arial, to name a few. Fonts that are also not overly big or overly small, or “fancy”.

–I am basing this off of my experience using Smashwords.com to create my ebook. They have a free guide you can download on their website which explains the full process of creating and formatting an ebook according to their standards: The Smashwords Guide


I must have wasted a good hour trying to figure out where in the world the Fonts Folder was on my computer. While searching online, I kept reading: “check the fonts folder to see if the fonts you’re using are embedded”, but none would explain how to find that folder. Finally, at long last, I came to this web page which mentioned and showed me how to reach that folder: control panel, then fonts folder For those who did not know either, I hope this has been of help!

If you are, or plan to, use italics and/or bolds in your document, CHECK CONTROL PANEL, FONTS FOLDER and make sure each specific font you are using has italics, bold, and bold italics listed. If you’re not using italics/bolds then don’t worry about it. But if you are, then make sure they are listed in the fonts folder or they will not be embedded.

For example, Bell MT has: “Bell MT Bold”, “Bell MT Italic”, but NOT “Bell MT Bold Italic”.

This means I cannot use bold and italic combined—it will not be embedded—but I can still use them separately because they are listed.

TO FIND THE PERFECT FONT FOR YOU, test around with pdf files. This has been giving me a good idea of what to expect and how the final printed product will look. Some fonts will look great on Word, but then you change it to PDF and you’re like “What just happened?!” Letters will be smashed together and look weird, and even too small. I still recommend that you order a proof of your paperback book to look over, after perfecting your PDF.

I have been experimenting with a variety of fonts for the printed version of my poetry book “Bleeding Heart”. Each poem has a unique feel and needs its own style, so I have been trying a wide variety of Word’s fonts. It is interesting—and frustrating—to see which ones work and which ones fail.

Here is a list of some fonts I have finally decided to use for the print ready poems PDF file; some of them I had to increase the size, for easier readability, but these italics and bolds are embedded:

  • Garamond
  • Calibri
  • High Tower Text
  • Bell MT
  • Segoe UI
  • Perpetua
  • Century Gothic
  • Corbel

For the “titles” and poems which had no need for italic or bold settings, I used various other fonts. But I had to doubly make sure there were no hidden italicized words before I clicked SAVE AS and under the SAVE AS TYPE tab chose: PDF, saving the document as a pdf file (using Word 2010).

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To prepare my book for printing I used Walton’s guide build-your-book.pdf –there is a section about FONTS, if you need more info.

Still need help on embedding fonts and PDF files? Here are some discussion threads which reading through may help you find answers: forums.createspace and forums.adobe

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