There’s a story going around today about the new fontface which Google released with the latest update to Google Play Books a couple weeks back.
Apparently a lot of people are just now noticing that Google has replaced the Droid Serif font in GPB with Literata. This font was commissions from Type Together, a font foundry, and looks completely different from the font it replaces:
According to Type Together, the font is only going to be used in Google Play Books. They say that “the new Play Books type is meant to establish a recognisable visual identity for Google’s native eBook App and stylistically distinguish itself from other eReader competitors”. Type Together has been working with Google for over a year to develop the new font, which includes Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic characters in regular, bold, and italic.
Given that Amazon has the Bookerly font, and Kobo has Nickel, I guess that custom fonts are the new ebook fad for the major platforms.
What a waste. While fine-tuned fonts can improve the reading experience, I’m not convinced that investing in a custom font is worth the expense. On the other hand, Apple’s approach of licensing the Helvetica Neue font as a system font on Apple devices might actually be the more expensive approach.
But given that no one has revealed their costs, it is hard to say.