How to install Bookerly, Ember, Roboto, and Other Fonts on Kobo eReaders

How to install Bookerly, Ember, Roboto, and Other Fonts on Kobo eReaders e-Reading Software Font Tips and Tricks Thursday's news about Amazon's new font, Ember, inspired me to go find instructions on how to install it on an ereader.

While you can't install custom fonts on a Kindle or a Fire tablet without hacking them, it's relatively easy to  install fonts on Kobo ereaders.

Sidenote: Did you know you can embed a font in a Kindle KF8 file? The short version is that you need to make an Epub file with the embedded font, and then use Kindle Previewer to convert that Epub file to a Kindle ebook.

The above Epub trick also works to get a font on to a Kobo device, if you like. But embedding a font in an ebook is a hassle, and fortunately we don't have to bother with that step to load a font on to a Kobo ereader.

The process could not be simpler.

  • Simply plug your Kobo device into your computer over USB, and then use your computer to create a new folder called fonts in the root folder of the device.
  • Note that the folder must be named fonts, with an "s", or the device won't see it.
  • Copy all the font files into that folder. A font family usually comes in sets of four, and they all have to have similar names otherwise they won't all be found by the device.

If you're looking for fonts, I have posted a copy of the Bookerly and Ember fonts (with Amazon's indifference, if not outright permission). You can also find additional fonts over at MobileRead (where I found the instructions).

Once you have installed the fonts, you should be able to select them from the font (Aa) menu from inside an ebook.

Here are a few screenshots of fonts I tested this evening:

Of the four, I think I like Bookerly the most. The Kobo Nickel font wastes too much space, and I am ambivalent to Ember and Roboto.

Which font do you like?

image by p_a_h

 

 

 

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

21 Comments

  1. Muratcan Simsek24 April, 2016

    There is this one, specifically designed for e-ink: http://www.huertatipografica.com/en/fonts/bitter-ht

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder24 April, 2016

      That’s a new one for me, thanks!

      And while we’re on the topic, here’s another font designed fro E-ink (Isidore).

      Reply
      1. Muratcan Simsek24 April, 2016

        I modified that one =)

        eInk has some special requirements for typefaces. Thankfully, they are mostly basic variables like line spacing, weight, metadata&filenames, format and hinting.

        Maybe a webpage that hosts eInk-compatible modifications of open source fonts would be useful?

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder24 April, 2016

          One of the MobileRead links leads to a page like that. It’s getting a little out of date, though.

          Reply
        2. Nate Hoffelder30 April, 2016

          I’m trying to pull together a bundle of fonts and I am finding that most of the fonts modified for E-ink aren’t open licensed.

          Reply
  2. Anne24 April, 2016

    Of your 4 examples, I agree that Bookerly looks best. I normally use Charis Modified, though.

    Also, via Calibre, one can embed a font in an AZW3 file, and load that right into a Kindle. No need for the previewer.

    Reply
  3. […] not all. This weekend I ran across an item in The Digital Reader. It pointed to some MobileRead posts, and they in effect remind us that Kobo offers another […]

    Reply
  4. Purple lady24 April, 2016

    Did you use the Roboto regular or medium in your screenshot? It’s much darker and easier to read than the others.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder24 April, 2016

      I got it from the collection at MobileRead. I think that one had been reworked, yes.

      Reply
  5. DavidW24 April, 2016

    I’m not sure why Kobo Nickel was chosen for comparison. Georgia is the default font on Kobo devices.

    It’s good to have instructions on how to install fonts, thanks for posting that.

    I prefer Palatino on kindle devices, Malabar on kobo and nook devices, and Baskerville in print.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder25 April, 2016

      Because it’s Kobo’s own font. This is their ideal, so i thought it would be good to share it in comparison.

      In point of fact, I hate it. There’s too much wasted space between the lines.

      Reply
      1. Muratcan Simsek25 April, 2016

        The weird thing is even I can solve that linespacing problem in 3-5 minutes at most. I wonder why they still didn’t?

        The font files on the device in encrypted, so we can’t solve it ourselves.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder25 April, 2016

          I can only conclude that they must have decided that was the ideal.

          Reply
  6. […] weekend I posted instructions on how to install fonts on a Kobo ereader, and at the request of a reader I have now pulled together a collection of fonts which users can […]

    Reply
  7. BobJax11 February, 2017

    Ok, I admit I am a newbie to acquiring new fonts. I am writing a book and I want to use Bookerly. How would I get that font into my computer to use it to type with?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder11 February, 2017

      I don’t know about macOS, but with Windows I think it is as simple as deZIPping the archive, right-clicking the font in question, and then selecting the “install” option.

      Reply
    2. poiboy11 February, 2017

      to install in MacOS, its very simple. unzip the font download so that you see .ttf or .otf files in the folder. open up Fontbook in your applications. simple drag and drop the ttf/otf files right into fontbook’s viewer. presto.. your fonts are installed.

      Reply
  8. BobJax11 February, 2017

    Thanks for the install info. I will try it in Windows.

    Reply
  9. Jacques1 March, 2017

    I have been using OpenDyslexic (http://opendyslexic.org/) for a long time now.
    Even though I have no disylexia, I find this font very comfortable, I recommend it to everyone.

    Reply
  10. […] You can add a font to a Kobo ereader by simply copying the font files over to the device (I even posted instructions – it's that […]

    Reply
  11. […] we can adjust line heights to the optimum setting for our reading comfort, and we can even install the font of our […]

    Reply

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