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

13976337138_b4e6780bb7_h 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

 

 

 

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Comments


Muratcan Simsek 24 April, 2016 um 2:05 am

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

Nate Hoffelder 24 April, 2016 um 6:42 am

That’s a new one for me, thanks!

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

Muratcan Simsek 24 April, 2016 um 8:01 am

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?

Nate Hoffelder 24 April, 2016 um 10:43 am

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 It’s getting a little out of date, though.

Nate Hoffelder 30 April, 2016 um 9:26 am

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.


Anne 24 April, 2016 um 10:49 am

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.


Install your own fonts on Kobo: More flexible than $290 Kindle 24 April, 2016 um 11:04 am

[…] 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 […]


Purple lady 24 April, 2016 um 3:37 pm

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

Nate Hoffelder 24 April, 2016 um 3:57 pm

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


DavidW 24 April, 2016 um 11:53 pm

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.

Nate Hoffelder 25 April, 2016 um 6:10 am

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.

Muratcan Simsek 25 April, 2016 um 8:05 am

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.

Nate Hoffelder 25 April, 2016 um 8:14 am

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


How to Find Free and Open Source Fonts for E-ink Screens | The Digital Reader 4 May, 2016 um 12:12 am

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BobJax 11 February, 2017 um 12:16 pm

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!

Nate Hoffelder 11 February, 2017 um 3:45 pm

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.

poiboy 11 February, 2017 um 4:12 pm

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.


BobJax 11 February, 2017 um 9:17 pm

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


Jacques 1 March, 2017 um 6:32 am

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.


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[…] 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 […]


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Todd 21 June, 2021 um 1:04 pm

I like Kobo Nickel, though I tend to use Caecilia or Averia Serif.

To properly compare them, you need to show a passage that has books and italics etc. For example, on my e-reader (a Kobo) Amazon Ember incorrectly renders italics text bold instead. I’m not sure why Amazon would do that. Bizarre. I.e. it makes the font unusable for book text.


Bingo 10 August, 2021 um 4:15 am

Thanks! For me, Bookerly is a definite improvement over the fonts that came on my Kobo.


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