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What's the best font for an ebook?


I read an article recently that said that Garamond Pro is a good one for default, if not buying other higher end fonts. I played around with a few and I have to be honest that I really do like the way Garamond looks. What do you guys think? Either in print or in ebook format.

Michael Burke

New Member
I just received a notice from Amazon about my ebook: The size of the body text in your book is forced, causing it to be larger or smaller than standard text sizes. They don't bother saying how to correct this! Can anyone help? Thanks in advance


Myth Weaver

Since this one popped up on my browsing, I think I will comment on this here.

The question above is not about what font is best to put things in print in, it is about what font to use for those reading off a screen. There are many fonts that are good for screen reading. In the past there used to be five internet friendly fonts, but I am sure that has expanded a bit. Those were Arial, Verdana, Comic Sans, Courier, and Trebuchet. At present, many places use Helvetica for their website designs. Helvetica is what MS is in.

Why do web designers use these fonts?

To be a good web/screen font, the font needs a number of features. One is that it is installed on most PC's that will be viewing it. If one uses a weird font, like Furtura, there is a good chance it is not on other peoples machines and will just show up as Arial when they visit a website.

But there is more to it. Screens introduce problems that print-on-paper does not. And this mostly has to do with the way screens, being in pixels, handles curves and slants. Screens cannot exactly reproduce them. Instead they stairstep them and use shades of grey to simulate them. To one reading, this causes issues with focus and strain. Which is why it is not recommended to use Serif fonts for on-screen reading. Whether you know it or not, when your eyes look at blotchy, uneven fonts on a screen, it cannot focus them. Instead, the human eye starts to strain trying to bring things into focus. Too much of this, and many readers will experience stinging or tired eyes. Not everyone suffers from this, but many do (lucky me, I do). This problem becomes more prominent as one grows older. And thus, any web designer would tell you, there are a set of internet fonts that should be used over others. (And no--glasses made for screen reading do not correct this).

Many people swear by Times New Roman. I dont know why. This is one of the worst fonts ever invented. I think it is because people believe its the font used by the New York Times, and if its good enough for the paper of record, than it is good enough for anyone. News flash, even the New York Times does not use this font, and while many publications have in the past, more and more they are moving onto different fonts (for any interested, the New York Times uses the Georgia font). Serif fonts are fine in print, cause ink can make curves and angles that screens cannot. Times New Roman however does a number things poorly. Among them...Serifs, small openings such as the middle of the letter 'o', the the loop in the letter 'e', uneven line thickness, uneven spacing between letters, its splotchy and uneven in print, and its full of curves and serifs that screens cannot produce.

If you are selecting a font for on-screen reading, and yes, you want one that makes you look professional, Helvetica is widely accepted, and most screens are in Arial already anyway. Calibri, which is now Word's default font is also good for this. I always liked Verdana, but I dont think the public is very familiar with it. Do your readers a favor ;)

In print, serif fonts are okay, but there are better choices than TNR. Garamound, Gerogia, Merriweather are some that work better.

I know there are many who will swear by TNR, and give it up only after it is beaten out of them. And there are some who will say modern screen resolutions remove these problems, but I swear to you, I will either change the font of your story if I can before reading, or I will pass on you altogether if you are in TNR. And screens are not there yet.

Anyway, some stuff on fonts.


Myth Weaver
I like Baskerville for print, probably a Sherlock Holmes thing, heh heh. But in reality, I will read any "normal" font, including TNR. Fonts just don't phase me, I read pretty much anything as well as another. In fact, it comes as a bit of a shock that people have hard-core preferences LMAO.


Myth Weaver
The BBC spent £millions developing their BBC Reith typeface. It has both serif and sans. It was designed to work from the very smallest screen up to billboard size displays in all styles of font. For me it is one of the best out there. Unfortunately only the BBC and their proxies can use it officially. but you can download it if you want to have a play.

Mad Swede

Writing this as someone who is severely dyslexic.

In terms of academic research results, serif fonts work best in print, especially at smaller scales and for long texts. Research suggests that Times New Roman is one of the easiest serif fonts to read at small scales. The peer reviewed and published research on whether serif or sans-serif fonts are best on screen is inconclusive, probably because screen resolutions make it hard to get good results. Research does however show that for short texts which need to be read quickly (e.g. road signs) sans-serif fonts work best.

For me the best serif fonts are the various Times fonts, particularly the modern varieties like Times Classic. Fonts like Garamond are too spindly for me to be able to distinguish the letters properly.