Choosing the Right Fonts

After your book is written you should give some thought to the type of font you want to use for both the cover and the content. Whether you intend to format it yourself or you decide to have someone else do it for you there should still be some thought put into it. The font that is used for both your book cover and the inside content will play an important factor in how your book is received. The reason being is if they can’t read it, they won’t buy it.

That being said, there are many great fonts out there but not all of them will work well for an ebook or even a print book. Users choose their own fonts in ebooks which you have absolutely no control over. And some fancy fonts won’t even show up in reading devices. So it is best to just to use standard fonts for them.

There can still be issues with fonts used for print books too. If you have a particular font in mind which is considered a fancy font, it would be best if it was only used for the book title, chapter titles, and the subtitles. Then for the body content use a standard serif font like Times New Roman or a standard sans serif font like Arial. Otherwise, your readers may have a hard time reading the content of your book.

This is the advice that I always give to my customers when I format their books. This may be upsetting if you are set on a certain type of font because you want a certain look for your book. I agree that a book should look good to stand out against all of the competition today. But you also want as many people as possible to read the books that you write. And to do that people have to be able to read them. If your content isn’t legible then people won’t buy your book. They will look at your sample and just move on to someone else’s book if your content is too hard to read.

Example of Fancy Font

The image above is an example of a serif font that would be considered fancy. This is a free font called Long Island that I found on It is a nice looking font and you can see that there is quite a difference in the size of the thick areas and the thinner areas of each character. It was one of the things that drew me to it. But those very same features could make it difficult for people to read it. Also, those thinner areas may not print well if the font was used for body content. So a font like this would work best if it was used for titles only. They are generally larger and easier to read.

The fonts used for book cover titles are another story. They should be thick enough and large enough so that they can be read when the book cover is reduced to thumbnail size. That is the size that your book cover generally is on all of the self-publishing sites. The actual size of it varies from site to site, but it is seen as a thumbnail none the less.

There are times when you can’t use a thick font because it just doesn’t look right with the overall design. In a case like that, a thin font is needed so your color choices will play a role in how visible the font is. So choose a font color that is a good contrast to the background. If you have a light background then use a darker color for the font. Don’t choose a font color that is also light because it will make it to difficult to read even at a large size.

There is one more thing that I want to point out when you are deciding on fonts. Actually, there are two more things. 1. Not all fonts are free, and 2. Not all computers come loaded with the same fonts. The fonts that are preinstalled in Windows computers are totally different from the fonts that are preinstalled on Apple/Mac computers. I run into this all of the time with customers. I have a Windows computer and if a customer wants a certain font I may not always have access to it. Which brings me back around to price. If a font isn’t on your computer and it isn’t free, then you won’t have access to it unless you pay for. And I don’t pay for fonts because it is very expensive.

A simple way to check whether a font is free or not is to do a web search like this, “font name”, then the word license after the name. So I will use Arial as an example and type into Google search Arial font license. Then the search results will tell if the font is free or not. If you are set on a certain font and you find that it isn’t free then you need to make sure that you read the fine print before you make a purchase because it can be very costly for you. That is why I don’t supply paid fonts when I format books. I wouldn’t make any money if I did.

So whether you intend to format your own book or not, take a few minutes to think about the type of font that you want to use in it. Remember to consider readability and price as you do. As a self-publishing author, these are your decisions to make. Being prepared ahead of time will make the process go much smoother.


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