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Drop Caps

Crumbly Writer

As I'm always searching for new fonts (for covers and chapter titles), I found one where each letter is different, and I immediately thought: dropcaps. However, I have questions on how to implement this.

1) What happens with quotes, say for dialogue opening lines? Do you drop the quote as well (difficult since the font doesn't include very impressive quote symbols).

2) What kind of license would I need? I know, to embed a font in an ebook you require an 'embedded font', which it typically prohibitively expensive (hundreds, at a minimum, building rapidly for a recognized font). However, due to that issue, I'm considering restricting it to my print versions. Would I require a separate license to include a custom font in a pdf, and if so, would that require a digital embedded font license?

I realize few will know the answer to these questions here, but I'm hoping a couple might know one or two of the details.

Looking at it again, it may not work at all, as the font is serif (i.e. it wouldn't blend in with the other letters) and likely wouldn't match my cover/header fonts. :( Still, I'm curious about how dropcaps are handled, just in case I do decide to go forward with it.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

Last I checked, if you use any font on a commercial activity (a book for sale is such) you need to have the appropriate paid for approvals, unless it's one they allow free use of - a rarity.

Personally, I don't embed the fonts because many e-book reader users have their systems set to use a specific font for ease of reading due to eyesight issues.

As to Drop Caps - they are well and truly on their way out - part due to the difficulty in getting them right within the electronic printing and publishing system, but mostly due to the almost impossibility of getting them consistently right for e-books.

I've never seen a book that uses Drop Caps open a chapter with dialogue or a quote - but I've not seen them all. From the issue with the quote marks, I wouldn't be surprised if past authors from the Drop Cap is a must era went out of their way to not open a new chapter with a quote or dialogue.

typo edit

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I've never seen a book that uses Drop Caps open a chapter with dialogue or a quote - but I've not seen them all. From the issue with the quote marks, I wouldn't be surprised if past authors from the Drop Cap is a must era went out of their way to not open a new chapter with a quote or dialogue.

I suspect you're correct. I also (author blushes here) discovered that I begin the first three chapters with the protagonist's first name, a definite problem I hadn't noticed before.

Embedding any font in an ebook is difficult, not just for which fonts are commonly accepted, but because of the prohibitive licensing fees. But I believe embedding fonts in a pdf (so the printer can replicate them) doesn't require an embedded license, since it's NOT permanently embedded in the final product.

As for approvals, I'm always careful about purchasing the appropriate licenses (though my next book uses such "free" fonts, which is a definite plus! It replaces a previous free font which wasn't nearly as legible or attractive.

graybyrd
Updated:

Print conventions should be restricted to printed pages; digital content allows a degree of display freedom that goes far beyond the limits of print, but this freedom requires that certain past conventions be left behind. Drop caps is one; embedded fonts is arguably another. A printed book was the domain of the designer; a digital page is increasingly the domain of the reader, who has been gifted exceptional control over how the screen content will be displayed. Creators of digital page content should respect that new reality.

PDF content is a bastard compromise; in truth, it is a print page layout in digital form and like the printed page, is quite rigid in displayed form. It lends itself poorly to anything other than the screen size it was intended to fit.

Fanciful typography in ebook content is about as useful and sensible as tail fins on a Buick.

Crumbly Writer

Heard back from the font designer. Unlike most, who are quick to send you to their retail site with it's standard TOCs, she was delighted I was considering using her font. She included the TOCs included with the purchased font, and it does include embedding the font (either pdfs (to include in a print book) or ebooks). All that for only $10. It's quite a steal! In fact, she not only requested a copy of any book I produced, but offered to work with me if I encountered any problems with it.

Now I almost feel guilty since I'm not sure it'll work (mostly due to the serif/non-serif font combination, as well as the conflict between my cover/chapter-title font and the drop font).

Note: I couldn't dropcase the title font, because the letters have curling tails, which violates the typographer's 'font size' declarations. :(

I'll consider it for another book in the future, but I suspect, as it's a playful font, it'd work better in a children's book.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I'll consider it for another book in the future, but I suspect, as it's a playful font, it'd work better in a children's book.


Then it's perfect for you, CW - - (and Ernest runs off giggling)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Then it's perfect for you, CW - - (and Ernest runs off giggling)

You laugh, but I've used both playful and 'childlike' fonts before (most notably, for my "Catalyst" series, when I wanted to downplay how serious it was, and in my "The Lad Who Poked the Devil", which features a young man attempting to save the world from aliens no one knew about).

Seriously, though, I doubt I could ever write a children's book. Aside from certain common words ("uh", "a", "of", "the"), the only words I know are $10, four or five syllable words!

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