You probably know by now. Amazon sadistically won’t let us vary the level of boldness in Kindle fonts—even though certain K-12 kids, many older people, and others could read much better in all-text bold.
As if Amazon hasn’t dissed us enough, we can’t even add our own fonts to the Kindle, bold or not. Why, Amazon, why?
What a contrast to Kobo ereaders! Kobo does not just let us vary the bold level through a slider control—we can even pipe in our favorite fonts from our desktops, laptops, or other devices.
Ahead, step by step, I’ll show you how easy it is to add TrueType fonts to your Aura One or other Kobo. Yes, the new fonts will show up when you read the OverDrive library books. I’ll describe the font-addition procedure for owners of Windows devices, but the same concepts should work fine for other operating systems.
- Hook your Kobo up to your Windows machine via the USB cable. Your Kobo will ask if you want to make a connection. Say yes.
- You’ll most likely go into the Windows file manager. In the main directory of the Kobo, not a subdirectory, create a new directory called fonts via the USB connection.
- Now focus on the Windows machine again, press the Windows key, and within Search programs and files, type fonts. You want to see your entire fonts collection, as opposed to installed fonts. Click on the results.
- Figure out the fonts you want to pick up, then paste them over to your Kobo. Here is a list of fonts shipped with Windows 3.1x through Windows 10. If you’ve installed Windows Office, you’ll have additional options, possibly including Rockwell and Rockwell Bold, both of which I chose. Actually only one may have been needed—I don’t know which. The glory of Rockwell is that Kobo’s font weight adjuster will work with it. The weight slider does not come up for most third-party fonts. With Rockwell, I was easily able to get as much boldface as I wanted—in fact, I may have overdone it in the shot above.
- Use Windows’s eject-devices command and unplug the Kobo, which will then process the new fonts. If they don’t show up within your Kobo’s font menu, try turning off the Kobo and restarting.
The screenshot shows what Rockwell looks like in action. The background color varies a little, but that’s the photo a lot more than real life. At any rate, I find the results more readable than I do the typography of most paper books. YMMV. My wife, Carly, can’t stand Kobo type—which actually confirms my belief that ereaders are like hearing aids or eyeglasses: one size does not fit all.
For a wide variety of fonts, check out ufonts.com. Also Google for TrueType fonts sell to see what copyrighted fonts are available for sale.
Reminder: I have no ties with Kobo other than that of a customer and reviewer. I kept my Aura One review unit but have already donated its $230 value to the local public library. I’d love to be able to praise Amazon for the same font-adding capability: may it come around soon! Once, in fact, you could easily bring third-party fonts over to your Kindle, but Amazon actually tweaked the operating system to make that more difficult unless you just embedded fonts in files by way of Calibre.
Oh, to understand why Amazon would torture users this way! Is it really as simple as corporate control-freakdom? Would support costs increase that much if users could add fonts? Amazon, dwarfing Kobo, won’t go bankrupt if it lets us install our own fonts. More of us might even be inclined to buy Kindles if Amazon didn’t treat users like six-year-olds. Amusingly, as the Digital Reader has pointed out, you can even install Amazon fonts on Kobo machines, but good luck if you easily want to add new fonts to the Kindle itself.