Thursday, March 29, 2012

Seravek Font bug in iBooks

I wanted to set my latest book in a sans-serif font so I chose one of iBooks' default fonts: Seravek. This morning, doing a last minute check, Seravek had mostly disappeared. I immediately suspected nefarious setting adjustments by iPad-stealing family members, but it turns out iBooks was the culprit.

Look at this:

Not Seravek

If you don't know what Seravek is, I'll tell you, it's not that.

I recompiled my book a bunch of times, looked at it on my old iPad and everywhere, the font had disappeared. I wondered if iBooks had somehow changed between yesterday and today. If Kindle Previewer was going to update itself without my involvement, maybe iBooks too?

Then I changed the font size:

Seravek back

And the Seravek came back. Weird. It turns out that Seravek works fine in all font sizes except 5. And in font size 3, it doesn't work in the subhead, but I wonder if that has to do with caching, since I had that set as a serif font for a while (though not in this example!)

Photo Mar 29, 11 34 33 AM

Since there's no other sans-serif default font for iBooks, and I didn't want to use Optima, in the end, I decided on Muli, one of Google Web Fonts offerings:


Remember that readers can always select a default font if they so choose.


  1. “I immediately suspected nefarious setting adjustments by iPad-stealing family members…”

    I love that phrase and completely sympathize.

  2. This doesn't just occur with Seravek. Almost any time I change the font size, any iOS built-in fonts in my stacks fail over to the next option.

    Another hill I'm not going to lay my life down on. I'll keep spec'ing the fonts; if they show up, they show up.

    1. In my book (with @font rule, and font specified for body, plus Apple's Com file), it only happens with Seravek. If I choose any other font and change font size, I continue to get the same font, at a different size.

  3. AAAGGGHHH!!! I well, at least I know I'm not completely nuts, now. I threw every debugging trick off the top of my head at this thing before I found your post...

    This would explain why just setting font-family to sans-serif works in every reading system and on every device EXCEPT ibooks. Big.Sigh.


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