October 28, 2013 Last Updated 12:24 pm

More on the problems with embedded custom fonts and iBooks Author 2.1

A quick Google search shows that few other industry websites are reporting on the major bug in iBooks Author 2.1 so it probably a good idea to update Friday’s story with some background and some more details.

Raphaël Freeman from Renana Books contacted me on Thursday asking if I had noticed a problem with embedded fonts in the iBooks Author 2.1 release. I had not – and, in fact, my own eBooks looked fine. Well, the reason for this is that I had not been doing much with them since the iBA release on Wednesday. Raphaël concluded that maybe it was his system and he would report back. The next morning he reported that he was still having problems and sent me a file to look at.

iBA21-fonts-lgI was able to confirm the issue: the previews on the iPad were not showing the fonts correctly – and custom font reverted to a default font in the preview. Things looked OK if you previewed your file on your Mac, but the reason for this was simply that your Mac would have the custom font installed on it already. If you disabled that font, then looked at the preview again you would see the same error.

iBooks Author 2.1, it turns out, did not have the ability to embed fonts the way 2.0 did.

But the real problem was that if you used 2.1 on a file and saved it, that file would no longer embed fonts, even if you opened it up in version 2.0 and saved it. I spent the weekend reworking an older version of an eBook to get it back in shape. But another eBook that was 100 percent completed was ruined by 2.1 and may need to be rebuilt from scratch – unless an iBA 2.1.1 update can fix the problem. (But I’m holding off rebuilding that book as Apple’s update may solve the problem.)

I contacted Apple on Friday morning about this issue with iBooks Author 2.1 and was soon called by Apple. The hope is that an update will be issued really soon. In the meantime, iBA 2.1 is still in the App Store and every minute that goes by more files are being effected by this issue. (Why hasn’t the update been pulled?)

Several publishers contacted me on Friday and over the weekend in a bit of a panic. I feel for them as I am in the same situation. This morning I contacted the author of a new eBook I was going to release this week to tell her that her book is on indefinite hold. Not a good way to start the week.

  • Carlos Burges 4 years ago

    We, simply, are on panic with this (and other bugs). A lot of books affected and a lot of books/updates that are on the pipeline delayed because this problem. What a mess.

  • D.B. Hebbard 4 years ago

    Don’t panic quite yet. I understand that an update is coming soon. I don’t know how long it takes to get an update through their own system but Apple is on this (at least, that is what I am hearing).

    I would hold off rebuilding any eBooks with an archived version of iBA 2.0, at least until we know the updated version of iBA doesn’t fix books corrupted by 2.1. I assume Apple will want to be able to fix any eBook that has the ability to embed fonts stripped out.

    Two eBooks to be published by TNM Digital Media (that’s this publisher) have been put on hold by this, but I’m feeling better today that an update might fix things soon.