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I'm new to epubs; I'm wading through the InDesign tutorials and will then have to learn how to work with iBooks Author (and perhaps Sigil as well).

Anyway, I ran into an unexpected snag in InDesign: It doesn't like bold and italics tags. As I understand it, they prefer to replace these tags with classes that select a particular font (e.g. Arial Bold or Arial Italic).

Given that 1) ebooks are based on html, and 2) there must be 10 million websites that use bold and italics tags, this seems like a really stupid move to me.

So here's my question: What would happen if I snubbed the new rules and published an epub with bold and italics tags? Would it create some technical problems that would come back to haunt me? Will Amazon or other publishers reject epubs that have traditional bold/italic tags?

On a related note, I wonder if there's a way to instruct an epub to disallow fonts that don't "recognize" bold/italics tags. Fonts like Arial and Times New Roman would be allowed, while really funky fonts would be essentially banned (except perhaps in headings or art work).

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I have never used Adobe Indesign, but I'm guessing that when they spit out html they use the italic and bold html tags. My guess is that in Adobe Indesign you are not seeing a separate font at all but a compound statement about font-style and font-family.

You can easily test this by outputting it epub/html and viewing the source.

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I'm testing this with Calibre editor, I don't know if InDesign works the same, but html tags are the same regardless of the software.


I can render a bold italic text in two ways, with <b> and <i> tags, or with <strong> and <em> tags.

Example:

<b><i>This is a bold and italic text</i></b>

gives me

This is a bold and italic text

<strong><em>This is a strong and emphasized text</em></strong>

gives me

This is a strong and emphasized text


I tested it with Calibre reader and on a Kobo Glo and it works.

I don't understand what you mean by saying

Anyway, I ran into an unexpected snag in InDesign: It doesn't like bold and italics tags. As I understand it, they prefer to replace these tags with classes that select a particular font (e.g. Arial Bold or Arial Italic).

but if you manually insert the tags, there should be a way to tell the program to leave the code that way instead of modifying it with CSS classes.

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Old question, but I came in search of an answer and have some things to share on this topic!

Adobe InDesign uses character or paragraph styles to format italics and bold, using a relevant font family, this is correct. There used to be a way to visually "force" a style, but I'm using Creative Cloud and have the most recent InDesign, which doesn't show these options anymore.

What would happen if I snubbed the new rules and published an epub with bold and italics tags? Would it create some technical problems that would come back to haunt me? Will Amazon or other publishers reject epubs that have traditional bold/italic tags?

It wouldn't be a "bad" thing to use HTML tags to indicate bold and italic. Ebooks can be formatted using HTML, and these tags are widely supported, even in books that are done in HTML and then converted to the relevant file formats. The text styling is transferred.

I wonder if there's a way to instruct an epub to disallow fonts that don't "recognize" bold/italics tags. Fonts like Arial and Times New Roman would be allowed, while really funky fonts would be essentially banned (except perhaps in headings or art work).

The font families that are used on e-readers generally include the capability to have bold, italic, and underline styles put on them. A publisher can define a font face for an ebook, which the user may decide to use. But the joy of e-readers is that the user can change it to suit their reading preferences, such as size and font face. There is really not much point in defining what font faces are "permitted" in an epub, because the epub is not the file in control of the fonts on the device.

Perhaps the rules have changed again, but Amazon KDP supports <b> and <i> (and many more HTML tags).

Finally, I wouldn't advise creating an ebook in InDesign. Ebooks are supposed to be "reflowable" and InDesign will place line breaks into text in order to fit it in the relevant frames. Since ebooks are supposed to work with any width of the body of the text, this is counter to InDesign's functions in size-dependent layout design. Calibre is useful for converting, but Microsoft Word and simple HTML are also options for creating an EPUB.

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