I'm trying to create an e-book (in English) with Devanagari characters.
I've transformed these particular characters into their unicode, so I do not have to use a Sanskrit font.
The book was edited with InDesign and from this I created a first e-book draft.
I have some questions:

  • the font "Times New Roman" has been incorporated; since the book will be sold, will I break any copyright by using it? I've tried with other fonts, but I've always had problems displaying them
  • I've sent the ebook to a number of friends and they do not seem to have any big problems viewing it. Since I wanted to try it on most devices as possible, I have included beneath the links to a small draft (more than the words in Devanagari): if anyone can try to open and visualize it, it would make me a favor.
    I'm also including a PDF file to see how the text should be displayed.

Ps.: Here you can download the ebook (epub format)
And here the PDF to see how the text should be displayed.


Here are the new versions of the files with the fonts that were suggested:

  • Version with Charis SIL: PDF and ePub

  • Version with Noto Sans: PDF and ePub

  • Possibly related to this question
    – Sekhemty
    May 4, 2017 at 12:57
  • That you provide a character as unicode (whatever you mean exactly by that) doesn't have any relationship to whether that unicode code point is available or not in the fonts available in the reader.
    – Anthon
    May 4, 2017 at 13:24
  • Glad that you managed to solve your problem; I noticed that you replied with "answers"; in SE network, "answers" are always meant to address the question of the OP, when you have to reply to another user's answer, you should post a "comment" to that "answer"; or you can edit your original question if you need to integrate it or add new information; it is different from a forum, where you simply append your replies at the bottom of the discussion (in fact, we don't have discussions here, just questions and answers).
    – Sekhemty
    May 5, 2017 at 15:13
  • When you get useful answers, you can "upvote" them and "accept" the one that you consider the best solution to your problem. I hope that this is not too confusing, you can have a look at other questions on this site to see how everything works and especially read the Tour and the Help Center
    – Sekhemty
    May 5, 2017 at 15:14
  • Thank you for your answer. I did not know the system worked this way. The fact is that if I edited the question I could not put other links because I still have a low reputation. How should i do? Thanks again, Leonardo
    – Leonardo
    May 7, 2017 at 2:02

2 Answers 2


Like Nemo XXX said, Times New Roman is a commercial font, so you are not allowed to freely include it in your ebook and distribute it without acquiring a proper license.

However, I think that you can still freely reference it in your CSS stylesheet without physically incorporating it(1).
Anyway, this presupposes that the font will be installed on the end user's PC or device, which you can't be 100% sure. Granted, Times New Roman is a fairly common font, at least if you don't look beyond Windows machines, but, in example, it is NOT installed by default in many Linux distributions and many e-reader devices.

I think that your best option is to look for an open source font with a free license and directly incorporate it. You really have a lot of alternatives, I'm listing here juts some of the most common ones.

  • My personal suggestion is to check out the Noto font family, from Google; they are designed to cover all the scripts encoded in the Unicode standard. It is easily one of the most complete and compatible font sets out there, and they are generally good looking and pleasant (this is of course subjective). An alternative, always from Google, is the Droid family, from which Noto is partly derived.

  • The Liberation and Linux Libertine/Biolinum families are specifically designed to be a free and open substitute to Windows standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial and Courier New.

  • DejaVu, similarly, is a fairly complete set of fonts that is installed by default on many of the main Linux distributions.

  • As Nemo XXX suggested, Charis SIL is a good and fairly complete font (and, if you ask me, also more distinctive and better looking that the old plain and kinda boring Times New Roman). Another option, always from SIL International, is Gentium.

  • (2017-06-22 EDIT) Martel and Martel Sans fonts are specifically designed to cover Latin and Devangari characters.

I'm not really familiar with Devangari (or any other non-latin) script, so you should check these alternatives yourself and see if they suit your needs. I can't guarantee that all the fonts that I've listed include the characters that you need to display, I've just pointed out some of the major open source font projects, I leave it to you to make your tests.

About the samples: I've tried to open both the ePub and PDF that you have provided, they are BOTH displayed with latin characters, even the non-english text.

1) Please note that I'm not a lawyer and I'm just saying this out of common sense, do your research accordingly.


Times New Roman is copyright-protected; you can't legally use it in ebooks, unless you buy a license.

Use Charis SIL instead. It should support all diacritics that you need.

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