ePub, Chinese Text, and Chinese Fonts in Kobo eReaders

I bought a Kobo Glo to read EPUB from Packt, saved articles on Pocket, and Chinese text files. Here are some quick notes of my experiment.

Kobo Works Better with Kepub Then epub

First, I try to open an ebook in epub format from Packt. I may open but encounter several crashes. The cover page is missing but the “Table of Contents” displays properly.

To convert epub into Kepub, Calibre is recommended but too complex for me. I choose kepubify instead.

kepubify for OSX is a command line tool. Change the file attribute to executable using “chmod +x” after download. Move it to the folder with all files need to be converted. Run with correct parameters and it would create a folder “kobo_converted” with converted files.

Chens-Mac-mini:kobo amigo$ ./kepubify-darwin-64bit ./
Kepubify v2.3.1: Converting 3 books
Output folder: /Users/amigo/Downloads/kobo
[1/3] Converting '/Users/amigo/Downloads/kobo/Learn C# in 7 days.epub'
[2/3] Converting '/Users/amigo/Downloads/kobo/Learning Python.epub'
[3/3] Converting '/Users/amigo/Downloads/kobo/Python 3 Web Development Beginner's Guide.epub'

3 total, 3 converted, 0 skipped, 0 errored
Chens-Mac-mini:kobo amigo$

Now, I open the converted Kepub. Faster, no crashes, the missing cover page is back, links with preview, select-and-search-dictionary, and reading statistics.

The only issue is the “Table of Contents” is displayed as just a list of files. I need to manually open the toc.html to navigate.

I think it is worth the extra effort to convert.

Chinese Text File Needs Unicode Explicitly

For Windows, choose Unicode, UTF-8, or UTF-8 with BOM while saving a Chinese text file in Notepad or Notepad++. It would be displayed properly by choosing the Chinese font in Kobo’s eReaders.

For Mac, even I choose the Unicode encoding in TextEdit, it is interpreted as an English text file in Kobo’s eReaders. I have to use Windows to help.

Add Chinese Fonts

Kobo’s eReaders need a Chinese TrueType font to display Chinese correctly.

First, create a “Fonts” folder in the drive “KOBOeReader” once the reader is connected to a computer. It doesn’t work if this folder is in the expansion card.

For Mac user, use transfonter to split the “Songti.ttc” which could be found in “Library > Fonts” into 8 TTF files.

Or you may download TTF files from GitHub: Pal3love/Source-Han-TrueType. They are the converted files from the joint-project by Google and Adobe at GitHub: adobe-fonts/source-han-sans.

I have tried many font convert service but none of them works for Noto CJKThis saves my time.

Last, copy these TTF files to the “Fonts” folder mentioned earlier.

Now, I may choose Chinese TTF fonts in Kobo. No more missing Chinese. Changing text and font options on your eReader has detail steps.


  1. Calibre
  2. GitHub: adobe-fonts/source-han-sans
  3. GitHub: Pal3love/Source-Han-TrueType
  4. Google: Noto CJK
  5. kepubify
  6. Kobo: Changing text and font options on your eReader
  7. Kobo: eReaders
  8. MobileRead: Kepub
  9. NOBOMORE: 如何在Kobo Aura上顯示中文
  10. Notepad++
  11. Packt Publishing Limited
  12. Pocket
  13. The eBook Reader Blog: Kepubify Can Easily Convert ePub eBooks to Kobo ePubs
  14. transfonter
  15. Wiki: EPUB
  16. Wiki: Kobo Glo
  17. Wiki: TrueType
  18. [開箱]Kobo Aura One(Limited edition)使用實錄
  19. 洪晧彰醫師個人部落格:Kobo aura one 32GB (日版)電子閱讀器 – 中文顯示問題

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