Book Printing, Embedding Fonts and Lulu

Healing StonesAs mentioned in my post on August 17th Comparing Print Times of KDP Print and Lulu, I ran into trouble with Lulu’s newly designed website and their more user friendly tools. While frustrating, once I figured out the source of the problem, I solved the problem for the print file for Healing Stones and other books I plan to upload in the future.

The problem? Embedding Fonts.

My Lulu History

To understand my problem, we have to go back to the beginning when I uploaded my first interior file to Lulu. This was about two years ago. Back then, I did as instructed and saved the file in PDF. However, Lulu rejected every PDF for the interior that I tried to upload. I tried to figure out why but couldn’t.

Reading further, I saw they also accepted .docx files, so I uploaded my formatted book in the MS Word document file I had originally created. SUCCESS. Lulu accepted the file, and I never looked back. From then on, I always uploaded a .docx instead of a PDF.

Fast Forward to May 2020

The new version of Lulu accepted PDFs only, and this put me right back to square one: two years ago when I had encountered the problem of uploading PDFs. I hadn’t solved the problem, and it was now ready to bite me.

The problem with my PDF, according to Lulu, was embedded fonts. Yup, that’s what they said two years ago even after I saved my Word document with embedded fonts. I tried this again, clicking every box a clicker could click. Still, I was rejected.

I read their rules about embedding fonts and tried again, and again FAILED. I switched to advice from the Internet and followed instructions found on a few sites. Again, FAILED.

Then on one site, I saw the casual mention that some fonts can’t be embedded because their license dictated they couldn’t be. Well, that sent me looking for fonts that had this restriction. While some lists existed, it was more for fonts that could be embedded, not couldn’t be.

I had used about ten different fonts to create my book. I tried to find information on each one, but soon gave up. There wasn’t a lot on the Internet, and it would have taken forever to investigate each one. Then I threw caution aside and did the obvious: chose a general font I believed could be embedded and changed my entire interior to it.

SUCCESS: Lulu approved the file.

True Success

One by one, I added the original fonts to the manuscript and uploaded to see if Lulu accepted it. To my surprise, all were accepted but one: Time New Roman!

Don’t get me started. Of all the fonts I thought would have been rejected due to its inability to be embedded, this wasn’t one of them.

Northern Survival
The eBook is NOW AVAILABLE at Amazon

I have my Normal Style set to Time New Roman, so even though I did not visibly use this font, the spaces and blank lines sometimes appeared as this font. That’s right; blank spaces were Times New Roman, and they counted. Not anymore. When it comes to formatting manuscripts, I change it to Palatino Linotype.

Fonts I used in my manuscript that could be embedded included:

  • Book Antiqua
  • Palatino Linotype
  • Cambria
  • Copperplate Gothic
  • Nyala
  • Wingdings
  • Batang
  • Segoe UI
  • Goody Old Style
  • Gabriola
  • Ink Free


In all my reading about publishing, formatting the interior of books, designing covers and writing, I have never before read about the inability to embed certain fonts…except that one website I stumbled upon, which didn’t have anything to do with books, publishing or formatting novels.

As they say, “Knowing is half the battle.” And now I know.

6 thoughts on “Book Printing, Embedding Fonts and Lulu

    I could not figure out what was going on because all the fonts that were IN USE IN THE DOCUMENT were showing up as embedded but TNR was hanging out there unembedded–I replaced it in the style where it had wormed in and my file is FINALLY accepted. You’re a hero, truly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amalia, you’re welcome. I know your frustration. I wish I could shout this to the world to save other writers hours of work and frustration. Good luck with your book.


      • I’m sad to say I spoke too soon, because TNR had wormed its way so completely into my file even after doing a find and replace to get rid of all instances, it is still showing up in the pdf unembedded and my file was rejected again–even though it looked for a minute like it was going to be fine! I’m going to give the B&N press a try and see if I have any better luck there. sigh.


        • Oh my. Here’s two things I had to do.

          1) Change Normal in styles to calibre (or another embeddable font)

          2) Search the header and footer section and remove TNR from there. For some horrible reason, it wouldn’t automatically change. On newer documents it’s not there because I changed Normal in Styles to Calibri as soon as I create a new file.

          However that manuscript I was working with at the time I was trying to figure out which font wasn’t embeddable had TNR in the header and footer section. I had to go to each one (top and bottom of the page) and remove it manually. After page 3 or 4 of Chapter one, everything was fine. It was just those 6 or 7 pages in the front of the book.

          Good luck.


  2. There is a much easier way to solve the problem and have the fonts you want. Which ever program you are using, click on ‘Print’ then select a PDF printer in the drop down list. Most modern computers will have a PDF printer (Windows 10 has a PDF printer). Your fonts will now be embedded. If you save as a PDF, your fonts will not be embedded. I hope this helps.


    • Thanks, Stephen. I had tried that method when searching for a solution, and my system didn’t have PDF Printer. I’m finding the only font that is rejected is Times New Roman, so I make sure that’s removed from the document. I haven’t had a problem since I’ve done that. Thank you for your suggestion. It may be an option for someone else.


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