Digital design and other shiny toys

Monthly Archives: October 2011

Kindle Format 8 – something else to juggle?

Posted on by Paul

Amazon recently announced Kindle Format 8 (KF8), the new ebook file format they plan to use instead of Mobi 7. It’s a shame they didn’t switch to epub as rumoured, but KF8 offers much needed improvements to layout and typography. However, my heart sank when I read that only the latest Kindle devices will support KF8. The Kindle 3 or earlier will be stuck with Mobi format ebooks, which could make things difficult. Imagine the following scenario: A client comes to me with a proposal for a graphically rich title such as a cookery book. I think “Ah, KF8 provides the layout controls we need for this and it will look fantastic on the new Kindle Fire”. Quite reasonably, the client wants to sell as many copies of her book as possible so doesn’t like the idea of limiting it to owners of the latest Kindles. Therefore, I’ll have to create two versions of the ebook, doubling the time and cost for the project. Also, the version for older Kindles won’t look very good because of the limitations of the Mobi format. And that’s before we start looking at a version for the iPhone, iPad, Nook…

Kindle Fire – the real content consumption device?

Posted on by Paul

When the iPad appeared there were dismissive comments about it being a ‘content consumption’ only device, suitable for reading, web browsing and so on, but not for creative work. That was untrue, but maybe the strength of the new Kindle Fire tablet will be that it really is a device for the content consumer, backed up by a tried and tested online store. Amazon marketing for the previous Kindle focussed on the ease of reading, wide choice of ebooks and speed of delivery. Now they have a device which offers this, but also hooks into their video streaming service and has a more intuitive interface. Add web browsing, email and a carefully managed selection of apps and it could be a winner. However, bright LCD screens really aren’t good for reading lots of text, so if you’re looking for a book reader it’s probably best to stick with the e-ink devices. Or buy both types of Kindle, which is what Amazon really wants.