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Taking a Look At Kindle Format 8 76

Posted by timothy
from the early-looks-are-best-looks dept.
Nate the greatest writes "Got a Kindle Fire? Here's your chance to try the new Kindle Format 8. The new format is in beta testing right now with a limited number of publishers, and a few days ago one of those publishers leaked the tools and the guidelines to me. It turns out KF8 isn't all that new. I've looked at the code, and I'd call it an attempt to graft a number of Epub features onto the existing Kindle format. It simply adds a lot of new formatting and is only slightly more capable than Epub. There's a number of screenshots at the link as well as a demo file. You can probably also find more KF8 ebooks in the Kindle Store; look for the Kindle Fire exclusive magazines and graphic novels."
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Taking a Look At Kindle Format 8

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  • by Defenestrar (1773808) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @10:45AM (#38382884)
    It makes me sad that the article doesn't even mention which epub version [wikipedia.org] (1, 2, or 3) the author was comparing it to. Most new books are in 3, but there's a ton still out there at version 2. Not to mention that the International Digital Publishing Forum [IDPF] [idpf.org] is an active standard and will continually be updated for the foreseeable future. Some quantitative data would be very useful when comparing proprietary and open standards, especially as each format (and distribution system) have strong pros and cons. Personally I'm all for fully open standards for any data type, it'd take a lot of superior features to draw me into a vendor lock-in system.
  • Just one thing... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @10:49AM (#38382924) Journal

    It may be a sign of getting old, but seriously - if I laid down hard cash for something, I'm not in much mood to be a beta tester on it. This is doubly true for items which are locked down to one proprietary vendor. Triply true for an item (like, say, this tablet) which should be homogeneous to the point where developers really don't have to account for a wild variety of configurations, so the whole idea of accounting for differences should be pretty frickin' moot.

    Now sure, I'll hackintosh my desktop box (which I had done) or happily goof off with a new Linux distro, but only because the former is assembled out of older parts, and the latter is in a VM first, before I decide whether or not to migrate it to my main home server box.

    OTOH, the Kindle Fire is a product that (much like the iPad, to be fair) serves as nothing more than a front for Amazon's app/media store. Screw that - if they want me to test it out that bad for them, they can damned well pay me as a tester.

  • Re:"Exclusively" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:15AM (#38383214) Homepage

    I cant. Kindle is the ONLY ones making a 10" epaper display. Nook is a tiny toy great for paperbacks but useless for educational and scientific texts.
    If nook would release a 10" unit or better yet an a4 page size screen unit. I would be all over it as would every single college student and college looking for a decent reader for college textbooks.

  • Re:Cracked yet? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:15AM (#38383218)

    Seriously, once books move into a more reasonable price range in general, I'd guess that it clearly doesn't make sense to use DRM. MP3's made this transition once the vendors realized that $20 for a CD wasn't going to fly for MP3's. Books are going to do it too, I suspect, and sooner rather than later.

    Sadly, ebooks are moving away from reasonable prices, not toward them. Apple managed to raise ebook prices by roughly 50% when they negotiated deals with the publishers before the iPad's launch. Given another major vendor willing to charge much more for books, the publishers were unwilling to allow Amazon to continue selling at their sometimes below cost price point, and now they had the leverage to do something about it. I hope that Apple's influence wanes so that prices can come back down, or that cheaper prices align with Apple's interests at some point in the near future.

  • by boristhespider (1678416) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:30AM (#38383418)

    It would be pretty trivial for Amazon to keep backwards compatibility - Sony have already demonstrated that when they transitioned from LRF to ePub. It all went seamlessly, Readers still support LRF (so far as I know; certainly my old PRS-505 does) and read ePub no problem, or if you want you can go to the Sony store and redownload anything you'd bought as an LRF as an ePub instead. Amazon could do exactly the same - it's just a matter of adding ePub support (which would itself be trivial; Mobi and ePub aren't *that* different) and converting their eBook store into ePub.

    I doubt they want to do this and that's their prerogative, but it would be trivial to do if they ever did choose to.

  • Re:"Exclusively" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:57AM (#38383826)

    I have to agree here. There is no substitute for an e-ink display when reading. I end up with horribly bloodshot eyes if I read an LCD non-stop for hours (whether for lack of blinking or something else, I don't know). I suffer no ill effects from reading off an e-ink display though.

    I was surprised at the difference as well. I have an eInk Kindle, but got a Nook Color (with CM7 so I can run the Kindle app) for reading books in bed without needing a light that might keep my partner awake. I figured that the backlit display with the brightness turned down to low would be perfect for reading in a dark room.

    Well, I was wrong, reading the Nook for more than 30 minutes is uncomfortable while I can read the Kindle for hours, even with a clip-on book light.

    So now I use the Nook for web surfing and the Kindle for reading.

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