Home » Amazon, Ebooks, Kindle, Seth Godin » Kindle Format 8 Just Announced – The Earth Continues to Shift Under Publishing

Kindle Format 8 Just Announced – The Earth Continues to Shift Under Publishing

21 October 2011

From Amazon:

We’re pleased to announce a wide range of new features and enhancements – including HTML5 support – coming in Kindle Format 8 (KF8). KF8 is the next generation file format for Kindle books – replacing Mobi 7. As showcased on Kindle Fire, KF8 enables publishers to create great-looking books in categories that require rich formatting and design such as children’s picture books, comics & graphic novels, technical & engineering books and cookbooks. Kindle Format 8 replaces the Mobi format and adds over 150 new formatting capabilities, including fixed layouts, nested tables, callouts, sidebars and Scalable Vector Graphics, opening up more opportunities to create Kindle books that readers will love.

. . . .

Q: What are the new capabilities that are supported? Where can I read a list of all the new capabilities?
A: KF8 has over 150 new formatting capabilities including support for HTML5 and CSS3. This includes embedded fonts, drop caps and CSS selectors such as line spacing, alignment, justification, margin, color, style and border.

. . . .

Q: Will KF8 capabilities be available on all Kindle devices?
A: Kindle Fire is the first Kindle device to support KF8 – in the coming months we will roll out KF8 to our latest generation Kindle e-ink devices as well as our free Kindle reading apps.

Q: Will my existing Mobi files still work on Kindle e-ink devices and apps?
A: Yes. All currently supported content will continue to work. Information on how to update your existing titles to take advantage of new capabilities in KF8 will be in the new Kindle Publishing Guidelines, available soon.

Link to the rest at Amazon

Here’s an Egyptian web designer’s portfolio showing some of the basic visual things you can do with HTML5. Roll over various parts of the portfolio front page and click through – Ahmad Ali

PG doesn’t claim to be an expert on HTML5, but he suggests that Amazon’s examples, while legitimate, don’t represent what some really creative people will develop. This is just one more technology that will change what books can be.

For example, can you have a book with only one page? Seth Godin thinks so. He just published a one-page book.

Referencing back to Kris Rusch’s essay (scroll down to the previous post), traditional publishing will never be able to pull this off. Indie authors, working alone or in small creative teams, will rock and roll with it.

And don’t be a geezer, thinking you can’t learn how to use new tools.


Amazon, Ebooks, Kindle, Seth Godin

8 Comments to “Kindle Format 8 Just Announced – The Earth Continues to Shift Under Publishing”

  1. Love the geezer prevention warning. I was just feeling…overwhelmed. I do my own formatting, but if the features become more gorgeous (and required), I’ll get help.

    Many of the features that are already in ebooks are being underused–namely, hyperlinks. I was reading a mystery last night with a huge cast of characters, a map, a glossary, and a timeline, and though this was included as front matter, it was impossible to get there even with the table of contents. I had to memorize my Kindle location to flip back and forth.

    Anyway, it looks like with these new formatting abilities, the nonfiction world is going to follow the upheaval in mass market. Indie cookbooks, indie parenting manuals, indie children’s books…


    • Looking at the mass of Mrs. PG’s cookbooks in the kitchen, I would love to have all the recipes on a tomato sauce-proof tablet.

  2. Ack — missed a opening caret mark on my end italics. And I can’t find that edit function that’s supposed to be here. PG, can you delete and I’ll repost? Thanks.

  3. With this announcement, we begin to move from the beta stage of e-publishing, to the 1.0 stage.

    For indie writers and e-publishers, this is the significant part from the Amazon announcement:

    “Upcoming enhancements to Kindle Publisher Tools will make it easier and faster for publishers to create high quality Kindle books. KindleGen 2 (available soon) creates Kindle content from a wide variety of sources including HTML, XHTML, and EPUB. Kindle Previewer 2 (available soon) provides an easy way for publishers to preview how titles will look on Kindle devices and apps so they can be confident that their Kindle books look great.”

    As someone who’s basically a plain-text narrative writer, the expanded graphics capabilities of the KF8 format aren’t all that significant. What I do think is important for writers such as myself is the possibility for a much easier and much more satisfying (for both the writer and the reader) production process. If KindleGen 2 isn’t the all-in-one, WYSIWYG creator/editor/formatter program that I’ve been predicting for some time, the door is open for some smart third-party company (my bet would be Adobe) to come out with one. A year from now, we’ll all be sitting around reminiscing and telling war stories about all the clunky procedures we used to go through to produce ebooks, back in the ol’ days.

  4. Couldn’t help noticing Amazon’s Q&A didn’t bother with the first question that came to *my* mind: can Kindle8 readers also read Epub files?

    But since they can’t and won’t and Amazon continues to pretend it never heard of the Epub format (Read something on our Kindle device that we ourselves didn’t prepare for it? That would be such a poor “user experience”), it was silly of me to think otherwise.

  5. It would have been nice if the new format supported JavaScript (maybe it will, the press release didn’t say anything about it), but floating images is definitely a step in the right direction.

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