KF8: New Kindle book format with HTML5 & CSS3
Thanks to Richard G in the Amazon Kindle community for the heads up on this one!
Amazon has announced a new format for Kindle books. They are calling it KF8, for
This is a huge change, bringing lots more capabilities.
When I talk to people about change management, though, I always tell them to start out with what isn’t going to change. People hate takeaways, and the first thing many people fear is losing something…even if what they are getting is better. For example, when there is a change in the executive level of an organization, I suggest that very early on in the announcement you say something like, “We value all of you, and none of you will see a change in your employment status.” I know, that wording is hokey…just let them know they aren’t losing their jobs, even if you can’t imagine why they would think that. Heck, in today’s economy, I’d probably tell them that even if you are just changing the brand of toilet paper in the bathrooms…
So, some things that won’t change:
- All the Kindle books you currently own will continue to work on all the Kindle devices
- If you are a Kindle publisher, you don’t need to do anything…your books will continue to be in the Kindle store, and will be available to the Kindle Fire. You will not need to submit two versions of your titles
Next, a little bad news.
These books will first be available to the Kindle Fire. Then, they’ll roll out to “…latest generation Kindle e-ink devices as well as our free Kindle reading apps”
My guess is that the cut-off will be at the Kindle 3 (now called a Kindle Keyboard).
They said this format will replace their current one…so I’m thinking that there will be large numbers of books unavailable to K2 and K1 users. I’m speculating on that, but my sense of this is that publishers won’t be able to choose a backwards compatible file format through the Kindle store. I don’t know that…again, I’m interpreting what it says.
It may be a very good thing that Amazon just extended their trade-in program to Kindles.
What’s it going to do for you as a reader?
It’s going to bring you rich, full-featured books. Most of it is things you can do in print: sidebars, drop caps (where one large capital letter is as tall as several lines…you’d recognize it, it looks old-fashioned)…things you would do in lay-out. It also allows for “Kindle Text Pop Up”. They mention that for children’s books, but it would be a great help in some technical texts and with maps. Instead of the very crowded labeling we sometimes get now, you’d only see the label when you ask for it. I’m assuming it could be on specific points in the image.
This may become the standard of what we expect from our books…tough luck, EPUB. ;)
One thing I hope is that it means the end of “the dreaded Topaz format”. I’ve had people report so many problems with that one (the main attraction was embeddable fonts, and KF8 does that).
As a Kindle Direct Publishing user, I’m excited by there being a new Kindle Previewer. I’ve never felt like I could tell what my titles were going to look like on a Kindle before they were published…this sounds like that capability might be greatly enhanced.
Even though I’m not a visually oriented person, I see this as a good thing (except the eddying of the older Kindles in the Amazon literary river). It will be fascinating to see how it evolves. I’m also a bit concerned that people will need more technical ability to publish…although some of you might see a higher barrier to publication as a good thing….
If you are highly skilled in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), what do you think are the big improvements? If you are a K2 user, will this make you upgrade? Does it feel like this is moving towards or away from traditional paperbooks? Have you been saying you won’t switch to e-books for cookbooks or textbooks because e-books weren’t comparable…but now you think they may be? Feel free to let me know.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.