January 13, 2012 report
Amazon announces it’s ready to accept e-books in new KF8 format
(PhysOrg.com) -- Amazon has announced that it is now ready to allow publishers to submit e-books to its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) site in what it is calling Kindle Format 8 (KF8). Doing so will allow publishers to add richer looking content to their e-books, making them perhaps more attractive to readers. Instead of simple text and the occasional pasted-in image, the new format takes advantage of advances in both HTML and CSS.
The move comes after the release and announcement in October that the latest Kindle Fire will support the new KF8 standard. The Kindle Fire is a tablet computer that runs Google’s Android operating system and whose focus is allowing users to read Kindle e-books in a natural manner. Prior to the Fire, users who wished to read Kindle books had to either purchase a dedicated Kindle, or install and use a Kindle reader app.
The new format incorporates HTML5 which is the latest standard for describing how web pages are built, and CSS3, which is the newest iteration of the formatting standard for such web pages. Thus, Amazon is using standards that are already in place and well understood in the web development community. Incorporating them into the KF8 standard will allow publishers to submit content that is richer and more vibrant and which allows for other features such as tables, highlighting, listing with bullets, text that wraps around images or boxed text and even pop-up text.
While such features are not normally associated with traditional novels and such, they would be more than welcome in children’s books, graphic novels, and perhaps textbooks.
As part of the announcement, Amazon made clear that the new format is for the Fire only, but says that new dedicated Kindles and Kindle apps will also eventually support the new format as well.
Also, to help publishers get on board with the new standard, Kindle has made available KindleGen, a utility that converts regular text to the new standard. They’ve also updated the Kindle Viewer to allow prospective publishers to see what their content will look like once converted to KF8.
Amazon’s KDP site is, as many may already know, the place where customers go to purchase e-books from Amazon, which means it’s also the place where publishers go to sell their e-books. Though with KDP, the term “publisher” is used to describe anyone who wishes to sell an e-book, not just established name brand publishing houses.
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