Amazon’s New HTML-5 Kindle Format 8

Amazon announced a new Kindle Format 8 this week. From Amazon:

“Kindle Format 8 powers the book reader on Kindle Fire. KF8 replaces the Mobi format and adds over 150 new formatting capabilities including support for HTML5 and CSS3. 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.”

What does it mean? For those publishing on Kindle, this is quite big news (no more .MOBI format. Hooray.) TechCrunch also shares some additional thoughts: “Amazon Throws A Minor Curveball With HTML5-Powered Kindle Format 8” —

“In a way this makes Kindle formatted books nothing more than extremely long webpages, but that’s really a matter of perspective. Flexible layouts and well-known rules for handling text, fonts, images, and so on mean that the file format is adaptable to many devices, zoom levels, resolutions, and so on.

… It’s probably a good thing that they’re leaving behind the venerable MOBI format, and their choice upon moving away from it was either to join the enemy ranks (EPUB), build a new format from scratch (tedious), or embrace a buzzword that just happens to fill most of the requirements of an ebook file format. Add a few hooks for Kindle-specific functions, change the extension, and you’ve got yourself a versatile new format for rich bookmaking.”

For the casual Kindle reader, this might not seem like immediately useful news. In theory, this will however mean better, nicer formatting with Kindle ereading, and as the image above suggests, more types of reading material available on Kindle devices, such as the upcoming Kindle Fire.


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I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

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