New Kindle ebook format

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The Kindle is getting a new file format to replace MOBI called KF8

Amazon is rolling out a new ebook file format to replace the limited MOBI format it has used since the very first Kindle.

Amazon uses the AZW extension for ebooks ‘locked’ with digital rights management.

It’s called Kindle Format v8 using the KF8 extension.

As we mentioned in Office documents on your ebook reader, the MOBI format uses a very limited set of HTML commands and even those don’t work very well. Usually simple things like a table are effectively impossible with MOBI.

KF8 aims to fix these limitations with an expanded set of HTML tags and CSS attributes.

There’s HTML5 and CSS3 support, fixed layouts, nested tables, callouts, sidebars, embedded fonts and drop caps. KF8 has support for SVG, Scalable Vector Graphics which means a single graphic can be adjusted to any size without loss of fidelity. Amazon has an overview.

There are also ‘pop up text’ and ‘panel views’ for graphic books and comics.

This is for the near future but worth keeping in mind because KF8 should mean that Office documents can be converted to Kindle with more fidelity than at present.

The Kindle Publisher Tools –KindleGen and Kindle Previewer are now available with KF8 support.

KF8 is only supported on the Kindle Fire however Amazon is rolling out updates for other Kindle devices to view the new format.

Calibre, the indispensable tool for ebook users, has started implementing KF8. Eventually you’ll be able to convert ebooks to the KF8 format.

The existing MOBI/AZW format will still work on Kindle’s for the forseeable future. KF8 means the range of ebooks available can be expanded beyond the standard ‘straight text’ books to technical and graphic books that need more complex formatting.

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