Should Amazon Have Adopted the ePub?

March 22, 2013 in Articles, eBook Management, Formatting eBooks, Kindle Devices

New Kindle PreviewerWhat a  kerfuffle, Amazon have moved over to their new KF8 format for all the newer Kindle Fire  devices and the new Paperwhite Kindle devices currently being sold. Basically this means that any new Kindle released in the future will support the KF8 format, which in truth is a little like, but not exactly the same as, ePub3. It also means that the Kindle devices that currently operate with the older mobi based formatting will gradually be phased out.

So Amazon have stuck to their policy of having their own proprietary format for their eReaders. The main bone of contention, highlighted by many online publishers, with this strategy is of course that anyone that has bought one of the millions of older Kindle devices is now stuck with the AZW or similar with far less features than KF8 and the two are not compatible i.e. KF8 formatting cannot be used on the older Kindles without problems. Not that a move to ePub would have helped that situation, because ePubs cannot be read with the older Kindles either (or the new Kindles now). Read the rest of this entry →

How to Transfer eBooks to Kindle

February 25, 2013 in Articles, eBook Management, Kindle Devices

Calibre File ConversionOne of the simplest ways to transfer an ebook to a Kindle is to use a conversion program and save the file in a .mobi format.

One of the best conversion programs available, as a free download, is the Calibre Program

Calibre will handle many different ebook formats and once you have added a book to your list you can then use the conversion tool to change it to your desired format. There are a couple of choices for reading books on a Kindle, you can either opt to save the file after conversion as a .azw file, which is Amazon’s own format or you can save it as a .mobi file (recommended) which is a generic format that can be read on a Kindle and for all intents and purposes is pretty much identical to the azw format. The only difference is that they use different DRM (digital rights management) schemes.

But don’t be confused by that if a book has had DRM applied you will not be able to convert it easily using this method, the whole point of DRM is that it prevents the simple sharing of ebooks. There are methods of removing DRM which you can work through if you want to, but I am not sure how good the results will be.

If on the other hand the files are not DRM protected then Calibre is a very good option for the file conversion process. Read the rest of this entry →

The Kindle Fire Comes to the UK

December 17, 2012 in Articles, Kindle Devices

There are now two versions of Kindle Fire available from amazon.co.uk and a new Kindle e-reader:

  • Kindle Fire HD, an advanced tablet with a customised HD display, very fast Wi-Fi connection and an exclusive Dolby audio. It has 11 hours of battery life and up to 16GB of storage space. Not too shabby and long awaited in the UK.
  • Kindle Fire, this device has been the number 1 best selling product on amazon.com for the last year and has been introduced to the UK with a faster processor, double the memory and a longer battery life. This and the HD version can be used for movies and TV show accessible through amazon.co.uk or Lovefilm.com an Amazon company serving the UK
  • The new Kindle e-Reader is small, lightweight and you can now turn pages even faster than before, but the main advantage is that is now on sale for only £69 pounds

That is the good news for anyone that likes the Kindle format for their eBooks, now you can upgrade and get the latest technology or perhaps get the latest Kindle devices as a present for Christmas.

eBook Author News

There is also some good news for writers and authors of eBooks, there is a new feature on the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire called ‘About the Author’. This means that anyone that has bought your book will be able to click on your biography and see a complete list of your books.

This is a very big incentive to go to ‘Author Central’ and make sure you have an up to date profile and, even more importantly, an up to date list of all the books you have published. Also if you publish any new books and claim them through author central, the ‘About the Author’ will be updated on all the Kindles that have your books downloaded. So your fans will know directly through their Kindles that you have published a new book and can purchase it immediately if they so desire.

Amazon’s marketing Tidbit of the Month, as stated in their KDP newsletter, is that authors should also have their very own website. This is so that as an author you can maximise exposure and build your credibility as an author. Another benefit is that your own personal website gives you the opportunity to direct search engines such as Google, Bing etc. to the information they need to help your name come up when people are searching either for you or for the subject of your book. Your own website also gives you the opportunity to link to your books and profile wherever you have them, another benefit highlighted by Amazon. I quote:

“Also, be sure to include links to and from your Amazon Author Central page, your personal website and your book’s detail page, all of these links tell search engines that your book is relevant to people searching either for you or the content of your book.”

Of course another way to do this is to use the facilities on a site like this one, where authors get their own author and book pages or posts. Nice to know we are doing exactly what Amazon recommends :-)

When is a Kindle Not a Kindle?

July 12, 2012 in Articles, Kindle Devices

The answer to this question is not as puzzling as it might first seem, because the answer is very straightforward – when it’s an App.

Basically once you have bought a Kindle book you don’t actually need a Kindle to read it. The Kindle app is available for every type of tablet, smartphone or computer and you can download the one you need here at Free Kindle Apps

If you have a Kindle then that is fine because you can of course read Kindle books on any of the Kindle devices including the Kindle Touch and the Kindle Fire. This will also give you access to the special functionality the Kindle offers. Features like synchronizing the furthest page read, bookmarking, making notes and highlighting across all your different devices. This is done using Amazon’s Whispersync app which was developed so that, no matter what device you choose to read your book with at any time, they will all be up to date and will remember where you were in your book so you can continue where you left off seamlessly. You don’t even need to own a Kindle to useWhispersync, you can use it for your other devices.

A nice feature of a properly formatted Kindle book is the ease with which you can change the font size to suit you and your eyesight. This makes the process of reading your book so much more rewarding, especially when using the E Ink display which I think most people are aware of, if only because of the facility it provides for reading in bright sunlight whilst remaining very clear and crisp. What some people may not be aware of is that you can also change the Typeface, Line Spacing, Words per line and screen rotation very easily and simply. So your reading experience with a Kindle is truly enhanced by letting you choose exactly how you want to read it. A paper book simply can’t do that, but if you feel that you like the way a paper book sits in your hand, you might like to consider buying a cover for your Kindle, then when you flap open the cover to start reading it looks and feels much more like a traditional paper book.

Don’t forget that you are also allowed to read the first chapter of any Kindle book before you have to decide if you want to buy it and usually the ‘Look Inside’ feature is available on Amazon for taking a peak at a book even before you need to download the book or the sample pages.

So yes your Kindle books can be read on your Kindle, BlackBerry, Android devices, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone 7, Mac, PC, or web browser, my personal preference is the most basic Kindle, which also happens to be the cheapest.

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