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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Improved eInk Displays

Well, the news of the day revolves around the recently announced improvements to the eInk technology.  Honestly, it looks like good news.  I know, many people are holding out for color, but this is still something to be excited about.

According to information from the recent Red Ferret interview, we’re looking at the potential for significantly higher contrast and refresh rates on eInk displays being made available by the end of the year, as well as some noticeable improvements in durability not too far off beyond that.  Comments were made regarding the potential for animation now that the refresh rate has been improved so significantly, but we can probably take that as more of an example case than a real goal for the technology.  Maybe for scrolling effects?  I can certainly see those being a major boon for eInk based web browsers, if nothing else.

Anyway, good news for the future of eReaders in the face of the increasing competition from the tablet market.  It comes at an especially good time, we can hope, with the prevailing opinion being that the next generations of both the Kindle and the nook are probably coming in the next year or so.

Kindle DX second impressions

After using Kindle DX for a while I would like to add to my first impressions. In my original review I’ve described large screen as more of a disadvantage because of the reduced mobility rather than something good. After Almost a month of usage I’ve changed my opinion.

I’ve actually come to like the larger screen. Reading experience is more book-like. I’ve used second smallest font on both Kindle DX and K2. With DX I have to slip pages less often and I actually like it this way because this actually distracts me a little bit from the process of reading. I’ve also found that additional weight doesn’t tire my hand this much and that I actually read at home much more than I do on the go.

Then there was another occurrence that elevated my opinion about DX even more. My eyes can hardly be called perfect. I wear +4.0/+5.0 glasses or contacts on constant basis. There was this evening when I already took out my contacts and then decided to read a little bit before going to sleep. Yet, alas! My glasses were nowhere to be found. I took my DX and set the font size to second largest that turned out quite comfortable to read with my uncorrected eyesight. With Kindle DX even at such large font size there was enough text on the screen for me to enjoy reading. I tried the same trick on Kindle 2 later and there were only 2 or 3 sentences on the screen at a time so I had to flip pages several times a minute.

I realize that this is all not rocket science but perhaps this first hand experience will help someone to decide Kindle DX vs. Kindle 2 dilemma :)

Are e-books ready for technical content?

If e-book readers are to ever catch on then they must be able to display all kinds of documents and information, from novels to picture albums to technical documents. This presents a challenge for publishers right now because whist e-book readers are catching on, they don’t posses the technology to display anything other than just words and simple black and white images. A lot of publishers are wanting to put their technical documents on to e-ink devices, however technology in the e-ink industry is limiting how those documents can be displayed.

Once such publisher is Dave Thomas from Pragmatic Programmer which publishes technical programming books, as you can imagine, programming books will be full of diagrams, tables, code lists and images — they are really tricky to reproduce for e-book viewing.

This is what Dave had to say

About once a week, we get a request from a reader to have our books available in a format that can be read on an eBook reader (typically, nowadays, the Amazon Kindle).

In fact, we’ve had a prototype form of that capability for a while now, but we’ve always held back. Frankly, we didn’t think the devices worked well with our kind of content. Basically, the .mobi format used by the Kindle is optimized for books that contain just galleys of text with the occasional heading. Throw in tables, monospaced code listings, sidebars and the like, and things start to get messy. The .epub format (used, for example, by Adobe Digital Editions) is slightly more capable, but it also has issues.

You can see exactly what Dave is talking about because he has uploaded his tests, you can see the results here;

kindle formatting testkindle formatting testkindle formatting testkindle formatting test

Dave goes on to say getting to this stage required a lot of hacks, for instance the code listings have been converted to images so that they render better, however they don’t scale when the user changes the font size — i’m sure many more hacks were used to get to this stage, Dave finises with a good question:

So… what do you think. Is this workable? Should we make these available, even though they’re not very good, or should we wait for a later generation of eBook that’s closer to the capabilities we need? Comments are open… :)

What do you think, should publishers wait or press on knowing this is the best possible outcome given the current technology?

Source: O’Reilly, PragDave