A Kindle ebook is not an EPUB—rather, it uses MOBI7 or KF8. Kindle has the lion's share of reflowable ebook sales in the US.
- [Instructor] A Kindle book internally is similar to an EPUB, it uses HTML and CSS, but it just uses a different extension, .mobi. And most of the books that you find for the Kindle are reflowable, few are fixed layout, but what I think makes Kindle eBooks most special to end-users is how they sync across multiple devices. And that's one of the reasons they are one of the most popular platforms is, you saw in an earlier video, they account for 70 to 80 percent of all eBook sales.
You can get the free Kindle reader for basically any platform, so here I am running it on my Macintosh, and these are books that I have added to my library or purchased. And here is the English Cottage Gardens one, so I can double click it and read it right here in the Kindle reader. This is the same English Cottage Gardens that we've been looking at as an EPUB in earlier videos in this title, and I've converted it to a mobi file, which is why I'm able to open it in the Kindle reader. Kindle reader normally doesn't recognize EPUB files, it can only recognize mobi files.
And I'll talk about how to convert EPUB's to mobi in another video in this chapter. But essentially, as you can see, the Kindle format is just like a reflowable EPUB. I can change the size of the type. I can change the number of columns, the width of the page, the brightness. I can even change the font. Now unlike an EPUB, it usually doesn't support embedded fonts, so it uses this font called Bookerly, which is a fancy new font that they've just added to the latest Kindle eBook version; or I can change to a different typeface and a different background.
So I'm going to go back to Bookerly. You can add notes, you can copy text. Again, everything is selectable just like in any other reflowable or actually fixed layout EPUB. Now there's a special program that you can download from Amazon that's free for Mac and Windows, and I'll include the link in the pdf. It's called Kindle Previewer; let me hide the others here so we can take a closer look. With Kindle Previewer you can choose to open any eBook, any EPUB or mobi file, and it will convert it, if necessary, to mobi file.
And here what's cool about Kindle Previewer is that you can preview what your eBook will look like in various models of the Kindle readers. So this is looking at it in a tablet, in portrait mode, and I can say, "What happens if I had a tablet Kindle reader, and I switched it to landscape mode, how does it reflow?" I can navigate throughout the different pages. I can change fonts. The Publisher font is supported inside Kindle Previewer, because it's usually supported inside a Kindle reader. It's just the Kindle app that doesn't normally support embedded fonts.
I can also say, "Let's see what it looks like in one of the E-Ink devices." And these are the devices that are strictly for reading eBooks, and they're not tablets like the Kindle Fire devices. Kind of hard to keep everything straight with Kindle, because they kind of try to hide things from you. We call them mobi files because that's the extension that we get when we convert them from EPUB to mobi, but that is actually not the current version of Kindle books. If we go to Kindle Format 8, KF8, this is almost the current version of Kindle books.
They don't end with .KF8 though, everything ends with .mobi as far as us producers are concerned. But KF8 was introduced in 2011, and for the first time uses HTML 5, CSS 3, supports fixed layout, drop caps, all sorts of fun stuff, and it shows examples of all the fun things that KF8 brings it. Now when you convert your file to a mobi using some of the techniques I'll show, and you upload it to the Amazon Kindle Publisher Portal, they will automatically embed the KF8 code.
And then when you download an eBook from the Kindle store, it always says, "Where do you want to download it to? Where should I send it? To your tablet? To your iPhone? To the cloud reader?" And so on... And Amazon themselves will send the correct, most up-to-date version for that file format. So I guess, in other words, we have far less control over what's happening internally inside Kindle books, and we just have to leave it up to Amazon themselves to send the correct version of the file. It makes it a little more challenging when you're testing your eBooks on different Kindle devices, but I hope that now when you encounter these extensions like .mobi or people are talking about KF8 books, and the most recent version a couple months ago, they call it KFX, those are the eBooks that support enhanced type setting, they come with a Bookerly typeface and they have better hyphenation and word spacing.
They are calling it KFX now, that you'll just take it with a grain of salt, just roll with it, and just understand that the Kindle eBook format is very similar to the current EPUB 3 format, and we'll go from there.
- Finding, downloading, and reading free ebooks
- Choosing the right format for your ebook
- Building reflowable EPUBs and fixed-layout EPUBs
- Using tools like Word, Sigil, calibre, Jutoh, Pages, PubCoder, and InDesign
- Adding animation and interactivity such as clickable buttons
- Creating ebooks for the Kindle
- Learning the pros and cons of PDF ebooks
- Creating reflowable and multitouch ebooks with iBooks Author