Amazon’s new KF8 format

Peter Bright

With its Android-powered, full-color Kindle Fire tablet just around the corner, Amazon has announced a new e-book format to take advantage of its richer features. The new file format, Kindle Format 8 (KF8), is based on HTML5, and with it, Amazon aims to bring some of the flexibility and power that HTML5 offers to the world of e-books.

HTML-based e-book formats are not new; EPUB, Mobipocket, and the current Kindle format (a variant of Mobipocket) are all based on subsets of HTML. However, the existing formats are very limited, offering publishers little control over fonts, layout, and text formatting. This makes them ill-suited to, for example, children’s books, comics, and technical publications. Formats like PDF offer much richer control over presentation, but forfeit the ability to reflow text to adjust to different screen and font sizes, essential to a true e-book format.

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