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Guest Blog Post by Christine Carlson
With the launch of its Kindle Fire last year, Kindle added a new ebook format called KF8 (Kindle Format 8). Its launch made a big difference in the viewing experience of children’s picture books on its devices.
What does this mean for parents?: It means that you and your child will get a much richer reading experience out of a KF8 picture book. To make sure you’re getting the best possible books for viewing on your Kindle device, look for the logo on Amazon (shown below) when shopping for Children’s Picture ebooks.
1. Children’s picture eBooks now look more like printed books
The new KF8 format adds 150 new formatting capabilities to enable a more enhanced reading experience. KF8 allows for the book to be created with customized fonts, colors, styles, borders, line spacing, drop caps, and much more that enable the ebook publisher to match the look of its print book counterpart.
2. Richer, more vibrant images
Image-rich books now appear much bolder and more vivid, with images of higher-resolution color and detail. Zoomable images don’t lose fidelity, smooth color gradients are viewable in graphics, and images appear in their original clear and vibrant form.
3. Pop-up text & images for easier reading
You can now have text pop up at an expanded size over images in books built to the KF8 format. For kids learning to read, the larger text makes it much easier to see. You can navigate between text pop-up sections by tapping to the right or left to move forward or backward. To return to the normal view, simply double-tap anywhere on the screen. Look at #5 for more on this.
4. Pages can fill the screen to the largest size possible
If purchasing a KF8 book, the pages of the book may be optimized to fill the Kindle screen to its maximum size. At KiteReaders, we ensure that there is no “letter boxing” or dead space on the screen. This allows you to see images at their maximized size and to view text at a more child-friendly scale.
5. Fixed Layout Formatting = A clearer, simpler reading experience
The KF8 format makes it possible to create children’s picture books as fixed layout books. Fixed layout books are books where the text and images remain in a fixed position on the page, which allows picture ebooks to appear in the same way as they do in printed form. On the other hand, chapter books are formatted as flowable text books, where the text wraps and “re-flows” around images depending on your screen orientation and text size.
A quick summary of the differences is noted below. The main point here is that children’s books can now be viewed on the Kindle in the format in which they were originally intended.
|Fixed Layout||Flowable Text (Non-Fixed Layout)|
|- Most commonly used with children’s picture books, comic books, graphic novels||- Most commonly used with chapter book|
- Double Tap Feature: Double tap on text or an image to get a pop up for:
- Can change font size and background color within the book
- Pinch Zoom Capability: Select an image and zoom in using your fingers
|- Image with text on top for fixed layout format||- Text wraps around images for flowable format|
Fixed Layout – Double Tap Feature:
The Great Voyages of Zheng He Julio Bunny Goes to the Moon
Flowable Text – Change Font Size and Background Color:
Images from HTML5 For Publishers
Flowable Text – Pinch Zoom Capability:
Images from HTML5 For Publishers
To Sum It All Up:
If you were to view two Kindle picture ebooks side by side, one published with a KF8 format and the other without KF8 formatting, you would notice a rather big difference. KF8 maximizes all the new features of your device, using higher quality text and images to enhance the overall reading experience.
About the Author: Christine Carlson is the Senior Designer of KiteReaders, a publishing platform for children’s ebooks and apps. Combining over 15 years of consumer marketing and interactive design experience, Christine has a passion for improving literacy and learning through the use of well-designed digital tools. Her goal is to create new tools that will encourage kids to enjoy learning and be inspired to use their imaginations.
I need to make a Kindle version of my iPad book soon, but I was hoping that all of its capabilities could transfer (Read-Aloud and built-in dictionary). I see that you can now zoom in on the illustrations which will help readers find the hidden dragons in "Princess Ramona, Beloved of Beasts." I do know that I need to reformat the illustrations dimensions to fit the Kindle screen. Here is a link to the book: http://belovedofbeasts.com
Hi @RuthGilmoreIngulsrud! No, Kindle books do not have this function. Hopefully they will soon though- it really is an amazing function for the iPad!
Do the books have the Read-Aloud function with the highlighting of words as they are spoken? This is one of my favorite features of the iPad books.
@RuthGilmoreIngulsrud we've run into that issue as well. Our iOS .epub has a great read-along and word highlight function that unfortunately isn't available on a kindle.
It's really too bad because it brings the books to life!
@RuthGilmoreIngulsrud Unfortunately Kindle devices do not include read-aloud or word highlighting at this point. We definitely agree that it is a great benefit to readers (especially early readers) for more ebooks to include this function. We are hoping the Kindle's future upgrades will start including those two features... perhaps as more readers ask to have that included, it will become mainstream across all the major devices!