Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nook with a Book on a Hook

I was reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to my girls last night and this page really caught my attention (click=large):


It makes me wonder if that is what Barnes and Noble had in mind when they named their new eBook reading device...

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Greek text on the Kindle

As I mentioned in my last post, the Amazon team recently released a firmware update (version 1.2) that allows some much-needed functionality in Kindle books. I was finally able to test the Greek functionality and figured out how to add Greek text to HTML files destined for the Kindle.

First, add the Greek characters into the file using Unicode character entities. For instance, the lowercase alpha is α or α. You could also add the actual character (copied from character map or another source) but I do not suggest doing that since it is usually a better coding practice to use the entity. Also, it just makes inserting and messing with the characters easier.

After the characters are inserted, the file needs to be saved with a Unicode encoding. I suggest using UTF-8, a very common encoding that will be sufficient for these purposes. Just open the HTML file in your default text editor or in Notepad, go to the Save As dialog box, set the encoding to UTF-8, and save the file with the same name or a new one. That HTML file can now be used in Mobipocket Creator to create a PRC file for testing, or be sent to the Kindle through the automated conversion system.

As always, I do not suggest you try uploading Microsoft Word or PDF files, with or without these characters in them. The Kindle format is HTML, and you are always better off formatting and tweaking in that code.

Overall, the Greek support is pretty good on the Kindle. The only characters which are not supported are the archaic koppa, sampi, digamma, and stigma in uppercase and lowercase. The Kindle does support all of the other Greek characters, including all of the pre-composed characters with diacritics... and I mean all of them. I was not able to find any that are not covered. I have included some screenshots below that will give you a sampling of what the Greek looks like on the device, including in the mono-spaced font.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts on this, please let me know!

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Brain dump

I have been pretty busy (as always!), but I figured it was time to pass along some links I have been collecting and some news about what is new at Kindle Formatting.
  1. I have finally finished the first draft of my book, and I am expecting the proof copy back from the printer Tuesday. My lovely wife is going to proof it for me and I am going to look it over and ensure that everything is up to snuff. Barring any problems, the book should be in print no later than the first week of February. I will probably release the Kindle version before that point, and I might even be offering snippits or chapters on this website as free downloads. Stay Tuned!
  2. I have been doing Kindle conversions for over a year now, and I have decided to make this business my full-time job. As with any other entrepreneur I am a bit anxious about stepping away from the comfort of corporate covering, but I believe very strongly that I can be a greater asset to authors and publishers if I can focus more attention on the services I am offering. Please let me know if you have any projects for me or need any assistance dealing with eBooks of any type.
  3. Foxit Software, a company that makes a PDF viewing product designed to replace Adobe Acrobat, has decided to submit an entry into the eBook device field. From what I can tell, the eSlick just looks like a PDF-reading device, not a robust eBook reader. The specs say that it supports PDF and TXT only, and that it comes with a converter (Foxit Pro, I assume) that will let you print files to a PDF so they can be loaded on the device. What about ePub? Or Mobipocket? Is it really that hard to support eBook standards that are more commonly available than PDFs? I could see PDFs being a big deal for a 8x10 inch device, where the screen more closely matches the size of the print document, but the eSlick is still only the same size as the Kindle. Overall, not worth the cost.
  4. David Rothman over at Teleread has sent out a call for an open source eBook development solution. I like the idea of his ePubWriter, even though I have to question the need within the actual publishing world. Most publishers are using InDesign, and, to be honest, I think most of them are not using that to its full potential. However, ePubWriter would actually be a boon to the growing number of independent authors out there looking for an easy way to get their book in print and in the various e-versions. Any open source developers care to heed the call? I'd be interested in heading up the project if we can pull enough developers together.
  5. Adrian Graham wrote an interesting history of eBooks over the last 10 years. Informative reading.

That's all for now!

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Not with the DOJ

I was looking at my website stats the other day and noticed that someone dropped by after searching for "kindle 1.0" on, the new search engine that some people are saying will take on Google. I found it quite amusing when I did that search myself because they placed a Department of Justice seal next to the KindleFormatting search result. For the record, I am in no way affiliated with or being investigated by the DOJ. I think cuil needs to work on their web spiders some more...

cuil search


Sunday, July 20, 2008

FAQ page

I have just added a new Frequently Asked Questions page to the website! I tried to fill it in with some of the questions I have heard most from my clients and from others looking to publish on the Kindle, but if you have a question that I have not answered, please drop me a line!


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kindle Review

Charlie Martin has written a nice review of the Kindle on Pajamas Media. While he mentions nothing about formatting for the Kindle, he did take the time to look at my website and send me an e-mail, so he warrants a mention. ;)


Friday, March 21, 2008

Kindle Saves You Time

Here is a nice interview with a Kindle user (on the indispensable Lifehacker), with some examples of how the Kindle can make life a little easier. Be sure to check out the YouTube video, which is a great introduction to the Kindle. I have even added it to the sidebar here.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Safari Pad in the making?

Is Steve Jobs going to make the jump into the eBook market? Who knows... but this guy has some interesting speculation on the topic. (Hat tip Kindleville).


Sunday, February 10, 2008

New Kindle Formatting Blog

I have decided to add a blog to this web site to make it easy for me to pass along interesting information I find from time to time. Please be sure to check out my personal website, The Four Questions.