Amazon has recently released the fourth generation Kindles and developed a new ebook format. Kindle Fire is the first Kindle to offer support to the newly announced KF8 format, which is designed by Amazon to compete with the latest epub format in the formatting (read, eye-candy) department. Unfortunately, Kindle Fire has dropped support for many of the features that made the Kindle platform great (see our earlier post) such as instant search and dictionary/index support. Moreover, the new KF8 format has no support for dictionaries/indices!
When late last year I asked Amazon whether the new format will include this awesome feature, Amazon’s response* was, “Unfortunately, we’re unable to provide details on the capabilities of the KF8 until it’s released for KDP. However, we will continue to sell books that use Mobi’s index/dictionary functionality.” I still had hopes until the official announcement of the KF8 format, which was made yesterday, December 11. Buried deep in one of the documents released along with the announcement was the statement that “dictionary is only supported in Mobi7 format”, which means that the brand new KF8 will have no such support. Kindle Fire is the first Kindle to support KF8 (and not to support dictionaries/indices).
On November 2, 2011, Amazon announced that they were shutting down the last remains of Mobipocket platform. My fear is that in a short period of time when KF8 support is widespread, even the vestiges of great features that Mobipocket format offered will be removed and discarded by Amazon. If that happens, Kindle will be just a good device (when compared to its epub brethren) with no outstanding qualities.
* Correspondence from Amazon dated December 27, 2011
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