Kindle Print Replica Ebooks are PDFs in a Wrapper

On Sunday everyone noticed that Amazon had launched a new ebook format. I spent a little while Sunday afternoon playing with it and I shared what few details I noticed.

Paul Durrant of Durrant Publishing read my post about the new KPR format and he was inspired to do a little digging. He's figured out how to extract the contents of a KPR ebook.

It turns out that KPR files aren't just made from a PDF; they are PDF files. All Amazon did was to wrap the PDF in another file format in order to disguise the fact that it is a PDF. I'm told that the file isn't even anything new; it's a PDB file. I told you earlier this week that Amazon liked control over accessibility. I'd say that they just proved me right beyond a shadow of a doubt.

BTW, PDB is short for Palm Database, and it's a file format invented by Palm (way back in the dark ages) at the time they developed their first PDA. Most of the variations of this format are well known, so it shouldn't be too hard to create tools to work with KPR files.

Paul also updated a python script and now you can extract the PDF from the KPR. I don't think it handles the DRM, though.

Now that we know what is inside a KPR ebook, the important question is  how do I make one? Right now I'm waiting to hear back from Paul. I asked him if he could modify his script so it would take a PDF and turn it into a KPR file. TBH, I don't think it's going to be terribly useful, but I like to have my options open.

Once we can make a KPR file we will be able to sidestep Amazon and add PDF support to Kindle4PC. That could prove useful to anyone who is already centered on the Kindle platform.

8 thoughts on “Kindle Print Replica Ebooks are PDFs in a Wrapper

  1. I was hoping that amazon had done some good and actually made a leaner, more efficient PDF-like format that could cut down on file sizes for everyone. So much for that.

  2. I think this new format could be an adapted PDF format for 6″ eReaders. We know, and Amazon knows too, that the PDF files are not very well shown in ereader devices.

  3. Perhaps I should mention that PDB files aren’t a new thing for Amazon. The Mobipocket format that’s used for the majority of Kindle eBooks is also based on PDB.

    Kindle/Print Replica ebooks very closely resemble the Kindle/Mobipocket ebooks, except for the payload, which for Kindle/Mobipocket is the limited HTML 3.2-ish content, and for Kindle/Print Replica is the PDF wrapped up with some (currently unknown use) other data.

    What details are currently known are at the MobileRead wiki:

  4. So what are these files actually for? Am I missing something here? Are they to be sold on Amazon as an alternative to PDF? So they will have kindle files and KPR?

    1. When it was announced I thought it was a backwards compatible solution which had been developed so publishers could get more existing textbooks into the Kindle platform.

      I don’t know about 2015, but when I last took classes in 2012, there were a lot of textbooks available in PDF with Adobe DE DRM. Those textbooks could be easily converted by the publisher into KPR.

      I’m not sure why the format has stuck around, though.

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