Have You Tried The New Kindle Font, Bookerly?

kindle itunes logoAmazon will probably never satisfy typography enthusiasts but that doesn't mean they're not continually improving the fonts they offer on the Kindle platform.

A couple months ago Amazon quietly started rolling out a new font for the Kindle platform. There was no announcement, and the font is still not widely available, but if you read on your Fire tablet then you may have gotten a little pop up telling you that there is a new font choice available.

The font is called Bookerly, and for those of you without a Fire tablet, here it is on the right (Georgia is on the left):

click to embiggen

click to embiggen

I've been reading with the new font this afternoon, and I'm not sure what to say. Sure, it looks a little nicer, but I was fine with the existing fonts. I never really had a complaint against Amazon's font choices (justification is another matter).

I've been in ebooks long enough to know that ebooks used to look much worse than they do now, so when I hear the font purists complaining I simply tune them out and go back to reading.

What do you think of the new font?

If you haven't had a chance to try Bookerly yet, there is a way for you to install it.

The font is not available on my Kindle iPad app nor on the Kindle Android app I checked. And I also have reports that it's not available on E-ink Kindles either. But if you would like to try it, one helpful soul over on XDA Forums extracted the font files and I have them posted as a ZIP file.

If you've hacked your kindle, you can sideload the font. You can also embed the font in an ebook file (Epub or KF8).

What do you think?

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About Nate Hoffelder (11463 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

20 Comments on Have You Tried The New Kindle Font, Bookerly?

  1. It works fine in open reading apps like FBreader and Coolreader and it should work in Kobos.

    It is a very crisp font…
    …maybe a wee bit too crisp. 🙂

    The verticals seem just a bit too thin.
    I still prefer Georgia.

  2. Reading is fine, I actually forgot I’d clicked to try the new font until I saw this post. I seem to have difficulty finding a comfortable size, however, without feeling like I’ve crossed into large print. Before Bookerly I had the font size set where I liked it, and it stayed for all the titles I downloaded. Now, I have to adjust it for each title. (It could be me–I’m a newcomer to reading ebooks on a regular basis, and maybe my before/after sample size is too small.)

  3. I don’t love it. To me, it can’t seem to figure out what it wants to be. It’s marginally readable and the serifs, at first blush, appear to be slab … and if that’s what they were going for they should’ve just stuck with Caecelia. But the more you look at the font as a whole, the more it resembles Baskerville… and if that’s what they were going for they should’ve just made Baskerville the default.

  4. “But if you would like to try it, one helpful soul over on XDA Forums extracted the font files and I have them posted as a ZIP file.”

    Legal trouble. Fonts have licenses and you can’t use it as you wish. We’re talking multi-million lawsuit here.

  5. I still prefer Palatino, thankyouverymuch.

  6. Looks like a slab serif font, not impressed. I prefer Georgia on tablets, Palatino on kindles, and Baskerville on paper.

  7. Thanks.

    I’ll try it on my Kobo. 😉

  8. I remember a time when authors and publishers put an exorbitant amount of thought into fonts, layout and line spacing. Updike comes to mind and there were many others. Having grown up in a time when learning to block type was part of “shop” in middle school, I’m glad to see some attention spent on it in the digital age. Most modern print books I pick up look horrible. My expectations with e-books is low, but they’ve come a long way.

  9. Why are Amazon wasting their time on fonts? I’ll tell you what they need to be working on in two words: hyphen-ation. Default justification without hyphenation is a surefire recipe for ugly.

  10. Muratcan Simsek // 9 May, 2015 at 4:44 am // Reply

    No kerning? Amazon disappoints again…

    • Opening the font in FontForge reveals that the font has plenty of kerning classes. I do not know whether Kindle Fire honors them or not though.

  11. William Ockham // 19 May, 2015 at 12:01 pm // Reply

    It’s really hard to beat Georgia for screen readability (on non-eink devices, a good slab serif works better on eink, imho).

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