Amazon Adds All-Bold Font in Kindle Update 5.8.7

Amazon has just shown us that if you shout about an issue long enough and loud enough then they will add a feature which solves the problem.

Amazon rolled out a Kindle update today which adds a new font option. Kindle owners with vision problems can now select the font Ember Bold for an easier reading expereince.

Ember Bold is a new variation of the typeface Amazon released in April alongside the Kindle Oasis, and here it is alongside the orgiinal:

So what's the value of an all-bold font option?

I can answer that in one word: legibility.

Readers with old eyes or certain vision problems frequently find regular weight fonts difficult to read. That's why they use reading apps  like FBReader which offer an all-bold option, or why they buy ereaders like Kobo which let you install your own font.

This issue doesn't bother all readers, but if you have ever encountered a webpage with a font which was too light to read then you can appreciate the problem. (Just multiply it by one hundred, and you'll understand what some readers are going through.)

And finally, after years of campaigning by advocates like David Rothman of Teleread, Amazon has finally added a bold font option.

You can find the update on Amazon's website. it is available for the 6th-gen Kindle Paperwhite and later models.

About Nate Hoffelder (11593 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."

16 Comments on Amazon Adds All-Bold Font in Kindle Update 5.8.7

  1. It’s a great start-I happen to like Ember already. I just downloaded it from Amazon- Bold Ember is perfect for me. They do need to provide another bold option for those that prefer serifs.

  2. This is good to hear. I emailed Jeff Bezos about adding a bold font back in June and I received a response from a customer service rep saying the feedback was passed on to the Kindle team.
    It seems they have responded.

  3. i like the new font. its nice to see kindles up to 11 font choices. what would be fantastic would be a simple option to have any of the font choices be able to be set bold (gasp.. i am speaking witchcraft here).

    sidenote: not sure if this is a canadian thing or not.. but the wireless updates don’t always kick in on the same day they are released. any other canadian kindle users have the same problem?
    i always seem to need to manually update. #firstworldproblems

    • I have never been able to have it automatically update even leaving WiFi on for weeks at a time, but manually dragging the file to the device and clicking update inside the interface always works.

  4. FWIW, if you don’t want to wait for the update you can download the font yourself and add it to the ebook you’re currently reading using Calibre then sideload it to your Kindle. You might have to fix the ebook’s drm.

    It’s a lot easier than it sounds and you can find the directions for each step by Googling how

  5. I would rather see a medium weight font. If the book you are reading has bold text anywhere you won’t be able to see it with an all bold font.

  6. @Purple Lady: This is exactly why a Kobo-style slider to control the bold level would be terrific–you could easily choose medium. Meanwhile kudos to Amazon for some much-appreciated progress. See https://teleread.org/2016/12/01/kindles-finally-get-boldface-may-amazon-now-catch-up-with-kobos-typography-in-other-ways/ .

    • So maybe you should have pushed for a better solution than all bold for years.

      • @PurpleLady: My preference has long been the Kobo-style slider, which would still allow you to adjust the level of boldness so you could see subheads. But the all-bold option is better than nothing. Besides, I can normally spot subheads even if all bold is in use.

  7. Nate, do you have the bold Ember available for download like you offered the other ember fonts (e.g., http://the-digital-reader.com/2016/04/21/100693/)

    • Not yet.

      I am working on it.

    • I downloaded the “Ember-bookerly.zip” file when it was made available here back in April 2016. After unzipping it, I installed only the “Amazon-Ember-Bold.ttf” and “Amazon-Ember-BoldItalic.ttf” files into the Windows 7 font folder, and did not install the Regular or RegularItalic files… When I have imported ebooks into Calibre and converted them to azw3 format and specified Amazon Ember as the font, it always makes the entire ebook Ember Bold (since there is no Regular style to use)… and after installed, that is selectable on the Paperwhite 2 or 3 as “Publisher Font”

      This has worked perfectly… the ebook text is nice and dark… and yes, I am older

  8. It only took them how long?
    Anyway, it’s very very belated start. How does ember compare to caecilia? I use bold caecilia and I would like to see that on a Kindle.

  9. Thanks for posting this, I’ll update my kindle later today. I can’t wait! This was the key thing that kept me going back to Kobo.

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