Have You Tried The New Kindle Font, Bookerly?

Have You Tried The New Kindle Font, Bookerly? Fire Font Amazon 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):

Have You Tried The New Kindle Font, Bookerly? Fire Font
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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Nate Hoffelder

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Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

26 Comments

  1. fjtorres8 February, 2015

    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.

    Reply
  2. Marcie8 February, 2015

    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.)

    Reply
    1. Ashley9 February, 2015

      Hi there, Marcie. My name is Ashley and I work on the Kindle development team at Amazon. I read your comment and have some questions about your experience since you changed your font to Bookerly since font settings should be sticky- once you change them in one Kindle book they should display with these same settings in all books (with some exceptions).

      Is there some way that I can contact you so I can get some more information about this and figure out if we have a problem that needs fixing?

      Thanks,
      Ashley

      Reply
      1. Marcie9 February, 2015

        Ashley, thanks for seeing my comment. My email is [email protected]

        Reply
        1. Eiry Thomas9 June, 2016

          Hi Ashley, Could you please advise me whether it’s possible to choose between fonts in the pop up option, that will feature the story texts in my planned e-books. My designer is planning to upload a dyslexic font as the default option, which I’m hoping can be a choice rather than stand alone. Thank you.

          Reply
  3. Rob Siders8 February, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder8 February, 2015

      Yes, it’s neither a serif nor a san serif. I don’t understand it either.

      Reply
  4. bangbango9 February, 2015

    “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.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder9 February, 2015

      If Amazon complains, I’ll take it down. But they probably won’t. They let people share device firmware updates, including hacked ones.

      Reply
  5. eFTy9 February, 2015

    I still prefer Palatino, thankyouverymuch.

    Reply
  6. DavidW9 February, 2015

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

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder9 February, 2015

      I’d never heard that term before. That is what it looks like, yes.

      Reply
  7. Claude9 February, 2015

    Thanks.

    I’ll try it on my Kobo. 😉

    Reply
  8. CJJ9 February, 2015

    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.

    Reply
  9. Dan Hill12 February, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder12 February, 2015

      Yep.That would be a nice optional feature to have.

      Reply
    2. DSpider14 February, 2015

      There’s a plugin for Calibre called “Hyphenate This!”, but that just increases the size of the ebooks… Having it locally on the device instead, would be preferable.

      Come on, Amazon! Do eeeet.

      Reply
  10. Muratcan Simsek9 May, 2015

    No kerning? Amazon disappoints again…

    Reply
    1. elmimmo21 May, 2015

      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.

      Reply
  11. William Ockham19 May, 2015

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

    Reply
  12. […] that Amazon has the Bookerly font, and Kobo has Nickel, I guess that custom fonts are the new ebook fad for the major […]

    Reply
  13. […] custom font just for its E-ink ereaders in 2012, and then developed a completely different font (Bookerly) or the Fire tablets last […]

    Reply
  14. […] also reports that they've added their Bookerly font to the iOS app. Released earlier this year on the Kindle apps for Fire tablets, Bookerly was […]

    Reply
  15. The Kindle Finally Gets Typography That Doesn’t Suck – Co.Design | Great books outlet27 May, 2015

    […] silently soft-launched it on the Kindle Fire earlier this year, a development only a few people noticed—it’s a lovely font. And in my testing, I thought it was even more pleasant than Palantino, […]

    Reply
  16. […] the two models aren't running the same software. Amazon says that the new model will ship with Amazon's Bookerly font. At some point in the future it's also going to get the new hyphenation and line spacing features […]

    Reply
  17. […] bookerly Early last year Amazon released a firmware update for the Fire tablets with a custom serif font, Bookerly, which was developed exclusively for Amazon's use on its Kindle platform. Now Amazon is about to […]

    Reply

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