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.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
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.

18 Comments

  1. Steve H30 November, 2016

    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.

    Reply
  2. Frank30 November, 2016

    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.

    Reply
  3. poiboy30 November, 2016

    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

    Reply
    1. Frank30 November, 2016

      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.

      Reply
      1. poiboy1 December, 2016

        okay.. good to know its not just me.. or my country, lol.

        Reply
  4. BDR30 November, 2016

    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

    Reply
    1. poiboy1 December, 2016

      good point.. side loading always works well. and your own choice of font is nice huh?

      Reply
  5. Purple lady1 December, 2016

    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.

    Reply
  6. David Rothman1 December, 2016

    @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/ .

    Reply
    1. Purple Lady1 December, 2016

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

      Reply
      1. David H. Rothman1 December, 2016

        @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.

        Reply
  7. greg1 December, 2016

    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/)

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder1 December, 2016

      Not yet.

      I am working on it.

      Reply
    2. gmercator4 December, 2016

      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

      Reply
  8. Lemondrop2 December, 2016

    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.

    Reply
  9. DavidW3 December, 2016

    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.

    Reply
  10. David Cobain21 February, 2017

    Just how dumb/incompetent can these people be? Kobo (which has its own systemic shortcomings) has for years provided adjustable-weight fonts, plus the ability to add fonts. Attempting to address this by giving readers just one bold Sans-Serif face is dumb to the point of idiocy!

    Reply
  11. David H. Rothman21 February, 2017

    @David Cobain: Thanks for speaking out. Please write [email protected] about the need for optional all-text bolding of all typefaces–not just on Kindles but also on Fires and in Kindle apps on all platforms.

    An e-mail campaign will pay off in time. It’s a matter of numbers. If enough people speak out, Jeff’s commercial instincts will prevail. If any media people are reading this, I’d suggest coverage of the bold issue. Older people and K-12 kids with special needs can be especially affected.

    Of course, the best solution is Kobo’s slider approach. Just why won’t Amazon use it when users appreciate it so much? Corporate ego? It would be a cinch for Amazon to add an optional “Advanced” menu for people who truly want to customize their ereading experience. It’s horrible the way Amazon has dumbed down ereading for the masses.

    Please note that TeleRead’s “bold” campaign is not an anti-Amazon jihad–Jeff gets most of my gadget dollars, and I applaud his many innovations and other positives.

    Reply

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