When Amazon launched the first Kindle in 2007, they included an easter egg feature where you could change the justification from full (where the text is stretched to both edges of the screen) to left justification (where the text has a ragged right edge).
That easter egg was dropped from later Kindle models, but now Amazon has brought the feature back in the latest Kindle firmware update.
Amazon rolled out a firmware update today for the Kindle Voyage, Oasis, basic Kindle, and the late model Kindle Paperwhites which added a bunch of useful features.
In addition to the new justification option (which only works on ebooks in the KFX format), the update also makes the highlighting feature more responsive and adds a number of features which make it a lot more pleasant to read manga (assuming you are touched in the head and read manga on a Kindle).
The other new features are great, but I think the important feature today is the ragged right justification option, and that is because of what it says about text justification on the kindle.
Do you remember a couple years back when Amazon debuted the advanced typography features of the KFX format?
That was supposed to have fixed the problem of crappy automatic ebook formatting. Ask a typography nut or anyone
Ask a typography nut or anyone in digital publishing and they’ll tell you that a common problem in ebooks is when the software tries to stretch text to both sides of the screen just like you find in a book. This works well in paper books, but when it comes to ebooks what we usually get is large and irregular gaps between words.
Those large gaps are unsightly and make it hard to read the ebook, and that is why Amazon’s advanced typography features were supposed to fix that problem a couple years ago.
But with today’s update, Amazon is admitting that all the fancy typography software in the world can’t solve the problem of ebook formatting.
That’s why Amazon is finally giving readers the option of ragged right, a justification option which offends typography experts and can sometimes actually give you a better reading experience.
Me, I love ragged right; it’s one of the options I always look for in a reading app, and its absence is one of the reasons why I dislike reading on a Kindle.
So today’s news has me thrilled.
But that’s just me; what do you think of the changes?
You can download the update from Amazon, or simply wait for an automatic update.
- Ragged Right Alignment: You can now read using left-aligned (ragged right) text instead of justified (aligned on both left and right margin). This new alignment option can be selected from the Display Settings (Aa) menu within Kindle books that support Enhanced Typesetting. On the Kindle eBook Store page, look for “Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled” in the features list.
- Faster Highlighting: You can now touch and drag to make a highlight more quickly. Tap the highlight again to edit or delete it.
- Advanced manga page turn controls: You can now drag left and right to adjust speed and direction when using the fast continuous page turn feature while reading manga.
- Preview manga double page spreads: You’ll now see a preview of double page spreads at the bottom of the page while reading manga. Tap the preview to see a full landscape view of the spread, and tap again to close it.
- Crop margins in manga: You can now remove blank margins from manga pages for a closer view of the content. Enable this option from the Display Settings (Aa) menu within manga books.