The Best eBook Format for the Kindle Fire is Epub
The Kindle Fire HD is Amazon’s flagship device, so one might expect that Amazon’s own native apps would be the best at their tasks – on this tablet, anyway. That is not true, and as I was reading a new review of the KFHD I began to realize quite how wrong that idea was.
Marcello, the webmaster for Project Gutenberg, posted his own brief rant on the PG website. I’m not linking to it here because it’s not a terribly useful review (and I don’t want to hold him up for ridicule), but I did want to pick up and reiterate a point.
I think you should read Epub on the Kindle Fire HD.
Marcello’s review was written in the heat, shortly after he encountered a number of issues with the Kindle Fire HD. Some of his anger came from the ads but he was also bothered by how difficult it was to download ebooks from Project Gutenberg in order to read on the Kindle Fire HD.
And he was right; it is difficult.
Whether through a deliberate design decision or mere indifference, Amazon has made it really hard to download and read DRM-free ebooks on the Kindle Fire HD. You can download a Kindle or Mobi ebook and open it, but if you want the ebook to show up in your personal docs you will need to use a file manager to copy the ebook from one folder to another.
That tedious work is something that the KFHD should do for you; it’s not something that the average user should have to bother with, not when it comes to day to day operations.
This kind of file management nonsense is a good part of the reason why I use Aldiko reading app as my main reading app, and it is also why my library is centered on Epub, not Kindle ebooks.
I like Aldiko because first, the formatting options are wonderful, but also because it is so easy to download DRM-free ebooks and open them in the app – far easier than any of the Kindle apps on any of my Android tablets.
Whenever I try to open an Epub on a tablet (after this app has been installed), a menu will pop up with several options. One option will be to import the ebook into Aldiko. With one click the ebook is added to Aldiko’s library and I can find it with the other ebooks I have downloaded.
Guess what? This easy download process works with ebooks from Project Gutenberg, O’Reilly, Munsey’s, or even my calibre ebook library. That means that Aldiko fits in both with how I like to manage my existing ebook collection as well as how I might get the free ebooks I happen across in the future.
I suppose this sounds a little weird, but Amazon has forced me into using a different reading app even on their own hardware.
The Kindle app on the Kindle Fire HD is really only good for reading ebooks I get from Amazon. And since I am going to remove the DRM from those ebooks anyway before adding them to my calibre library, I don’t see a reason to download them to my KFHD at all.
In fact, I’ve gone so far as to advise that Marcello tell KFHD owners to download Aldiko and read the Epub version of whatever ebooks they get from Project Gutenberg. The extra step of downloading and installing Aldiko is a small amount of work but I think it’s worth it.
If you would like to do the same, you can find Aldiko here. That is the latest version of the free Aldiko app and it is hosted on Aldiko’s support site.
P.S. I have also added Aldiko to my 5 Apps for the Kindle Fire HD post. That is a measure of how strongly I feel about this.