Amazon has finally got around to improving the typographic choices available on newer Kindle tablets and apps but the additions don’t yet cover e-reader devices such as the Paperwhite and the Voyage or older Fire models.
The main change is adding an extra font, with Bookerly joining the fairly sparse offering. This serif font was apparently designed specifically for electronic reading.
It’s part of an upgrade which includes a new layout engine for Kindle Fire HD models and the Kindle app version 4.9 on Apple’s iOS. The new type deal claims to smooth out line justification, using hyphenation to make lines more evenly spaced and easier to read.
Amazon says the new features will be extended to more devices later this year.
Readers with older tablets such as the Kindle Fires 1st and 2nd generation won’t get the new font or layout engine as Amazon seem to have consigned older devices (all of three years old!) to the bin of history by simply not offering any system updates.
Amazon says Bookerly is a new Kindle exclusive font designed for reading on digital screens. It adds, ‘Warm and contemporary, Bookerly is inspired by the artistry of the best fonts in modern print books but is hand-crafted for great readability at any screen size.’
It’s certainly good to see Amazon making long overdue improvements on the typography front and Bookerly’s not a bad font at all, but Kobo still remains well ahead with its TypeGenius, which offers a choice of 10 font styles, 24 font sizes, and adjustable font sharpness and weight.
Georgia is still my No 1 choice for the Kindle Fire while I pick Palatino for reading on a Voyage or other e-reader where Georgia isn’t available. The screen shot below shows a comparison of some typefaces with Bookerly.
As you can see, Bookerly’s quite a chunky font, much like the Caecilia typeface it has replaced on the Kindle app. (It could be a good festive font — Bookerly for Christmas?)
Typography is very much a personal choice and many people might find Bookerly easier to read on their devices and the ability to change fonts and type sizes is one of the great advantages of e-readers over print books.
But for producing ebook files, I’d still opt for Georgia. Amazon hasn’t made Bookerly officially available for production purposes so it’s only available as a reading font at present — and probably for the future too.
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