Kindle : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary

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Kindle

A wireless device for reading electronic books. It uses a high contrast display that looks much like ink on paper. However, the contast is not nearly as high as the competing Kobo and Sony eBook readers. I have not seen it side by side with a Nook.

Introduction eBook Creation
Advantages Costs
Disadvantages The Future
Kindle Coverage Books
Kindle Formats Links
Software Readers

Introduction

Kindle already makes up a whopping 12% of the book sale market of titles also available in Kindle form. Last revised/verified: 2009-02-22

The first things that struck me when I first saw a pair of Kindles was:

Kindles are a loss leader to sell eBooks. They cost Amazon roughly twice what they sell them for.

These Kindles are in ascending order by list price. This approximates the order of street price. Amazon insists I not display prices, fearing they will be obsolete. You can find out the prices by clicking through to the Amazon site. The 9.5” Fires are obsolete, replaced by a smaller 7” model.

electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Kindle Basicto electronic home
asin B007HCCNJU
dim 9.10 × 12.20 cm
3.58 × 4.80 in
Basic model in black or grey. Wireless device for reading eBooks, 16 grey levels, Requires WiFi or USB access. Controlled by wiggling button. diagonal: 15.2 cm, 6.00 inches, width × height 600 × 800 pixels.
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de bestbuy.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es canadacomputers.com Canadian flag
French flag amazon.fr newegg.ca Canadian flag
Italian flag amazon.it tigerdirect.ca Canadian flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk amazon.com American flag
India flag junglee.com newegg.com American flag
UN flag other stores tigerdirect.com American flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock
electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Lightto electronic home
asin B00AWH595M
Hi res touch display. Wi-Fi but no 3G, Includes ads (aka Special Offers). Requires a computer to download books.
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de bestbuy.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es canadacomputers.com Canadian flag
French flag amazon.fr newegg.ca Canadian flag
Italian flag amazon.it tigerdirect.ca Canadian flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk amazon.com American flag
India flag junglee.com newegg.com American flag
UN flag other stores tigerdirect.com American flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock
electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Kindle Fire 7”, LCD Display, WiFi, 8 GBto electronic home
asin B00CU0NSCU
dim 9 × 15.30 cm
3.54 × 6.02 in
Only available in the USA. New version of the basic Fire. Uses WiFi unlike the original which used 3G. 8Gb, colour touch screen. diagonal: 17.8 cm, 7.00 inches, 600 × 1024 pixels.
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de bestbuy.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es canadacomputers.com Canadian flag
French flag amazon.fr newegg.ca Canadian flag
Italian flag amazon.it tigerdirect.ca Canadian flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk amazon.com American flag
India flag junglee.com newegg.com American flag
UN flag other stores tigerdirect.com American flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock
electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Lightto electronic home
asin B00BTI6HBS
dim 9.10 × 12.20 cm
3.58 × 4.80 in
Essentially a Kindle Touch with a backlight for reading in bed. Controlled by touch screen. diagonal: 15.2 cm, 6.00 inches. extra features cost less because there are ads (aka special offers). Free 3G + Wi-Fi. This lets you download books without being near a computer.
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de bestbuy.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es canadacomputers.com Canadian flag
French flag amazon.fr newegg.ca Canadian flag
Italian flag amazon.it tigerdirect.ca Canadian flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk amazon.com American flag
India flag junglee.com newegg.com American flag
UN flag other stores tigerdirect.com American flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock
electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Kindle DXto electronic home
asin B002GYWHSQ
dim 13.90 × 20.30 cm
5.47 × 7.99 in
Wireless device for reading eBooks with black and white screen. Receive books via 3G cellphone towers. Coverage in 100 countries. Does not work with WiFi. Controlled by a keyboard. diagonal: 824 × 1200 pixels.
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de bestbuy.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es canadacomputers.com Canadian flag
French flag amazon.fr newegg.ca Canadian flag
Italian flag amazon.it tigerdirect.ca Canadian flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk amazon.com American flag
India flag junglee.com newegg.com American flag
UN flag other stores tigerdirect.com American flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock
electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Kindle Fire HD 8.9”, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band WiFi, 16 GBto electronic home
asin B00BHJRYYS
dim 12 × 19.20 cm
4.72 × 7.56 in
Only available in the USA. 32 GB version also available. diagonal: 22.6 cm, 8.90 inches, 1200 × 1920 pixels.
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de bestbuy.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es canadacomputers.com Canadian flag
French flag amazon.fr newegg.ca Canadian flag
Italian flag amazon.it tigerdirect.ca Canadian flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk amazon.com American flag
India flag junglee.com newegg.com American flag
UN flag other stores tigerdirect.com American flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock
electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Kindle Fire 7” 3Gto electronic home
asin B0051VVOB2
dim 9 × 15.30 cm
3.54 × 6.02 in
Older model. Wireless device for reading eBooks with 7” colour screen. Receive books via 3G cellphone towers. Coverage in 100 countries. Does not work with WiFi. Controlled by a touch screen. Like a low-end Apple iPad. It is an Android device that can run apps and games. Developers program it in Java. diagonal: 17.8 cm, 7.00 inches, 600 × 1024 pixels.
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de bestbuy.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es canadacomputers.com Canadian flag
French flag amazon.fr newegg.ca Canadian flag
Italian flag amazon.it tigerdirect.ca Canadian flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk amazon.com American flag
India flag junglee.com newegg.com American flag
UN flag other stores tigerdirect.com American flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock

Advantages

Disadvantages

Kindle Coverage

Kindles used to work only in parts of the USA. Now they work world wide, wherever 3G cellphone coverage is advised. See this map of world coverage. The kindle holds enough books for a lifetime of reading, so you can load them up where there is coverage to read off in the jungle. With WiFi (Wireless Fidelity), the kindle will work anywhere in the world there WiFi is Internet access, e.g. Internet Cafés anywhere in the world.

Kindle Formats

Kindle is quite limited in the formats of book it can display. It supports only ISO-8859-1 encoding, so has only limited support for non-English. It supports Mobipocket format (.MOBI, .PRC), plain text files, PDF and Amazon’s proprietary, copy-protected AZW format. eBook, Word, HTML etc. have to be converted before use.

Sony E-Book Readers

Sony makes a line of nine eBook reader models. They do not support Kindle format, but they do support Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, BBeB Book (Sony’s previous proprietary format) and other text file formats, as well as ePub/ACS4 and connection with Adobe Digital Editions. You can even play back unsecured Mp3 and AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) audio files (headphones required and sold separately).

DjVu format has advanced compression technology that makes it very good at handling high resolution images of scanned documents and photographs. With DjVu you can take a 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch) high resolution scan and store it in less than 100 KB.

ePub is an open format. Kindle AZW is proprietary to Amazon. AZW is MOBI plus weak copy protection. Apple eBook stores use ePub format. BlackBerry uses MOBI format. All else being equal, open: good, proprietary: bad. The two most important formats to create are MOBI and ePub. Apple currently has book-reading software for its iPhones and iPads.

Software Readers

If you don’t have the money for a Kindle or Sony, you can still read eBooks on your computer. There are three basic kinds of readers:

eBook Creation

The tools I found most useful were the free eCub to create an ePub format eBook then convert it to the kindle MOBI format with Online-ConVert, a free service to interconvert formats. The kindlegen MOBI creator auxiliary program for eCub is buggy.

ePub format is just your tree of HTML zip compressed with a few extra XML (extensible Markup Language) documents to provide a table of contents toc.ncx, meta-information about the eBook content.opf and a manifest container.xml. Kindle’s AZW and mobipocket are similar. To troubleshoot, you can unzip your eBook or others known to verify properly.

Before you even think about converting your website to eBook format, convert it to strict XHTML 1.1, and validate it. Use this DTD (Document Type Definition):

You will have to replace old HTML tags and replace them with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) equivalents.

Then, if you have any sort of macros or dynamic content, create versions of them that generate stripped down vanilla text. You can’t put tags directly into <body>. You must contain them in something such as <div> You will discover many bulk transforms you have to do, and macros will make that much easier. Further, you can use your macros to put the code back to normal after you have created your eBook.

Jutoh

Jutoh was the best behaved editor. It generates multiple formats. If your files change, you have to reimport, which basically makes you start over. You have to redelete files and images you don’t want to include and correct the order. When you import, it copies all the text into one giant binary file. You are probably best to write a bat file that copies just the files you want to a directory tree, and reimport from that. Ideally it would just reimport the files it already had, remembering what you had deleted. Oddly, it does not handle tables, something other simpler program do, though there in a general purpose kludge to import HTML unmodified.

eCub

I found the eCub program easy to use. You dump your entire directory tree in a project directory, write bat file to prune it of anything you don’t want included in the eBook (e.g. sitemaps, perhaps the index.html page…) and it finds all the HTML and image files. It creates the table of contents from the title in the HTML header. It generates forward and back navigation buttons. It builds a simplified miniature style sheet. It strips your HTML and put it in a build directory in a tree of files matching the original. Then it zips it up. You don’t find out about your errors until you run the verifier after the ePub file is constructed.

Maximize eCub before use, or various features for adding, removing and reordering files will not be visible.

You can force eCub to notice your changes by deleting all files in the build directory,placing the replacements in the project directory and recompiling. To change which files are included you must manually edit the list of files in the eCub GUI (Graphic User Interface).

eCub via Kindlegen does a terrible job of converting the ePub file to mobi format. Use Online-convert instead. It does a much better job.

Mobipocket Creator

MobiPocket eBook creator is a free program to take your HTML or a few other formats and convert them to *.prc eBook format. I was not impressed and quickly gave up on it in favour of eCub.

I found I needed to strip out all the fancy HTML, navigation buttons, ads, JavaScript etc. Otherwise it crashed. I did my headings with simple <h1, <h2 and <h3. It is easiest to collect the pages you need with drag and drop. You have to add them one document at a time.

It can build you a 3-level Table of contents.


Tag name Attribute Value
First Level:
class title
Second Level: h2

Third Level: div class level3

In the example above, major headings are marked with <span class=title>…</span>.
The second level are marked <h2>…</h2>
The third level are marked <div class=level3>…</div>

It is simplest just to use <h1, <h2 and <h3 Note you specify the tags without the <>

The program itself is quite cryptic. Try reading the online documentation.

I could not get it to do anything but the simplest, short test documents.

Costs

There are a number of reasons why eBooks are so much cheaper than paper-based books:

Amazon originally set the price of eBooks at $10 or under. At this rate, publishers still make more profit than they did with the equivalent paper book. Barnes & Noble decided customers would tolerate prices up to $12. Then the publishers noticed that libraries were a special case:

So the publishers said they wanted to charge libraries in the order of $90 for ebooks. The libraries are screaming.

To keep things interesting, the US Department of Justice sued Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster for price fixing eBooks.

Most of the classics of science and literature are available for free. Darwin, Plato, Tolstoy, etc. if its no longer under copyright and if its a significant work its been put up for free by the Gutenberg project and is available in Kindle and iBook format. One of the first things I read on the Kobo was The Prince by Machiavelli.

Short books 5000 to 15,000 words are called singles.

The Future

I think the libraries should have all eBooks ever published on tap maintained at websites run by the publishers. They could lend them out for approximately $0.25 each. They remit one cheque a month for all rentals which gets distributed proportionately to the publishers. The borrower can also buy the book from the publisher. In that case the library gets a 7% commission, which just goes on the account. All a library then needs is some space on a web server. Libraries no longer need buildings or real-estate, except for small specialised collections. The purpose of a library will change from storing books to recommending books. The distinction between a bookstore and a library and a book-recommending website like mine would blur. You would pay to borrow eBooks from a bookstore or a website, but probably not from a library.

Books

book cover recommend book⇒Publish Your Book On The Amazon Kindle: A Practical Guideto book home
by Michael R. Hicks 978-1-4404-5694-7 paperback
birth 1963 age: 50 B001KYG5AY kindle
publisher CreateSpace
published 2008-11-14
A practical guide to publishing your book for the Amazon Kindle.
Australian flag abe books anz abe books.co.uk UK flag
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.co.uk UK flag
German flag abe books.de abe books.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de amazon.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag iberlibro.com abe books.com American flag
French flag abe books.fr amazon.com American flag
French flag amazon.fr Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe books.it Google play American flag
Italian flag amazon.it O’Reilly Safari American flag
India flag junglee.com Powells American flag
UN flag Kobo other stores UN flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.
book cover recommend book⇒Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networkingto book home
by Steve Weber 978-0-9772406-1-6 paperback
publisher Weber Books B001NPD2AQ kindle
published 2007-02-25
How to plug/market your eBook without spending a lot of money.
Australian flag abe books anz abe books.co.uk UK flag
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.co.uk UK flag
German flag abe books.de abe books.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de amazon.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag iberlibro.com abe books.com American flag
French flag abe books.fr amazon.com American flag
French flag amazon.fr Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe books.it Google play American flag
Italian flag amazon.it O’Reilly Safari American flag
India flag junglee.com Powells American flag
UN flag Kobo other stores UN flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.

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