Amazon Readies Kindle Format 8

Kindle FireIf you follow the ebook publishing world, you know that Amazon is working on its next-generation ebook format.  They call it Kindle Format 8 (KF8) and have based it heavily on HTML5.  HTML5 is the latest Web markup language able to structure webpages (or ebook pages in this case), draw shapes and animations (without the need for Flash or Silverlight), and present audio and video without plugins.

There are a handful of ebook standards which are being adopted by publishers and ebook vendors.  There is Adobe’s ubiquitous PDF.  Barnes & Noble offer ebooks in EPUB (and the new EPUB 3) standard.  Amazon has its own proprietary Kindle format (AZW) not compatible with non-Kindle devices and supports Mobipocket’s MOBI format.  Amazon’s KF8 is the latest format developed to offer rich content.  Amazon hasn’t yet released it, but some bloggers are suggesting that the Kindle Fire may already support it.

If you’re interested in HTML5, you can read the HTML5 Specifications or read some free HTML5 Tutorials.

 

NOOK Tablet vs. Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire was announced several weeks ago and today Barnes & Noble announced the NOOK Tablet.  Both begin shipping later this month.  Let’s see how the features compare.

 NOOK Tablet  Kindle Fire
NOOK Tablet Kindle Fire
$249 Price $199
7″ Screen Size 7″
8.1″ x 5.0″ x 0.48″ Dimensions 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″
14.1 oz. Weight 14.6 oz.
1GHz Dual-Core Processor Processor Dual-Core Processor
16 GB (plus Memory Slot) Memory 8 GB
Up to 11.5 Hours Reading Battery Life Up to 8.0 Hours Reading

Both devices run on the Android operating system and connect using Wi-Fi. Screens have the same 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi.

Regarding ebooks: B&N claims 2.5 million available titles to Amazon.com’s over 1 million ebooks.

Amazon Begins Lending Ebooks

Kindle FireYesterday Amazon.com announced the launch of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

With an Amazon Prime membership, Kindle owners can now choose from thousands of books to borrow for free – including over 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers – as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates. No other e-reader or ebookstore offers such a service. With an annual Prime membership, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is included at no additional cost. Millions of Prime members enjoy free two-day shipping, unlimited streaming of nearly 13,000 movies and TV shows, and now thousands of books to borrow for free with a Kindle.

For now, it’s a very limited selection and resticted to one title per month.  But this is just a start and useful for marketing purposes.  Also, to use the service you must be an Amazon Prime member and own a Kindle device; there is no borrowing of books to read on your computer or mobile app.

Does Amazon intend to compete directly with libraries?  It’s interesting to note the use of the term “lending library” in the name and that Amazon.com emphasizes that borrowed ebooks have no “due date”.  But is it a really lending library, or rather a subscription service since it requires a paid Prime membership?  Amazon isn’t going to give away their product unless they see that doing so will stimulate more sales.

Read more about the service at www.amazon.com/kindleownerslendinglibrary.

Kindle Owners' Lending Library