The TeleRead Typography Watch goes on. The big news is that Amazon Fires at last can offer all-text bold—an essential already found in recent updates for Kindle hardware and iOS and Android apps.
Yes, the above screenshot is of the Ember Bold font in action on my 5th generation Fire 8 HD, and if your Fire lacks that update, I assume it will come in time. If you’re impatient, follow the appropriate link on the Amazon update page and download the upgrade yourself.
A hat tip to Michawl Dolbear for alerting me about bold. And thank you, Jeff Bezos, on behalf of the millions of people with contrast-sensitivity issues and other vision problems. Took years, and we still have bold for only one style, when we should be able to apply it to them all. But finally Amazon has made the big breakthough and acknowledged the basic need.
Do you think I’m picking only on Amazon? No, the TeleRead Typography Watch would now like to ask Apple why it is impossible to adjust the margin widths in iBooks on my iPad Pro. I wondered if I was missing something. But apparently not. Frank Lowney, an Apple watcher and a long-time TeleRead commenter, says iBooks development may be on hold while Apple deals with evolving ebook standards resulting from the merger of the International Digital Publishing Forum and W3C. Still, I don’t see why adjustable line lengths would be such a hassle to add now.
How about people who actually prefer narrower lines? Different readers will be served in different ways by different mixes of line lengths and spacing, font styles, font sizes and so on, depending on the kinds and complexity of the books they’re reading. I wish that developers of ebook apps would recognize this and the need for other forms of customization. We don’t all wear the same eyeglasses, if we need them. Similarly, one-size-fits-all isn’t right for ebook hardware and apps. It’s no wonder that so many people hate ebooks. In part that’s because the inflexible vendors have just bought this on themselves. Power to the user, please. It’s just plain good business and commonsense. I especially hope that Library Simplified and its library partners will keep this in mind.
On the positive, in regard to Apple, I’m really enjoying the mix of the Night Shift feature, auto brightness and the ambient-light-driven color correction on my iPad Pro. The mix seems to contribute to both my comfort and ease of reading. Let’s hope that color correction makes it to the less expensive iPads.
Now—as long as we’re talking wishlists, just what typographical features now AWOL would you like to show up in your favorite hardware or software? If you want to know all the possibilities, or at least almost all, I’d suggest you try out Moon+ Reader Pro if you own an Android device. In the iOS world, the KyReader and Marvin apps are among the more flexible apps, especially since, like Moon, they both let you install your own fonts.
In MY humble opinion, Apple suffers from bigheadedness. Just my dos centavos. 🙂
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@Michael: I’m huge fan of Amazon in many respects, but, no, it should not have taken years. The good news is that Amazon finally did listen and has corrected the omission in all the major ebook products. Now, if only Amazon can introduce a Kobo-style slider to adjust the boldness of every font style. What do you think?
Thanks for the update info. The 6th generation Fire HD 8 update, , Fire OS 126.96.36.199, does not include Ember Bold. I downloaded via my PC. There is an interesting notification that English Font Pack is available via wireless- which I don’t use.
@Reader: I really appreciated your info–i’m sure owners of the sixth generation Fires do as well. Fascinating. I’d think that the newer Fires would get updated first. I hope someone tries the English Font Pack and tells us what the options are.
When I put “english font pack” into a search engine, I came up with a font that used Old English letters. As in Beowulf. Don’t think I need that.
I have both a Kobo and a Kindle, actually several of each. I do enjoy the slightly bolded fonts on the Kobo but I don’t really feel a need for them. I’m as happy reading the Kindle, in fact more so.
I also use Moon+ Pro on my phone and that makes the text nearly perfect for me.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with reading. I first tried reading exclusively on my phone for a couple of months, first on my Nexus 5 with it’s full HD LCD screen and then with my new Galaxy S5, with a full HD AMOLED screen. I’m limited in the length of my reading session on these but the AMOLED does let me read about twice as long without a break as the LCD. I can read about 15 to 20 minutes on LCD without eyestrain. Then after a few minutes break I can do it again. If I don’t take that break I’m done reading for the day.
That time pretty much doubled on the Samsung. That’s still not good enough but it’s a lot better and I found that a few minutes break now and then helped me think about the book a little and wasn’t really a bad thing. Unfortunately it sometimes came at a bad time in the book.
I can read as long as I want on my Kindle or Kobo.
Anyway I went back from the phone to the Kindle and I liked it better although I did miss Moon+ manual scrolling. I also found myself reading a little slower, something I’ve noticed before but never been really sure about.
So I made the margins wide on my Kindle to kind of emulate the narrow text lines on the phone and sure enough I was reading faster again. Not speed reading. Not trying to read faster or even feeling like I was reading faster. Just getting through the book more quickly.
I read the second half of a very long book that way and the entire next book, a fairly short one. It really seems to make a difference. I do have to turn pages more often but that’s okay.
@Barry: Thanks for sharing your observations. Yes, I myself often use wide margins on my ereading gizmos.
I’ll be doing a post in the next week or so—maybe even this weekend—on eyestrain reduction. I’m confident that TeleRead community members will want to add their own
wisdom on the topic.