Home Amazon Helps Cement HTML5’s Place in the Future of Publishing

Amazon Helps Cement HTML5’s Place in the Future of Publishing

With its latest update to the Kindle e-book format, Amazon is pushing electronic books closer to the look and feel of Web pages. Kindle Format 8 is the file format that will be used by the Kindle Fire for displaying e-books when the tablet device ships next month.

The new format moves away from the previous Mobi standard in favor of one that supports many of the rich layout and formatting features of HTML5 and CSS3.

Kindle Format 8 supports dozens of HTML tags and CSS attributes, most of which have an impact on things like layout, typography, borders and line spacing. On the HTML front, most standard mark-up for text, images, divs and tables are included. Notably absent is support for HTML5’s video and audio tags, but there’s no reason multimedia content couldn’t be included in the future.

The fact that Amazon is ditching its old format for a more Web-friendly one is a sign that it intends to make the e-reading experience one that’s more akin to Web pages in general. The use of CSS3 gives publishers a whole new toolkit for laying out and designing e-books, and one that utilizes the familiar and relatively simple syntax of stylesheets for the Web.

This move makes sense as Amazon gets ready to ship its first full-color e-reader and media tablet on November 15. Kindle Format 8 will land on the Kindle Fire first, and then make its way to the company’s newer e-ink devices and third party Kindle apps, such as those found on iOS and Android devices.

Amazon placed its first bet on HTML5 earlier this year when it launched the Kindle Cloud Reader, a Web app that lets customers read e-books in a rich, fluid UI that can be accessed from any modern Web browser.

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