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Kindle Fire HDLibraryCity knocked Amazon for not letting users of the Kindle Fire HDs adjust their line spacing. But guess what I noticed just now within the font-related submenu of my Kindle HD 8.9” model running version 8.3.1 firmware?

Alas, on my several files tested, I still couldn’t narrow the spaces sufficiently on the HD even though the Kindle app for Android, as in previous versions for my Nexus 10, pulled off this trick just fine. Apologies if the HD improvement is old news, but Amazon pushes out updates automatically, and this is the first time I myself became aware of the line-spacing change. May Amazon soon get the line-spacing act right for all its Fires! Just offer the same flexibility as on the Nexus 10. I assume that smaller HDs have the same current improvement as my 8.9” model does, but I don’t know.

On another matter, in case you missed the news elsewhere, kudos to Amazon for adding voiceover to Kindle’s iPhone and iPad apps—following complaints here and elsewhere. Will this feature show up on all platforms where the hardware allows? Still on LibraryCity’s usability agenda for Amazon (among other dreams):

• Text to speech for future Kindle Paperwhites or similar front-lit models

• Abandonment of proprietary formats, or at least the choice of ePub for those preferring it. Yes, proprietary ones should be still be downloadable for those dependent on them. Like DRM, proprietary formats detract from books as a permanent medium. Evil!

• Making a social DRM option available for publishers, even if most major ones still stubbornly insist on traditional DRM. With social DRM, not technically true DRM, user-specific information is embedded in books to discourage piracy. The advantage to users is that they can avoid format lock-in; social DRMed books will work on a variety of machines, just so they can read whatever the format is. Of course, the best DRM by far is none. One thing I like about the Digital Public Library of America is that the DPLA is keen on some business models that can reduce libraries’ dependence on DRM for e-books.

• This Creative Commons licensed post originally appeared on LibraryCity.org, the website of TeleRead founder David Rothman.

 
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