Amazon’s been headed in this direction for a while now. The
original Kindle screen was 167 ppi; the Paperwhite upped that all
the way to 212 ppi. The Paperwhite’s screen is actually quite
good, but the Voyage’s is still noticeably better. To put it in
Apple terms, this is really the first Kindle with a Retina
Unfortunately, Amazon has invested all of this effort in improved
reading technology only to find itself completely at sea when it
comes to typography. The Voyage still only offers six typefaces —
many of them poor choices for this context — and still
force-justifies every line (with no hyphenation!), creating
variable-length gaps between words just so the right margin is
straight rather than ragged. A device that’s dedicated to words on
a page, one with a screen this beautiful, deserves better type
It’s depressing that all my typographic complaints from two years ago still stand. Amazon hasn’t improved the typography of Kindles in any way since then, other than by increasing the resolution of the display. I’ll repeat now what I wrote then:
Amazon’s goal should be for Kindle typography to equal print
typography. They’re not even close. They get a pass on this only
because all their competitors are just as bad or worse. Amazon
should hire a world-class book designer to serve as product
manager for the Kindle.
They should either devise or license (from Adobe?) a world-class hyphenation-justification algorithm while they’re at it. I’ll never buy another Kindle device until they fix this.
Update: Numerous readers have pointed out that they could just use the excellent open-source hyphenation algorithm from TeX.
★ Monday, 10 November 2014