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Old 12-20-2008, 05:10 AM   #1
wallcraft
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Posts: 6,979
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mississippi, USA
Device: Kindle 3 and Fire
Extra Large Print Kindle ebooks

The Virginia M. Woolf Foundation is selling large print ebooks in PDF at eBookMall and in AZW/MOBI for the Kindle. Just search for "extra large print" at either eBookMall or the Kindle store. With a reflowable format like MOBI, my first thought was why a large print version at all - since all readers allow the font size to be changed. However, the Kindle only has 6 fixed font sizes.

I bought "A Canticle For Leibowitz in Extra Large Print (Kindle Edition)". I was originally disappointed, because all the large print seemed to do was make font sizes 1-3 the same as the usual font sizes 4-6 with fonts 3-6 being all the same. However, in a discussion on teleread, Joshua Tallent pointed out that I was mistaken and font size 2 in Extra Large Print is the same as the normal (largest) size 6 with font size 3 being larger still. Joshua is a professional eBook developer specializing in the Kindle, and he came up with the scheme for getting a larger than normal font size.

Another interesting thing about this ebook is that it is DRM-free, so if can be read by any MOBI reader (which raises the question of why it isn't sold as a MOBI ebook on eBookmall). It also allows the MOBI to be exploded by mobi2oeb or mobi2html. What it is doing is the following:
Code:
<p style="margin-top: 30; text-indent: 0; text-align: left"><font size="7"> ...  </font></p>
The most important parts here are the left alignment and the explicit setting of the font size. Normally alignment is best left to the reader's choice, but on the Kindle the default is fully justified and the left justify option (shown using the J key in font selection mode) is not well documented by Amazon. For large print on a small screen (with no hyphenation) left justification is certainly best. For exact comparison I produced a version without any font size specification (i.e. using the default font sizes). The first screenshot is the normal largest font (number 6, with no font size specified). The second is font size 3-6 (all the same) from the large print version, which is larger still.

I do not like the fact that the large print version has only 3 font sizes. I found that this can be fixed by using <font size="4">, which makes fonts 1-5 the same as the normal fonts 2-6 with font size 6 being the extra large ("7") size. In my opinion, this is the optimal large print setup. I don't know why Amazon does not have 7 font sizes, or the option to make font size 4 the default. This would provide useful additional capability for those who need the largest practical font.
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