Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kindle Zoom

Have you run across any Kindle books that include the zoom feature for graphics? This seems to be a hit-and-miss option that appears on some books but not many. I discovered it when viewing the sample of Pro LINQ, a programming book from APress.

If you download the Pro LINQ you'll see that many of the code blocks are graphic images, not text. If you scroll to one of them and press the selector wheel you'll see a "Zoom" option in the pop-up menu. Choose "Zoom" and a new pop-up window appears with a larger version of the code image. Better yet, the zoom window is rotated 90 degrees, so now you can see the code in a landscape orientation. This is great because code lines can be quite long and the default portrait orientation on the Kindle makes it tricky to read and understand code lines when they're either cut off or constantly wrapping to the line below.

Code blocks are one nice implementation of the Kindle zoom feature, but what about real graphic images such as maps, pictures, etc.? I think that's where the zoom option could significantly improve the usability factor. Let's hope more and more new titles will incorporate the zoom option.


Joshua Tallent said...


This zooming functionality is only available in the Topaz format, a highly secretive eBook format that Amazon has not released to the public. The Topaz format also allows Amazon to embed fonts into a book, which is not possible at all in the normal Kindle format. This situation is pretty frustrating since a lot of independent authors who do not go with Amazon for their formatting are missing out on the great opportunities that the Topaz format offers. Hopefully, Amazon will open the format up to the rest of us soon.

- Joshua