As with version 2013.1 released back in February, I have highlighted and annotated all the changes made in this edition since the last one, and you can upload my version from the link above, since Amazon themselves provide no change log, or even a notice when a new version is released. I've just learned to check it regularly, and did so today quite by chance. I just happened to be going through copy-editing revisions for the new book, and while doing so for the section that covers documentation I thought I'd have one last look before the final draft is locked.
As far as functionality and content changes to the Guidelines, the most significant among these are:
- A new section (3.1.9) added to the General Formatting Guidelines for "Customizing Font Selection" which seems to address an apparent problem with improper styling of primary embedded fonts (p.14).
- Brazilian Portuguese (bp) added to the -locale language option for Kindlegen's readout (p.8).
- Support for right-to-left vertical scripts and Japanese Ruby script added for the Paperwhite and newer Fire devices (p.11).
- A large number of clarifications and additions for basic text formatting, which apparently address the improper use of imposed font styles and colors in reflowable ebooks (p.11).
- Important clarification regarding the HTML cover page exception in Section 3.2.3 (p.16), which now specifies that this applies only to reflowable ebooks (although the conflicting and inaccurate statements in Section 4.3.7 still stand).
- Some additional emphasis added for preferring tabular data over images (p.25).
- Guide items are now "highly recommended," although they still remain optional (p.28).
- Region Magnification pop-ups should not be positioned "too close" to the edge, in order to prevent content overflow on different devices (p.32). This is appended with one of several new notes advising content creators to test their files on as many different devices as possible. The unwritten implication is that Previewer is not accurate enough to rely on for final testing.
- An additional line added in Section 4.2.3 to emphasize the recommended use of CSS background image embedding over HTML <img> tags, even though nearly all of Amazon's own sample files use the <img> method, as does Kindle Comic Creator (p.33).
- Reiteration that there should be one CSS file per HTML page, and that its content should be relevant to just that page (p.33).
- If back cover images are added, barcodes, etc., must be removed, and there should be no text popups included (p.34).
- The use of non-breaking spaces for text alignment is now forbidden, rather than "limited" (p.36).
- Two new points have been added to the "Best Practices" section for testing Kindle books (Section 9.1), one for checking text/background settings in reflowable ebooks, and the other to assure that all region magnification panels function correctly in fixed layouts. Similarly, some clarification and expansion has been added to Section 10 on Kindle Quality Guidelines (p.65).
- A few of the supported HTML tags are now deprecated, including <big> (but, ironically, not <small>), <center>, and <font> (Section 11, p.66-7).
I have not highlighted the additions for audio/video support that were added in version 2013.2 released last week, but they are there in the first two paragraphs of Section 6, for those who are interested. See my comment on this issue in last week's post on the topic.
All in all, no major changes in this edition, but some welcome editorial revisions nonetheless. Changes that have not been made that I am waiting for include:
- Increased file size limits for images to allow the recommended 2x resolution for image zoom (which would require a file 2400x3840 for the HD8.9" Kindle), or the removal of that recommendation
- A clarification that the RegionMagnification metadata value is no longer valid (or at least the removal of it from the metadata table)
- Statement of recommended aspect ratios / image dimensions for page sizes, so that they display correctly in two-page spreads (currently odd numbered resolutions result in gaps between the pages, even when "page-spread" is chosen as the Spine property rather than "facing-page")
Still needing fixed in the device software itself are these major issues:
- Page-spread support on all devices for all book-types
- Live text functionality and bookmarks for all fixed layout ebooks, which should never have been disabled in the first place
- Layout-blank, which does not work correctly in almost any case
- Missing menu links on the newer Fire devices when the "children" book-type is chosen
I mention these only in the off chance that someone from Amazon is actually paying attention.