Amazon announces new typographic features for Kindle, including much-awaited hyphenation →

May 28, 2015 |

John Brownlee, writing at Fast Company:

But the new app finally gives the boot to the hideous absolute justification of text that the Kindle’s been rocking since 2007. The new layout engine justifies text more like print typesetting. Even if you max out the font size on the new Kindle app, it will keep the spacing between words even, intelligently hyphenating words and spreading them between lines as need may be.

The layout engine also contains some beautiful new kerning options. They’re subtle, but once you see them, you can’t unsee them: for example, the way that the top and bottom of a drop cap on the Kindle now perfectly lines up with the tops and bottoms of its neighboring lines. Like I said, it’s a small detail, but one that even Apple’s iBooks and Google Play Books doesn’t manage to quite get right.

I’ve always hated justification in my Kindle books. This sounds like a great update, but Marco Arment isn’t impressed, so take it with a grain of salt:

Now, hyphenation is being added (which Amazon is doing not by changing the client-side configuration, but by slowly updating their entire catalog of the books themselves to individually enable it, and it won’t apply to all books). Hyphenation is a big improvement for the books that get it, and makes justified text suck less, but it still sucks.