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Font Feedback

Thanks for the feedback! Clearly, the font issue has struck a nerve for many. Your test results show that the Kindle 2 can be made even better using a few alternative fonts. Amazon take note: people love the Kindle, and they just want some alternate fonts to take their reading experience to the next level..

Comments on KindleBoards

I've been told I'm starting to have cataracts and will have to consider surgery in the near future.  I've loved to read all my life but have never had the time I would like.  Wouldn't you know it, now that I've finally retired from teaching and have all the time in the world to read, it's growing more difficult for me!  When the K1 came out, I thought it was like a miracle.  The light text on the K2 was a disappointment but your work has made it even better than the K1.  You have no idea how many lives you have touched.  For those who have a love of reading but have some difficulty with their eyesight, you are a miracle worker.  I know you say it is a simple thing and it would be simple for Amazon to implement it.  But, for me personally, what you have done is no small thing.  Truly, I can't thank you enough.

These fonts a MUCH NICER, darker and easier to read than Kindle 2 native fonts. The letters with curves are more definitive and sharper. I wear bifocals, so the improvised fonts are extremely helpful. I doubt I would have kept the Kindle if this option was not available. Thanks so much!
I appreciate so much what you have done, Ted. Thank you for taking over where Amazon left off (and should have done) and making the Kindle an excellent e-reading device.

I hope Amazon appreciates your efforts as much as we all do, Ted. Many of us would have returned our Kindles were it not for your efforts. I'll be writing to Amazon directly to express these sentiments and I encourage all others to do likewise. IMO, you deserve to be financially rewarded.

I just downloaded the Helvetica 2 fonts & I LOVE it!! What a difference!! It's amazing! Now I really, really LOVE my Kindle!!

Good gracious is right.  And a good product now turned GREAT.
10/10 Stars...I wholeheartedly agree as well!  Important to note the many people who were complaining about LIGHTER text and poor contrast still LOVED their Kindles.  We just wanted Amazon to work on this one flaw.  They never did.  Ted-San has.  How many people can say that they've actually made the world a better place?  It's not hyperbole to say that Ted-san has improved the quality of many kindle users' lives - whether by a decimal point, fraction, or a whole number.

I just tried the font hack last night (where have I been?!?) and am amazed!  So far I've only had time to try the Arial and Helvetica 2 fonts, and LOVE the Helvetica 2 font.  Wow.
I want to join in with everyone and thank you, Ted, for all of the work that you've done (and it sounds like are still doing!) to make our Kindle 2 experience even better.  I read a post last night from someone saying it took their K2 experience up to a 10/10, and I wholeheartedly agree!

Helvetica 2 is very very nice! Letters are nicely space now and very readable. Thank you Tedsan!!!

Thank you for all of your efforts on our behalf! I have tried several of the fonts and enjoy Georgia the best!
Here are a few pictures of the results!
I also have installed the DecalGirl Kindle 2 Skin - Solid State Black - which helps very much!

I think you've hit paydirt with the new Helvetica.  It's beautiful.  Blows all the others away, IMHO.   It's dark, it's spaced nicely, even the underline shows up properly  .  
I have mine set at size 4, spacing 4, which provides a very enjoyable 17 lines per page.  Size 3, at spacing 5, is outstanding too.   The size differential across the entire range is just right, too.
Outstanding work, Ted.  This really should have been the default Kindle font.

Thank you, tedsan. As a graphic artist, I truly love that font (Helvetica). Very clean lines and easy to read. Thank you again. You rock!  

The only font I have tried so far is the Droid Bold since I really prefer San Serif fonts.  What an improvement!  Even font size 1 is legible. Thank you! Thank you!

Law. Sorreneson
I love all the fonts, but after careful consideration, I get the most out of the Airal Round Narrow (size 4; linespacing ALT + 1).  It just "jumps off the page" and reads silky smooth, yet bold enough. This is a unique font, and adds a different "personality" to the kindle.

K.L. Christy
Thanks for continuing to provide excellent fonts; I'm so glad that you didn't stop "experimenting" after the initial fonts.  It shows that you are really committed to making the Kindle 2 the best that it can be! 

The text certainly wasn't unreadable before...but is so much better (darker) now.
Georgia font is my new favorite!  I was reading at size 4 but dropped down to 3 with the Georgia font. 
It is just bold enough and very easy on the eyes.

S.Quick here!!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Georgia Font.  It is PERFECT!  Thank you so much.  The other fonts were awesome, and they were very bolded which was good for the contrast issue.  But the Georgia Font is bolded just the right amount, and it is a very pretty font.  I love it!!!  Thank you so much.

With many of the new fonts, I can go down as low as size 3 comfortably.  This is wonderful and has made my Kindle experience nothing but fun again!
Seriously though, this darker Helvetica is perfect!  I can easily read at #4 and this gives me some room to increase the font size later in the day as my eyes tire.

I can't wait to try this one and the serif Large font in size 6 with my Mom.  It would mean a lot of page turns, but that is only a flick of the finger and it is worth it to retore the joy of reading to her.  Thank you so much!

Anyway, all these new fonts look TONS better than the original K2's light text.  I guess beggers can't be choosers, but I'm hoping Ted-san goes "a la carte" and provides MULTIPLE fonts for our reading consumption! Dude is an absolute GURU...

I LOVE the ArialNarRound because it feels like a "smooth" read.  Hard to explain, but it's like speed reading, the words flow without stop or stutter. It's great for blogs and newspapers with it's urgent, sans-serriff-informational vible! Haven't tried the TALL or DARK yet, but I also like the bold native - definitely an improvement upon the native serriff font.

GASP!  OH MY!!!!

I'm coming late to the font hack party.  Thank you Ted SO MUCH! I have loaded arial narrow and love it!  I really appreciate your efforts, and hopefully the Kindle 2 brain trust at Amazon will wake up and take notice as well.

I have been using the Bold/Narrow/Native font with a size 4, and enjoy it very much.  I find this allows me to read while I walk or am in relatively poor light areas.
Tranquil Ape
Georgia2 is AWESOME, always leaned toward more traditional fonts and im probably biased but it looks fantastic! and Dark!!

Some discussions from the start of the controversy from the Amazon boards

TedSan (me)
Dear Amazon, re: fonts

As you know, there's been quite a bit of discussion regarding fonts and their display/contrast on the Kindle 2. While many people are very happy with their reading experience, there is a community of users who are looking for a way, other than always reading on the largest font sizes, to increase the contrast of the display.
If you've been following the discussion, then you're aware of the detailed analysis which I have done, shown on these pages:

In an attempt to help Amazon resolve this issue in a way that is satisfactory to the widest audience of users, I have made a variety of specific recommendations that would not be onerous to implement. I have also run private tests by modifying a variety of fonts and using these to replace the default serif reading font. These tests have been extremely promising, and I am making the results of these available for your use. You can find the font install files for several of these experiments. I have placed these files, and sample images of their use, on my site:

Best regards. We are all looking for the same thing - a Kindle that is useful to the widest user base.

I have to admit, as a K1 owner I was in a bit of denial over the early buzz that the K2's text was actually lighter. The notion seemed ridiculous. Or maybe since I plopped down $360 for a next-gen Kindle, I didn't want to admit that the CENTRAL FEATURE of the e-reader device - its readability - was actually inferior to its predecessor. But after reading for 2-3 hours, I began to experience eye strain, so I took another side-by-side look, and was nearly dumbstruck: the K1's text just seemed to "pop off" the screen, it was that good.

It took a LONG time to admit it, but yes, there's no doubt in my mind that the Kindle 2 text is a tad less readable than the K1. Does that mean I don't still love my K2? No, I love my K2, that's why I want to make it better. People REALLY need to check out some of these articles in the link below. Some very Loyal Amazon customers and Kindle Lovers are experiencing either eye strain, mild headaches, fatigue, or plain annoyance with the light, wispy K2 text (on font sizes 1, 2, 3):

I got a Kindle 2 as a gift and started using it today. I must say that the contrast problem needs to be fixed ASAP. I LOVE this device otherwise, but there is no way I can keep it if the contrast problem is not fixed. All the other bells and whistles are a very nice touch, but the main use of the Kindle is to read books--and it is very difficult to do so with the current contrast.

William Dongarra
I agreed wholeheartedly with all these posts. I am a 63 year old avid reader and thought that I had found the ultimate book. Don't get me wrong I love the product but you do NEED to address the contrast problem. The friends I show it to have only one negative comment. "can it get any brighter" refering to low contrast. As a software developer this should be a very easy fix for Amazon. At $400 a pop an older audience will need the ability to sharpen the text. Please let us know that you are going to fix this problem.

AJ Franklin
Received my new Kindle 5 days ago and have read a few books on it. But I found the text lacking contrast to the screen. I have ordered another Kindle to compare them and if there is a remarkable difference I will return the lower contrast product. If they are the same, I may return both of them. Like so many of you I love the concept, but am disappointed with the execution. There must be an answer that can improve the Kindle experience for all users.

And some feedback on the recommended fixes

I put the black skin from DecalGirl on my K2 and the difference is dramatic your eyes are now not drawn to the white of the Kindle 2 and the screen appears almost white and the letters much darker.

I tried the flavors at "Ted-san's font shack" last week. It is unfathomable that Amazon with its Billion dollar coffers and 100 Million dollar profits couldn't do what a couple of amateur 'radio-shack' enthusiasts did in their downscale basements. In other words, the enhanced fonts absolutely deliver a 5-star product; why couldn't Amazon have done the same?

Reading on the Kindle 2 is now glorious, downright divine with the bolder fonts that Ted-san has provided. If Amazon would only swallow its pride and WORK ON THE PROBLEM (they wouldn't even have to admit they were wrong), then I would be the first to say, "All is forgiven." Amazon, please get off your a*s and wash the dishes!!!

Yes, it's personal because READING IS PERSONAL. I expected so much more from a $360 2nd-Generation product in the year 2009. After all, this is America: We cured polio, put a man on the moon, elected an elegant President.  I think we can make the fonts on an e-reader darker.

I agree with Christy. It's not that the K2 is in any way unusable as is, but the reading experience is certainly less than optimal. In directly comparing two K2s and my PRS-505 it's fairly obvious that the superior readability of the Sony is due to the K2's lighter font. Installing Ted-san's Arial font hack absolutely confirms this. Now text on my K2 is at least the equal of the PRS-505 and, given the Kindle's myriad other advantages, is a far more satisfying device. Consequently, I continue (as stated in a post above) to recommend that any K2 owner who isn't phobic about playing with easily reversed hacks give Ted-san's remedy a try. If you don't like it you can quickly and reliably remove it. 

After living with the K2 for some weeks and prior to installing Ted-san's hack, in cases where books were readily available in both Sony and Kindle readable formats I most often chose to download them in Sony versions. No more.
I generally prefer a sans-serif font for ebooks, but the Georgia (font) is so well sized for the K2's scale increments that even size 1 is perfectly readable. Also, the level of boldness is just about ideal to my eyes. In short, I think both the scale and weight are spot on. I did find, however, that I needed to add a notch or two more line spacing.

B. Berard
I would like to thank you for saving my eyes all the fatigue I was experiencing before trying out your amazon font test. What's nice is, I can now also use my regular prescription reading glasses and not the magnifying reading glasses I had to use before trying these fonts out....Thank You again for all your time and work! My eyes sure do appreciate it!

Roger Schwed
For others, I second the recommendation about getting the Decal Girl skin (the HAL 9000 is good). By having the black frame around the Kindle screen, there is no doubt (at least for me) that the background screen looks whiter. In fact, it looked so much better that I'm having trouble deciding whether or not to stay with Ted-san's bolded fonts -- they are actually not as essential with the skin addition (although they remain completely welcome!!)

Law. Sorreneson
The FONT HACKS are a hit! Every single font has been superior to the native Kindle 2's text. 

I agree with Anthony34... the Ted-san fonts have noticeably improved the quality of my Kindle "experience". THANK YOU Ted-san!!!!!

Thanks again Ted-san. I tried it anyway with the Georgia font. It worked and is a marked improvement! I also appreciate all your time and effort and expertise on this problem.

Go to font file download area