Would it be so hard to make these devices and this software not ugly? Given Amazon’s resources and willingness to invest heavily in all kinds of crazy technological baubles, it seems well within the company’s reach to ship a Kindle that looks like it costs more than the cover price of a hardback bestseller to manufacture; it probably wouldn’t take much more effort to make sure the typography engine features a halfway decent hyphenation and justification algorithm, too.
Designer Khoi Vinh makes a good point. While he says that the new Kindle Oasis is an improvement on the design of the Kindle, he highlights how Amazon simply refuses to spend the time and money to make the display more like a book. The company did release a new font, called Bookerly, last year, which is well-adapted to reading ebooks. But hyphenation and justification are awful.
Interestingly, I came across this article in the Guardian today that says that, according to a study by Kobo, “three quarters of the most active readers are women over 45.” Many of these readers prefer genre fiction – notably romances – and appreciate the ability to change the font size to something more readable than what many paperbacks use.
I agree that the variable font size is one of the best features with any ebook device. I need reading glasses, but I prefer reading my Kindle with a large enough font that I don’t use the glasses. It’s pretty big, and I need to turn “pages” more often, but it’s more comfortable.