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Amazon Kindle and Esperanto

DavidSimpson's picture

I've been experimenting with the new Amazon Kindle - it's a device for reading electronic books using "e-ink" technology. I've found it to be quite a nice device, allowing me to carry around many books in a very small space. However, the device is still in its early stages, and does not yet support the accented Esperanto letters (ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ, ŭ). It will, however, display several other accented letters (vowels with acute and grave accents, umlauts, etc.).

Files in other formats may be converted to Kindle format for free, using Amazon's file converter. In summary, I've discovered the following:

  • HTML files: Esperanto characters (such as ĉ = & #265; etc.) are converted to their un-accented counterparts. For example, "ĉ" is converted to "c".
  • .DOC (Microsoft Word files) do the same thing as HTML files (letters lose their accents, so "ĉ" becomes "c", etc.).
  • UTF-8 files: These are rejected by the Amazon file converter. You can, however, transfer text files with embedded UTF-8 characters directly to the Kindle using a USB cable—the Kindle can read plain ASCII text files directly. If you do this, the accented Esperanto letters are converted to their un-accented counterparts (as with HTML files). This suggests that the Kindle can at least partially recognize Esperanto letters, but its character set does not yet include the Esperanto "glyphs".
  • Latin-3 files: The characters are converted to their Latin-1 counterparts, so the resulting file is pretty unreadable.
  • PDF files: When I converted a PDF file (originally composed in LaTeX), the accents did appear, but next to the letters, not on top (e.g. c^).
  • Plain text files (h-convention or x-convention) convert OK (but of course there are no accented letters).

I've sent a suggestion to the Amazon Kindle development team requesting support of the Esperanto alphabet in future versions.

Meanwhile, using the h-convention, I've converted all the Esperanto texts in Project Gutenberg to Amazon Kindle (.AZW) format, so they're ready for you to download to the device and read. You may find them on my Web site at:

I've created these from the HTML versions of the books; in some cases I had to create an HTML file or modify the existing file so that the text could be converted. I've changed the accented Esperanto letters to the h-convention (ch, gh, hh, jh, sh, u) so they can be read on the Kindle.

Hopefully the Kindle will soon support Esperanto characters, and I can re-create these files with normal accented letters.


by DavidSimpson


Problem Solved

Aplonis's picture

I stumbled upon this blog in a search. So then, others might also. Thus I'll respond. I have a both an older Kindle and also a new Kindle Fire. Also a Nook. My wife has now a Kindle Fire HD, but once had a Kobo. All these devices now work fine with Esperanto out of the box. Some older models, however, lacked fonts. Some foreign models, a few Sony, and such, still do lack Unicode fonts. But this can be solved, easy enough. I publish ebooks for all these devices, including the Sony and other readers, by embedding the fonts inside the ebooks. I had not used to do, prior to getting one complaint from a reader in Spain whose off-brand reader did not show Esperanto properly. Embedding the fonts inside the ebooks solved it for him. Now I do it for all.

I use Calibre to manage and publish my ebooks in Esperanto. If you should want an example, then google for "Eldonejo Mistera Sturno" to find my page. Download an ebook in either EPub or AZW3 format. Load it into Calibre and study mine as an example.

February 7, 2016 by Aplonis, 1 year 32 weeks ago

Test file that demonstrates what Unicode Glyphs Kindle Supports

jimad's picture

At under "Unicode" you can find a test file for Kindle which demonstrates what Unicode Glyphs Kindle actually supports. Which is basically less than U+0250 "Latin" and as you mention they often leave off the diacriticals on the high latin letters. Other than that Kindle mainly supports some random Dingbats from DOS prehistory. You can also open this test file from say a Windows desktop if you install Mobipocket Reader, so one can see that the test file actually implements the test points correctly -- its just that Kindle doesn't having the Glyphs internally necessary to display these code points.

April 6, 2008 by jimad, 9 years 24 weeks ago

Not sure I'd want another "toy"

Philip David Morgan's picture

When the Kindle was announced, I have to admit I felt a bit deflated. For sometime now, I've been trying to limit my gadget buying to items I would find useful. The Kindle might give Amazon's bank accounts a little boost, but otherwise I couldn't see a reason for another e–book device (especially given that Sony has a rival unit). A few more hundred, and I could afford a laptop computer capable of reading the current alphabet soup of file formats out there — including the PDF files of Esperanto materials widely available online. Plus, I could choose my preferred OS (most likely a Linux distro — say, Ubuntu).

For now, my money stays where it is, save for occasional E–USA and UEA retbutiko purchases.

February 19, 2008 by Philip David Morgan, 9 years 30 weeks ago

"Early Adopter" Product

DavidSimpson's picture

Well, to be fair, the Kindle is still in the "early adopter" stage. For example, it does not even yet support subdirectories, so all your books are stored in one large root directory. The Kindle actually does appear to support a subset of Unicode (á, etc.) but not yet Esperanto characters. They're currently looking for suggestions for improvements in future versions, so hopefully we can lobby to get support for the Esperanto alphabet in the future.


February 4, 2008 by DavidSimpson, 9 years 32 weeks ago

La teknologio estas ĉi-tie, fi al Amazon por ne-uzado!

frimmin's picture

Estas fio, ke Kindle ne uzas UTF-8, la fakta normo jam kelkjare!
Ankaŭ estas nepardoneble, ke Yahoo-grupoj ne kapablas montri la ĉapelitajn literojn.

Mi longe opinias ke ni devu forlasi Yahoo-grupojn kaj anstataŭe uzu Google por la poŝtlistoj.

Dankon pro via sindona laboro kaj la transskribo de la libroj! Ankaŭ mi skribos al Amazon.

"Ripozu nur. Via apartigo de Dio estas la plej malfacila afero en la mond'."

February 4, 2008 by frimmin, 9 years 32 weeks ago

Klarigon mi petas

Lee Miller's picture


Kion signifas via komento pri "Via apartigo de Dio"? Mi ne vidas ian rilaton al la temo aŭ al la aliaj mesaĝoj ĉi tie. Ĉu vi povas klarigi, kion vi celas?



February 4, 2008 by Lee Miller, 9 years 32 weeks ago

Pardonu min pro la konfuzo

frimmin's picture

Mi bedaŭras la konfuzon. Mi ne estas Hafiz, mi estas Jon! Mi forgesis tajpi mian nomon, kaj la subskriba dosiero montris la nomon de la fama Sufia poetisto, Hafiz.

-- Jon
"Nur ripozu. Via apartigo de Dio estas la plej malfacila afero en la mond'."

February 6, 2008 by frimmin, 9 years 32 weeks ago

Estas fio, ke Kindle ne uzas

frimmin's picture

Estas fio, ke Kindle ne uzas UTF-8, la fakta normo jam kelkjare! Ankaŭ estas nepardonebla, ke Yahoo-grupoj ne kapablas montri la ĉapelitajn literojn.

Mi longe opinias ke ni forlasu Yahoo-grupojn kaj anstataŭe uzu Google por la poŝtlistoj.

Nur ripozu. Via apartigo de Dio estas la plej malfacila afero en la mond'.

February 4, 2008 by frimmin, 9 years 32 weeks ago

It's amazing and

russ's picture

It's amazing and disappointing to me how many programs and websites continue to be lame with respect to non-English alphabets. UTF-8 has been around for years and works fine, as can be seen at sites like Wikipedia, Livejournal, etc which correctly handle foreign text.

Probably it's good in letters of complaint to mention not only Esperanto (since they might write that off as an insignificant niche) but to mention that Esperanto and most languages are not handled correctly. Latin-1 represents a tiny fraction of the world's languages.

February 4, 2008 by russ, 9 years 32 weeks ago

thanks for the information!

Ted Alper's picture

I have been sorely tempted by the Kindle and was probably going to buy one in a few months -- but, the absence of support for Esperanto characters definitely reduces my interest -- or at least makes me more willing to wait a bit.

February 3, 2008 by Ted Alper, 9 years 33 weeks ago

Contact us / Kontaktu Nin

Contact Us / Kontaktu Nin:

Landa Kongreso * 2017 June 30 - July 3 * Annual Congress

EO Esperanto: La Landa Kongreso 2017 okazos en Raleigh, Nord-Karolino, Usono, 2017 ekde la 30-a de junio ĝis la 3-a de julio, 2017.
Por aliĝi, vidu: Aliĝilo

EN English: The Annual US Esperanto Congress 2017 will be in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, Jun 30 - July 3, 2017.
To sign up, see: Registration

NASK * 2017 jul 4 - 13 * Summer Courses

EO Esperanto: La bonega kursaro NASK - Nord-Amerika Somera Kursaro okazos de la 4-a de Julio ĝis la 7-a de Julio ĉe Raleigh, Norda Karolino, ĉe la Universitato William Peace. Por vidi pli da detaloj aŭ aliĝi, klaketu ligilon NASK.

EN English: The excellent North American Esperanto Summer Courses (NASK), will be happening from July 4 to 13th, at William Peace University, in Raleigh, North Carolina. To see more details or sign up, click on NASK.


Which NASK is best for you?
one week ($800)
two weeks ($1500)
three weeks ($2100)
Total votes: 715
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