Amazon Kindle and Esperanto
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.