Kindle 3 – CJK (Japanese, Chinese, Korean), Cyrillic fonts supported

This is big news about the Kindle WiFi and Kindle 3 and strangely not included in the Press Release –

Support for New Characters

Kindle can now display Cyrillic (such as Russian), Japanese, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), and Korean characters in addition to Latin and Greek scripts.

That means Amazon can use Kindle 3 to enter a lot of new markets – Russia (Cyrillic font), China, Japan, Korea, and more.

What other Font Features have been added in Kindle 3?

Well, we now have three font styles available on the Kindle –

  1. The standard serif font Caecilia. This is what all the prior Kindles had.
  2. A condensed version of the Caecilia font – Played with this a bit and it didn’t look so good though it is pretty condensed.
  3. A sans-serif font. 

Serifs are little embellishments on alphabets. A serif font has these. So, for example, there will be little flourishes on some alphabets like ‘N’. On the other hand, a sans-serif font uses none of these flourishes/serifs and is easier for computer screens to display.

By allowing both Serif (which looks better on paper and presumably on eInk) and Sans-Serif (which looks better on computer monitors) Amazon are letting users choose what they prefer. Always a good thing.

Kindle 3 – CJK Fonts and Cyrillic Font Support

Here are the new fonts Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi now support –

  1. Chinese Traditional and Simplified. This would explain the rumors of Amazon getting its Chinese subsidiary ready to ship Kindle 3 in China.
  2. Japanese. Japan is a pretty big market and this should allow Amazon to take a shot.
  3. Korean. Obviously lets Amazon target North and South Korea.
  4. Cyrillic. This will allow support for Russian, Bulgarian, Bosnian, Belarusian, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Mongolian, Tajik, and other languages. It’ll help Amazon sell Kindle 3 in East Europe, Russia, and countries in that part of the world.  

There are lots and lots of nuances – For example, CJK languages can be written either left to right or top to bottom.

It’s pretty impressive that Amazon got the time to add Kindle CJK support and Kindle Cyrillic support. It makes Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi even likelier to be huge hits.