Kindle 3 Manga Photos

The Kindle 3 handles images really well – But can Kindle 3 handle Manga?

K and 4rc wanted to find out about Kindle 3′s Manga capabilities and also how well Mangle, the Manga Program for Kindle, works with Kindle 3. Well, this post has some photos to show you that Kindle 3 does fine – The Kindle 3 Manga photos are after the jump (second part of the post).

Do note that after taking a bunch of photos of Manga on Kindle 3 and trying out the various options the Kindle 3 crashed. So there’s only so much messing around with settings it can take. The second time it worked fine when it wasn’t being asked to change settings every few seconds – So you should be fine once you’ve finalized settings and are reading your manga. Zoom works well without causing any issues.

Kindle 3 Manga – Setting Things Up

Well, here are the basic steps -

  1. Go to foosoft.net/mangle.
  2. Download and install Mangle.
  3. Follow the instructions – They are in a section called Usage Instructions and are pretty easy.
  4. Do note that the instructions for creating picture folders are simplified. Here are detailed instructions -

    1. Connect Kindle 3 via USB to your PC.
    2. Go to the Kindle 3.
    3. Create “pictures” folder on your Kindle 3′s main folder. That’s the folder that has Documents folder in it.
    4. Now create sub-folders for your photo albums.
    5. Put in images into these sub-folders. Here, you want Mangle to let you help you and just specify a name and for folder choose the main ‘Pictures’ folder. Mangle creates the sub-directory automatically – with the name you chose for your Manga book.
    6. The images that you put into a sub-folder will become part of the photo album.
    7. Unplug your Kindle 3 and go to the Home Page.
    8. Press Alt-Z on home page to see photo albums among books. On Kindle 3 you don’t have to press Alt-Z.
    9. When you select one of these photo albums, the experimental Image Viewer starts.

  5. Once you’re in the Photo Album (Manga Book) there are some shortcuts. Please note that pressing Aa brings up a menu and the size setting in that Menu tends to default to Actual Size = True. You have to change it to Actual Size = No to be able to zoom. The shortcuts -

    1. Zoom In on the Picture – Q key.
    2. Zoom Out – W key.
    3. Reset Zoom Level for the Image – E key.
    4. Toggle Picture to Actual Size – C key.
    5. Toggle Picture to Full Screen Mode – F key.
    6. Pan Photo if its larger than the Kindle 2′s screen – With 5-way controller.
    7. Rotate the Image – R key.

  6. Here are the options you get by pressing Aa – Actual size or not, Scale Image to fit to screen or fit to width or fit to height, Screen rotation. The scale to fit to screen/width/height setting will sometimes cause problems (leaves behind image artifacts).
  7. Your settings are preserved if you exit.
  8. If you re-open a Manga you start with the image/page you were last looking at - so it’s just like reading a book.

It’s quite easy to figure it out and use it – The description is long because there are lots of settings and some nuances. The Mangle software is really good and easy to use – You MUST read the usage instructions though.

Kindle 3 Manga – Settings and Features

Here are the various features, shortcuts, and Menu settings -

  1. Choose to see only the actual size of the image or enable zoom.  
  2. Fit the manga page to fit the screen or fit by width or fit by height.
  3. Press ‘F’ to go full screen. 
  4. Press ‘Q’ to Zoom. This will not work if the Actual Size setting in the Aa key Menu is set to ‘true’.
  5. Press ‘Q’ multiple times to zoom multiple times. Press W to unzoom and press E to go back to original size.
  6. Toggle to Actual Size with C.  
  7. Please see the shortcuts list in the previous section for more options.
  8. You can choose the screen orientation. This didn’t work particularly well for the one manga tested.
  9. Rotate the Image with R – this leaves the background behind and doesn’t work well either.
  10. You can pan around when zoomed into a photo using the 5-way and it works well.  
  11. In the menu you can disable dithering.
  12. You can also enable full screen mode in the Menu (‘F’ key is the shortcut).
  13. There’s an interesting ‘pan to next page’ feature – couldn’t get it to work.
  14. Page turns in manga books are quick. That has to mean Kindle 3 loads images much quicker than Kindle 2.
  15. The Zoom feature allows you to zoom in and read the text if it’s too small.

There are also a few errors – when you unzoom or change the screen fit setting or change the rotation the old image is left behind in the background. You can remove this ‘image artifact’ by exiting and re-entering the Manga Book. Kindle 3 remembers what page you were on and also your zoom settings.

Page turns are usually very quick which is impressive since it’s loading photos. Loading the manga pictures the first time can be slow. If you go into sleep mode then Kindle 3 might fail to re-load photos when you come out of sleep mode. Simply exit to the main menu and re-enter the Manga - it’ll work fine.

Kindle 3 Manga Photos next …

After the jump lots of photos of Manga on the Kindle 3.

Continue reading

Manga on the Kindle – Mangle Software by Alex Yatskov

Alex Yatskov has coded a piece of software that lets you create manga books for the kindle from scanlations (translations of manga into non-Japanese languages). Its quite a neat piece of software that lets you -

  1. Convert/Quantize images to grayscale to get a richer contrast.
  2. Downscale images to fit the Kindle’s screen better.
  3. Rotate the image to better suit the Kindle’s 800 by 600 aspect ratio.
  4. And other cool things.

I think this is a big step in expanding the functionality of the Kindle. And it’s the biggest step I’ve seen since Igor’s kindle hacks that gave us google maps, the browser, and other things like the picture viewer (which Mangle leverages).

Courtesy Danny Warfield - Flickr

Courtesy Danny Warfield - Flickr

There are a few reasons this piece of software, Mangle,  is really interesting (even if, like me, you aren’t sure whether manga is even safe to talk about) -

  1. My first thought would be extending the software to be used for comics. Since my Kindle is still in Seattle I can’t test it yet. However, perhaps someone will and leave a comment.
  2. My second thought would be extending the Kindle to hold photo albums and as photo storage. Yes, I know it’s black and white – however it has a large screen, and works perfectly well for storing and looking through images. And Mangle does a good job of taking your images and converting them into Kindle friendly images – and stringing them together into ‘books’/photo-albums.
  3. Potential Commercial Implications – From Wikipedia‘s manga article, I found out that there is a $4.4 billion dollar manga market in Japan, and a $200 million dollar manga market in the US -

    In Japan, manga are widely read by people of all ages, and include a broad range of subjects … Since the 1950s, manga have steadily become a major part of the Japanese publishing industry, representing a 481 billion yen market in Japan in 2006 (approximately $4.4 billion dollars). Manga have also become increasingly popular worldwide. In 2006, the United States manga market was $175–200 million. Manga are typically printed in black-and-white.

  4. The fact that most manga comes in Black and White is good – since we may not see color eReaders for another 3 years.
  5. The fact that even without access to Kindle as a platform people are already coding software to extend Kindle functionality.

So major props to Alex for coding Mangle – do give it a spin.

Edit: I’m not promoting piracy. Most manga companies are okay with scanlations since they are not going to release those manga outside of Japan anyways.

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