How to create left aligned text on a Kindle Touch

March 2013

kindle touch, text w left align

As much as I like reading on a Kindle Touch, the default text alignment is an eyesore. Justified text (“Blocksatz” in German) doesn’t work on slim devices, especially when German language with long, mighty words comes in.

So why doesn’t Amazon allow readers to switch from justified text to left align?

Quite frankly, I don’t know.

Here’s a far from elegant workaround that did the trick for me:

  • Install Calibre, it’s free.
  • Import your Kindle ebooks to Calibre (a good occasion to get rid of your ebooks’ DRM for a personal-use-only backup that’s safe from anything Amazon.. more about the free Calibre plugin needed on Ars Technica).
  • Once your ebooks are in the Calibre library, you need to convert them one more time. The converting menu has a “look and feel” area with alignment options. Choose “left align”, then convert to mobi format. More on Calibre conversion here.
  • Move your modified ebook file back to your Kindle Touch or Paperwhite (You might want to delete the old version, no overwriting). 
  • I can’t guarantee this works for everyone, but I tested with a few books and they look fine. Yes, this workflow is annoying. Given the many hours we spend reading a book, however, the ratio of effort and benefit is relatively fine.

I wish there were more sophisticated ways to change text alignment on my Kindle Touch. Until now Amazon clearly didn’t show much empathy for font matters – their products would look so much more premium with only a few enhancements.

Amazon is font-ignorant on a variety of devices, btw. The Kindle iPhone App is justified text only, too, delivering an especially below par reading experience.

Update: There’s a simple way to add new fonts to Kindle Paperwhite/Touch without jailbreak.