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.