Kindle “Enhanced” Books – Availability by Devices


As an avid Kindle user (disclosure:  I used to work for Amazon on Kindle development) I was intrigued recently to discover a book that includes full-motion video content.  As an avid collector of tech toys I was curious about what devices this video content would work on.

The title of the book is Dirty Wars and its author, Jeramy Schahill, both wrote a book and produced a documentary of the same name about American covert operations.  The “enhancements” to this book consist of the trailer and selected scenes from the documentary.

This is not a review of that book.  I’ve barely started reading it; I have yet to form an opinion.  Rather this describes on what devices the video is available.

I first downloaded the book to my Kindle Fire, since obviously the book’s “enhancements,” i.e. the video, would work there.  Once downloaded, I started reading until I hit the first video, which turns out to be the movie trailer.  It’s located in the book at the end of the introduction.   Once I hit the video I then downloaded the book to a number of other devices to see if it would work there.  Here’s the result.

Kindle Fire:    Works (as expected).

iPad running iOS 7:  Works, although the video is in a box, not full screen.

iPhone running iOS 6:  Works (full screen).

Kindle Paperwhite:  Extended content doesn’t work.  That’s expected.  eInk technology is not capable of displaying full-motion video.  The basic text of the book is available. What I also noticed is there’s no indication that full motion video is or would be present.  It is completely invisible to the read on this type of device.

Android tablet (Jelly Bean engineering build):  Same as the Paperwhite.  This is a surprise, as both the device and the software environment are capable of supporting video.  (After all, the Kindle Fire is itself based on Android.)  As on the Kindle eInk device, there is no indication that the video is even present.

Cloud Reader (running on Chrome browser on Ubuntu 10.04):  Error:  “This title is not available on Kindle Cloud Reader.”

Cloud Reader (running on Safari browser on OS X Mountain Lion):  Same as above.

Kindle for Windows 8 App:  Error:  “This title is not available on Kindle for Windows 8”.

Conclusions:  These enhanced books work as well as possible on Kindle devices and iOS devices.  Not so much on the web or on Windows.  My main take away is not to read such books on Andorid devices (other than the Kindle Fire) or on eInk devices, as I would miss the extended content without any warning.


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