Amazon Adds KF8 Support, Parental Controls, And A High-Contrast Font To Their Cheapest Kindle

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Amazon’s $79 Kindle may be the least flashy of the the bunch, but the Seattle company is starting to push out a new software update that adds some much-needed functionality to their cost-conscious e-reader.

One of the biggest additions to the mix is support for Kindle Format 8, Amazon’s relatively new e-book file format. The $79 Kindle seems to be bringing up the rear in that respect, as the Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch, and most of the Kindle mobile apps have already been updated to play well with those newer KF8 files.

It may sound like a minor enhancement, but it affords content creators and publishers (among other things) much finer control over the styling and layout of an e-book. As such, it also opens up the $79 Kindle to content like comic books that lean heavily on the Kindle Panel View feature, as well as children’s books that use fixed layouts and text popups.

If that wasn’t enough, the update also packs improved parental controls to keep the young ones out of the Kindle Store or the device’s experimental web browser. Also on board is a new, slightly crisper font that Amazon claims will make for a more “paper-like reading experience,” and a new grouping meant solely for dictionaries within the main book listing to help clean up some of the clutter.

All thrilling stuff, no? You can expect your Kindle to get the update via WiFi within a few weeks, but you can always download and install it yourself if you’re the impatient type.