Greek text on the Kindle

The Amazon team recently released a firmware update (version 1.2) that allows some much-needed functionality in Kindle books. I was finally able to test the Greek functionality and figured out how to add Greek text to HTML files destined for the Kindle.


First, add the Greek characters into the file using Unicode character entities. For instance, the lowercase alpha is α or α. You could also add the actual character (copied from character map or another source) but I do not suggest doing that since it is usually a better coding practice to use the entity. Also, it just makes inserting and messing with the characters easier.


After the characters are inserted, the file needs to be saved with a Unicode encoding. I suggest using UTF-8, a very common encoding that will be sufficient for these purposes. Just open the HTML file in your default text editor or in Notepad, go to the Save As dialog box, set the encoding to UTF-8, and save the file with the same name or a new one. That HTML file can now be used in Mobipocket Creator to create a PRC file for testing, or be sent to the Kindle through the automated conversion system.


As always, I do not suggest you try uploading Microsoft Word or PDF files, with or without these characters in them. The Kindle format is HTML, and you are always better off formatting and tweaking in that code.


Overall, the Greek support is pretty good on the Kindle. The only characters which are not supported are the archaic koppa, sampi, digamma, and stigma in uppercase and lowercase. The Kindle does support all of the other Greek characters, including all of the pre-composed characters with diacritics… and I mean all of them. I was not able to find any that are not covered. I have included some screenshots below that will give you a sampling of what the Greek looks like on the device, including in the mono-spaced font.


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