When we first started selling O’Reilly ebooks on Kindle, the limitations of the device prevented us from including our full catalog of ebooks. The first generation Kindle wasn’t able to display tables or computer code — two classes of content that are obviously quite common in O’Reilly books.
Although we (and our authors!) had hoped that Amazon would update the software on those Kindles (especially since many O’Reilly readers are also typically early adopters of new devices and technologies), it’s clear that Amazon is focusing their efforts on their newer devices and apps for other mobile devices like iPad and Android.
Amazon won’t disclose any data about how many customers use specific Kindle devices or apps, but we believe the number of Kindle 1 users is a small and shrinking part of the overall Kindle user base, and since there are multiple additional apps and desktop readers from Amazon, with a few specific exceptions we’re now making the full catalog of O’Reilly and Microsoft Press ebooks sold at oreilly.com also available in the Kindle store. We submitted the files to Amazon early last week, and they’ve begun appearing in the store today.
Another unfortunate limitation with Kindle (though not unique to Amazon) is that they don’t offer any way of providing customers who purchase ebooks access to publisher updates. We regularly update our ebooks to correct errata and make other changes, and free updates are one reason many O’Reilly readers come to oreilly.com for their ebooks. So we’re now extending a special offer to buyers of our books on Kindle to upgrade to the full ebook bundle (which includes multiple DRM-free formats including PDF and EPUB along with free lifetime updates) for $4.99 through oreilly.com. Information on how to take advantage of that offer is included within the Kindle ebooks, and we’ve also posted instructions for how to add a .mobi file from your O’Reilly account onto a Kindle device. Here’s a few screenshots from the latest batch of titles added to the Kindle store (more at the bottom of this post):
There are still some titles that aren’t suitable for a reflowable format like EPUB or Mobipocket; titles such as the “Head First” series of books, or certain digital photography titles. But any ebook available in EPUB from oreilly.com (which is over 1,000 titles when including Microsoft Press) should now be available in the Kindle store, or will be shortly.
All O’Reilly and Microsoft Press ebooks sold in the Kindle store are unencrypted and DRM-free, and can be used with any device or reading app that supports the Mobipocket format.
Thanks to Sanders Kleinfeld and Adam Witwer for their substantial work dealing with the limitations and quirks of the proprietary Kindle format to make the reading experience for these ebooks the best it can be.