Amazon.com last month announced that it was adding “real” page numbers to Kindle books — corresponding to the page numbers in print copies of the same titles. But how, exactly, did the company pull of this technological feat?
An interesting behind-the-scenes writeup today on Amazon’s Kindle Daily Post blog explains how. The underlying tools — Amazon Web Services, of course! — will be familiar to lots of startups around here. Here’s an excerpt …
We had to invent an entirely new way to match the streams of text in a print book to the streams of text in a Kindle book, and assign page numbers in Kindle books. There are hundreds of thousands of Kindle books (and growing every day), so to handle a job of this size, we turned to our Amazon Web Services computing fabric. We created algorithms to match the text of print books to Kindle books and organized all of this in the cloud, using our own AWS platform. The results of this work are stored in Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, where we track the complete history of every page matching file we’ve produced. We even found a way to deliver page numbers to books that customers had already purchased – without altering those books in any way, so customers’ highlights, notes, and reading location are preserved exactly as they were.
Amazon says real page numbers are now available on the latest-generation Kindles, in addition to Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, Mac and PC.