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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Thinking about the Kindle Update Features Academically

Something I didn’t consider at first, but probably should have, when I saw the details of the Kindle 3.1 software update this week was that it seems to introduce features highly applicable to improved use in classrooms.  Admittedly, there are a variety of different ways to use all of these things, but this one stands out.  Bear with me for a second.

The most highly publicized feature, the “Real Page Numbers”, isn’t exactly as natural a thing as it seems.  There’s not really such a thing as standardized pagination between editions of a book.  If you grab a paperback and a hardcover of the same title, you can’t exactly expect to see page correlation.  It’s actually more shocking when it’s there.  The same can be true of two paperbacks purchased years apart.  Where you need to have that consistency, though, is in a large group all actively discussing the same book.  Usually that means a classroom.  Besides the occasional book club, there simply aren’t that many non-academic reasons where you would need an actual corresponding page number.  Now, I’m not talking about how nice it is or how enjoyable it is to users.  That’s another discussion.  But this is definitely one place where it will be extremely functional.

The other big point, at least as far as I’m choosing to prioritize the new features, is the Public Notes option.  Now, I love being able to share notes with friends.  It’s even amazing to have the option of such an interesting mode of author/reader interaction.  But where I see the potential is in professional annotation.  One of the biggest problems I’ve heard of over and over again on college campuses, with eReaders in general and the Kindle in particular, was the inability to make use of scholarly editions of popular texts from Norton and the like.  This would open up the ability to do something like that, probably with the option to toggle such notes on and off, and even let it be dynamically updated should the need arise.  Accomodating, to say the least.

Also related, though I doubt it was so much as a consideration in the formation, is the revised magazine formatting.  It’s definitely easier to navigate things now that the quickie snapshot is available for moving around with.  Since the screen doesn’t exactly lend itself to advertising anyway, I’ve always felt that the potential was greater for journal publications than popular magazines anyway.  This just makes it that much better.  Do I see anybody falling all over themselves to adopt the new format?  Not really.  That doesn’t make it a bad idea though, and I’d like more publishers to see the potential.

Now, after looking at it a lot i really don’t think that any of this besides maybe the page numbering could be said to be directed specifically at the usefulness of the Kindle in schools.  That doesn’t make it any less applicable though.  Moves like these will make a lot of progress for Amazon when they try once again to break into the Academic scene.

Kindle Update Adds Real Page Numbers and More

It appears that Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) has been doing some customer polling, or at least watching their forums, and came up with a few new features for an upcoming Kindle software update as a result.  While this has not rolled out to the public as an official release just yet, they are offering an Early Preview of the update for manual download through the website at this page.  I’ve got to admit, this addresses a few long standing concerns.

Real Page Numbers

Foremost among user complaints about the Kindle has often been the progress indicator.  Hard to share a passage you like with friends and family when you can’t just suggest that they turn to a specific page in their own copy, right?  Well, now Amazon is adding in corresponding page numbering between print and digital copies of their library, beginning with the top 100 most popular books that offer both formats and moving on from there.

Public Notes

You know how you can annotate and highlight things in your favorite Kindle books?  Well, now you’ll be able to share those markups with anybody who’s interested.  It opens up new avenues of communication for friends, families, reading clubs, authors, and pretty much anybody who spends time seriously thinking about their reading.  Note that this is an optional feature that is not turned on by default, so there is no danger of sharing inadvertently as far as I can tell (if that’s a concern for you).

Post-Reading Interview(aka “Before You Go…”)

Many people have realized the flaw of the user rating system on Amazon and many other sites.  Often users will only make the effort to comment if the book was particularly bad or amazingly good.  Even then, if you can’t get to it right away while it’s fresh in your mind, what’s the point?  Now, when you finish your book you will be given a chance to rate the book, share a note on the book (via the Facebook and such),and get some recommendations on things to read both based on the author you just read and from a selection of more general personalized recommendations.  It’s fairly unobtrusive and shouldn’t negatively affect your reading experience, while at the same time having the chance to improve the reliability of the rating system on the Kindle store.

New Periodical Layout

Magazines and Newspapers are becoming a bigger and bigger thing in the eReader world.  The new layout makes them that much easier to browse.  There’s not much more to say about it than that it makes more sense this way and seems to speed up browsing magazines for the Kindle considerably.

Lots of fun new stuff to play with in this Kindle software update.  Nothing game changing, necessarily, just a bunch of stuff that users have been asking for.  It’s nice to see that Amazon’s still interested in getting the Kindle updates going out even when there aren’t any major problems needing to be addressed in the software.  I’m going to play around with it a bit more and post some impressions in the near future if I get a chance.  Let me know how it’s working for you.