Flash! Early preview software 3.1…page numbers!

Flash! Early preview software 3.1…page numbers!

Do they never rest?  ;)

I was actually wondering if Amazon might coast on their current software version for a while…silly me.

Amazon has just announced early preview software bringing four major new features:

Amazon Announcement

Here are those features…I was going to do a thorough post, but I think I’ll give you mostly the highlights (you’ll be able to tell where I stopped) ;) , and then do an FAKQ post after I’ve tested it a bit:

1. Real Page Numbers

This one is interesting and may be underappreciated.

Amazon has already added “real pages” to tens of thousands of Kindle books.  That’s always been a tricky thing.  A single print page may appear on several e-book screens…or maybe on one.  It depends on your text size.  You will only see page numbers after you have updated your Kindle’s software…and then hit Menu inside the book.  The page number and the total number of pages.  Which version?  It will give you the ISBN of the version on the book’s Amazon Product Page.  What happens if more than one page is on your screen?  You’ll see the page number only for the first page displayed.

Amazon help page on page numbers

UPDATE: I’ve tried about 10 of my books…none of them have page numbers yet.  I’m happy to report, though, that “Go to page” will be an option on books that have page numbers.  There is also a “Go to end” choice.  

UPDATE 2: Found one!  I figured a big-name publisher was a better bet, so I went with Sizzling Sixteen  by Janet Evanovich.  It works as expected: when I press the Menu button, I see page number, total pages, locations displayed, total locations.  I can go to a specific page.  NOTE: location numbers no longer show in books until you hit the Menu button.

UPDATE 3: Thanks to Jess in the Amazon Kindle Community!  I wasn’t finding page numbers because you have to do

Home-Menu-Sync & Check for Items

or freshly download a book to see the page numbers (after doing the update).

2. Public Notes

You can already participate in the Popular Highlights program (in fact, you have to opt out).  This new features lets you share notes you write in your books.  This one has a lot of nuances to it.

First, you choose whether you or not you are sharing notes from a particular book at

http://kindle.amazon.com

You’ll be able to post specific notes, all of your notes from a book…and see other people’s notes.  They’ve added a way to “follow” people at the above site.

This could be really significant…but I have to look through it more.  How do they prevent obscenities and libel and that sort of thing?  Who owns the content you write?  I won’t be doing this until I’ve researched it.  If I decide to do it, I’ll let you know so you can follow me if you want.

UPDATE: Here’s the FAQ for Public Notes

https://kindle.amazon.com/faq#PublicNotes0

UPDATE 2: Amazon confirmed for me that you own the content of your Public Notes.  That not matter to you, but it makes a difference to me.  :)  I’ll look at publicly posting individual notes.  For example, I was pleased when there was a shout-out in a book I read recently to Lidsville…I might write a note explaining what that is.  :)  You can follow me at that kindle.amazon site above, if you want.

3. Before You Go

This is a nice feature, and something people have requested (at least parts of it).  On the last page of the book, you’ll be able to rate it, tweet that you finished it, and see recommendations for other books.  This may also help recommendations, making them more Netflix-like (people who liked the same things you liked also liked…that sort of thing)

UPDATE: Yep, at the end of the book.  I can tweet or share that I fnished the book, rate the book…and click on books bought by other customers who bought this book, and click on more books by this author (only Kindle editions, by the way).

4. Better magazine and newspaper layout…the screenshots look promising.

Well, there you go…a four-fer.  ;) 

If you don’t do anything, you’ll get the update…on Kindle 3s.  That’s all that shows on the

Update Page

The announcement is less clear, saying “Kindle 3G” customers would get it, which suggests everything…Kindle 2, Kindle 1, and Kindle DX.  I don’t think they mean that, though, but I could be wrong.

I’ll write again after I get it installed and play around with it.  It’s been trying to download for about fifteen minutes on one of my computers.  UPDATE: On my fourth attempt, it downloaded…in under fifteen seconds, I’d say.  It took ten minutes and nine seconds to do the update.  The sequence looked like this:

Update
Restart
Update (partial)
Update
Update
Restart
Restart
Restart

I have it now.  :)  Time to start experimenting…

If you try it, let me know what you think.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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20 Responses to “Flash! Early preview software 3.1…page numbers!”

  1. Tim Thompson Says:

    Thanks for the brief review. After reading your post I carried on and updated the software. The book I’m reading (Red Mars) said it had page numbers. I had to delete it and then download it again and there are the page numbers.

    I think it’s a nice update. I never complained about not having page numbers but it helps since I spent most of my 56 years using page numbers. Just makes a marvelous tool that much more marvelous.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tim!

      Actually (and I didn’t know this at first), if you do

      Home-Menu-Sync & Check for Items

      that should make page numbers show up for the books on your device that have them…you won’t need to remove the book from your device first.

      • Tim Thompson Says:

        Yeah, I saw that on one of the forums. I must just not be patient enough. It’s great that it’s on the book I’m reading so I’ll just wait and see. Great feature, though.

        What do you think of having to hit menu to get page number or location? I see it’s already an issue on the forums. I don’t think it bothers me. The percentage bar is still there for the quick guideline.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tim!

        Yes, that’s an interesting point. Is that going to decrease battery charge life (having to draw much more on the screen to see where you are in the book), or increase it not having to draw the location numbers on each screen?

        I’ve always thought of the percentage as being similar to what we saw on a paperbook…when it was closed. Is the percentage enough for most people when actively reading? I’m thinking it will be when they get used to it…we’ll see.

      • Joan Pantesco Says:

        Received a post from Amazon this morning about the update to 3.1 being sent via WiFi. This is great only for the most recent Kindles that have WiFi or WiFi/3G. I have 2 Kindles – the US only DX and the Kindle 3G/WiFi. Very disappointing that this is not being sent via 3G so both devices would be updated, even more unfortunate for those not having a Kindle with WiFi.
        I am a visually challenged person & purchased Kindles because computer access was not a necessity for updates, purchase of books, etc. Very difficult for me to transfer material via USB connection. If you have any info on updates via 3G I would appreciate your posting such in your blog to which I subscribe on my Kindle DX.
        This is the first time I have written to you – find it hard to navigate your blog for sending you something – and the print is very small and hard for me to see, and unable to enlarge it.
        Love your blog on the Kindle. Thanks for any help you may be able to provide

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Joan!

        I was actually writing a post about the new update as you were commenting, I think. :)

        The update only works on the Kindle 3s…only on Kindles with wi-fi. It wouldn’t work on the Kindle 2.

        They have, in the past, sent updates via 3G for Kindles that used only 3G.

        You should be able to increase the text size for my blog on your Kindle DX. Try using the Aa key. You can also have it read out loud to you, using text-to-speech. Again, you can activate that using the Aa key.

        Unfortunately, you can’t leave comments directly from the Kindle edition…I appreciate you making the effort to go to the website and leaving your comment there.

  2. Harold Delk Says:

    I updated earlier today with no problems. I’ve not yet tested any of the new features enough to make a valid comment except that they work as advertised. Users should be aware that the Kindle MAY reboot more than the two times mentioned in the instructions. I lost count at 4. Do not try to read, turn off or on, or press any buttons until you are sure it is completely done with the update. Mine returned to the main screen after about 10-12 minutes so be patient.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      I updated the post…for me, it took slightly over ten minutes to do the update and I listed the sequence of updates and restarts for me.

  3. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Well, thanks for this. I went to the download page, and read the instructions carefully: I’m pretty sure this won’t work for K2, K1, OR KDX users — it’s only for those with software versions 3.0 or greater. (for example my KDX (2G) is at software version 2.5.6). I’m still waiting for a WIFI-enabled version of the KDX before I get a new one — or perhaps the new tablet — if that ever appears.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Yes, they only list the K3s. It was the way they wrote the announcement that was potentially misleading.

      I suspect that might not have to do with the page numbers, but with the social parts of the update. They may be counting on the use of wi-fi for some of these features, which is free for Amazon. They could be going to do page numbers separately for K2s and KDXs…but I think some new large screen (an updated KDX or something different) is coming before too long.

  4. Tom Semple Says:

    Page numbers are nice, but I’m more impressed with the improvement to the subscription layout. Navigation is MUCH easier and more pleasant now. I don’t actually subscribe to any except for the free ‘Amazon Daily’, but anyone subscribing to Kindle subscriptions (magazine/newspaper/blog) OR calibre-generated ‘Fetch news’ items will appreciate this.

    My sense is that each of the new features is fairly ‘modular’, and could be back-ported to K2/KDX. Whether they will is another question. There are probably more K3s out there now than the other models put together. And I’m still waiting for the microphone-enabling update on my K3!

    I’m not optimistic about a new KDX, wifi or otherwise. Too many colorful, shiny tablets coming out this year and every one of them runs circles around a KDX, which is essentially 20 months old now (never mind the International and Pearl changes), almost a couple of generations in tech. There is a market, but it is just too small for Amazon to pursue, I think. I’d love to be wrong about it though.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      The page numbers aren’t something I’m expecting to use much, but we’ll see…I might find a use for them. :)

      I don’t really see a difference with the blogs to which I subscribe…maybe they haven’t downloaded since the change?

      I think they may update the K2 with page numbers and the sub layout change. For the DX? My guess, as you note, is that we are do for something new…either a new DX or a tablet. That doesn’t mean the current DX wouldn’t get an update, though.

      I don’t think anything without wi-fi is likely to get the “Before You Go” and “Public Notes” but I could be wrong about that.

  5. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I was one of the ones in the interminable discussions about page numbers that didn’t have a strong need for them — so this feature (or any of the others in this package) are not big wowsers for me. In a world of only ebooks (which I believe we will arrive at in the fullness of time), I’m not sure what relevance page numbers matching some print edition (of which only a few — or none — copies are printed) will have. Page numbers are an artifact of print technology. When we aren’t printing books anymore what’s the use of page numbers? That’s not to say we won’t need some kind of indexing mechanism, but what that might ultimately be is not obvious to me.

    Ever since I learned of Amazon’s plans for an Android tablet, I have been of the opinion that there will be be no follow ons to the KDX. It is priced too high for what it provides in comparison to the K3. For the price of a KDX they can sell large screen format tablet with all of the great KDX reading facilities, and so much more. My only question is can an Amazon tablet be sufficiently differentiated from all the other tablets to be successful.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I’m with you on page numbers…never wanted them.

      How many pages does an e-book have?

      None. E-books don’t have pages.

      They don’t have carburetors, they don’t have antlers, they don’t 401Ks. :)

      On the other hand, it may be a while before everybody catches up with that…so a desire for some “backwards compatibility” is understandable. Emotionally, it feels like a step backwards: intellectually, I understand it. It doesn’t hurt the locations part (except for their decision to have locations not display until you hit Menu), so it’s okay with me…just another option.

      It does require more memory on your device, though, but it makes people feel better.

      Locations are more logical. Locations are more accessible (they aren’t affected by text size, which means those who need large print have the same system as everyone else).

      However…it surprised me when we couldn’t get people in the US to switch to the much easier to use metric system in the 1970s. I mean, who wants to figure out how many teaspoons are in a gallon or inches in a mile? We aren’t compatible with most of the world. It costs the world money to put speedometers in our cars with miles per hour. Yet, people are more emotionally comfortable using the old system…so we do. I had no idea the yardstick lobby was so powerful. ;)

      It’s quite possible that the rest of the world will be on a locations system, and the USA will still be using pages.

      I think locations are the way to go, but they need to be standardized…and only count visible characters. Oh, not standardized by the government, for me, but a general market agreement so that the locations are the same on a NOOK, a Kindle, and a laptop.

      I think that just being Amazon is different enough for a tablet (including the availability of their video)…but we’ve had that conversation before. :)

    • Tim Thompson Says:

      I have to admit that I kind of like the page numbers. I’ve only been in the Kindle world since last November and I totally understand the need for locations. But, to be able to look down now and see that I’m on page 320 of 570 gives me a greater comprehension of where I’m at than location 5806 of 10332.

      Then again, I’m in Canada, been on metric since the 70s and still convert Celsius to Fahrenheit in my head for real comprehension although I think I’m pretty used to kilometers per hour versus mph. :)

      But, if we lost pages tomorrow, I would eventually adapt.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tim!

        I think the percentage indicator is a better sense of where you are in the book than either locations or page numbers, although I can convert either of the latter to a percentage pretty well. Since both pages and locations numbers have irregular amounts of data, I think we are all actually converting to a percentage sense.

        I had the funniest one with my Significant Other. I really need a GPS (I drive around a lot for work), and my SO didn’t want something in the car saying where to go. :) I did get one, and when my SO took it out for a drive the first time, I forgot I had set it on kilometers…

  6. Harold Delk Says:

    My wife likes the page numbers because nearly all of her book club members read “real” books and it will now allow them a common “find it” during discussions. Might be quite difficult to tell her friends “the passage is at location 2,167 which is 78% from the front cover … ” or for her to have to find page 326 on her Kindle.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      Yep, that “backwards compatability” is exactly the reason to do the page numbers. They aren’t going to help me much, but I’m glad they’ll help your wife. The same thing goes for Kindles in classrooms that are part paper and part electronic.

      Thanks for sharing that!

  7. K2er Says:

    Page numbers I can take or leave. But I really would like the new newspaper format, sadly I doubt the K2 I bought 11 months ago, and which is still under warranty, will get the update. I didn’t complain when the price drop, or when the K3 with wifi (which would’ve been better for me) came out, but I love to read newspapers on my kindle and it would be sp much easier with the new format! The Kindle 2 is well built and great to read on. But I am upset that we don’t get the newspaper update!

    If they ever make a Kindle 2.8 to give use the newspaper format, I will be happy. Page numbers, if possible, should be added to that update as well. Or, at the least, they could change the percentage so it doesn’t count the end notes and acknowledgement. A book I read recently finished around 65% bc of all the end notes.

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