Reading the Kindle Paperwhite User’s Guide
You know when there’s a series of books, and you just can’t wait for the next one to come out? That’s how I feel about Kindle User’s Guides. There’s that thrill of seeing which features will be mentioned and won’t, the rock solid density of reading those legal notices, and the head-scratching moments like having to tell people not to dry their Kindles in a microwave.
Well, the wait is over…the User’s Guide for the Kindle Paperwhite is now here!
So, now, as you may be frequently told to do on the internet, you can RTFM…you know, Read The Free Manual. Wait, that’s what the “F” is for, right?
Well, I did just that yesterday…while driving. Don’t worry, it was safe. I downloaded the file as a pdf, e-mailed it to my Kindle Fire HD with the word “convert” in the subject line, and had the Ivona TTS (text-to-speech) software read it out loud to me through my car’s sound system.
I continue to be impressed with Ivona. Not only is it smoother and more natural sounding than Nuance’s Vocalizer (on the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Touch), it handles punctuation better. I was blown away when the author (Benjamin Mee) of We Bought a Zoo used ellipses to indicate…someone…was…speaking…slowly, and Ivona actually had the gaps between the words. It’s not perfect; chapter titles are still an issue, but it is much better.
There were some things that stood out that I want to share with you, but a couple of caveats first. User’s Guides change over time…this one could be updated even before people have the Paperwhites in their hands (on Monday). Second, many things that the Paperwhite does won’t be covered in the User’s Guide…what geeks like me call “undocumented features”. Third, there may be things in the User’s Guide that suggest something might happen, but it doesn’t ever. For example, it may list certain countries just as a precaution, and then it may not go on sale in those countries.
That said, here are some interesting points (some of this we knew already):
- The power button is on the bottom edge, which hasn’t been everybody’s favorite place
- The AC adapter is sold separately…charging shouldn’t take four hours, but could in some situations
- The power light will change colors as it charges (amber to green)…the KFHD doesn’t have a power light
- You’ll be able to change the keyboard on the fly for different languages…that’s nice. There will be a globe button on the keyboard if you have more than one language, and you can use that to switch
- The previous page tap zone is only on the left side…that may be a problem for left handers; you can swipe instead of tap, though
- The brightness button appears in the main toolbar…it will be easily accessible
- Wikipedia look up is available
- “List” or “cover” views on the homescreen are mentioned as options…we may be able to see the covers of the books there
- The “About the Author” option is mentioned in books…but it will only be available for “books that support the author profile”. This may encourage authors to create Amazon Author Central pages (here’s mine). That’s a good thing: I like having the forum there for my readers
- Line spacing and margins will be adjustable
- In some cases, you’ll be able to switch to the “publisher font”
- The toolbar when reading a periodical will appear on the top, with the main toolbar; I think it’s smart that they are putting the controls all in the same place
- It says flat out that wi-fi is faster than 3G
- Their discussion of switching from 3G to wi-fi seemed confusing this time…like it might not switch to wi-fi if the 3G signal is stronger. They say: “Your Kindle automatically turns off 3G when you connect using Wi-Fi with better signal strength.” I thought in the past it switched to wi-fi every time when available, regardless of comparable signal strength, but that might have been wrong
- One of the clear indicators that the Paperwhite will be sold in multiple countries was this one: “Note that Special Offers and Sponsored Screensavers are not available in all countries”
- There will be recommendations when you are in “cover view”: “When in Cover View, your Kindle Home screen displays recommended content from the Kindle Store, such as Editors’ Picks”. We have a change coming that will enable people to turn that off on the KFHD…don’t know about the Paperwhite
- They mentioned blogs…yay! I always worry they are going to cut that off at some point
- This one might be confusing: “You can also synchronize your Kindle device so that purchases within Kindle apps are available to you” I think they are talking about being able to read a book that you bought while using, say, Kindle for PC on your Kindle…not about “in-app purchases” like power-ups and music in an Android app
- They now refer to the archives as the “Cloud”, like they do on the Fire
- Another possible confusion: “Your Kindle can store thousands of digital books, personal documents, newspapers, blogs, magazines, and active content”…can it store thousands of e-books? Can it store thousands of magazines? I’d doubt the latter, since they tend to be big. I think they mean the items can combine to be thousands…but some of them would need to be small to make that happen
- You can sort and filter your Cloud items…filters now include Active Content
- They have an “x/y” button so you can jump to page “3 of 10″ on the homescreen, or by letter. We’ve always had the ability to jump, but I don’t think x/y is going to be clear to people…a bit math geeky, don’t you think?
- Book description is mentioned as an option, but that doesn’t mean the book descriptions are stored locally…we’ve also had that “book description” for a while
- Yes, you can create Collections
- Periodicals and blogs still can not be put into Collections. I think that’s because each time they download, their names (as far as the Kindle is concerned) change
- This statement appears to need to be corrected: “Note that files transferred to your Kindle using the USB cable will display the option “Delete This Document” and will be permanently deleted unless you have enabled archiving on the Manage Your Kindle page.” Whether you’ve enabled archiving or not, I don’t think your Kindle server is going to back up a file you’ve transferred via USB (as opposed to e-mailing it to your Kindle using the Personal Document Service. It would be possible for Amazon to survey your device for added documents, but they’d get a lot of pushback on that, and I don’t think it’s going to happen
- They push this site, http://www.kindle.com/support, a lot. Interestingly, it actually takes you to a UK page, http://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle/support, which then lets you pick a country (including India). It looks nice
- The periodical situation is the same…you get the “rolling seven”. Amazon keeps the current issue and six back issues for you. You can choose to keep any issue you want, but you are responsible for storing it
- You can change the number of pages for the page refresh (changing how often you get the flash)
- Kindle Panel View is available for comics and manga (and they carefully list those separately)
- You can pan tables (move left and right in them)
- You can pan and zoom some things
- Pinch and spread will work
- There will be a Dictionaries Collection in the Cloud…might this eventually mean user-created Collections in the Cloud?
- We will have translation (of individual words) and reporting errors from within the book
- My Clippings will appear on the homescreen
- X-Ray will be available, as will information from both Wikipedia and Shelfari
- Reading Time will figure out how long it will take you based on your reading speed to finish a chapter or the book. Note that this estimate of your reading speed is stored locally…if your Kindle is replaced, the new one will have to relearn your reading speed. I think they might have been worried that people thought it was an invasion of privacy if your reading speed was known by Amazon
- You can set an access password for the whole device. They say that if you forget it, you have to contact Customer Service
- You will be able to set “parental controls” for the web, the Kindle store, and/or the Cloud
- You can manually set the time, even on a 3G Paperwhite
- Formats: “You can send Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX), PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC, and MOBI files to your Kindle and read them in Kindle format. You can add notes, highlights, and bookmarks, which are synchronized across devices along with the last page you read via our Whispersync technology. Synchronization of notes, highlights, bookmarks, and last page read is available only for personal documents archived in Kindle format. You can also read documents in PDF and TXT format natively.” That looks like no MOBI without conversion, but we’ll need to test that
- Twitter and Facebook integration is available
- You can pinch and spread on websites
- Article viewing mode is available
- Downloading files from websites has a different list of formats than the above: “Supported file types for download include Kindle content (.AZW, .AZW1, AZW2, and AZW3), unprotected Mobipocket books (.MOBI, .PRC), and text files (.TXT).”
- They give you instructions for drying out a Kindle, and talk about repetitive stress injuries
- I love this line: “If you are in an area where using your Kindle while operating a vehicle is allowed, always give full attention to the operation of the vehicle and stop using your Kindle if it becomes a distraction.”
- There is a statement about conformity with Canadian regulations
- Memory: “Storage — 2GB internal storage, with approximately 1GB available to the user”
This table on warrantys suggests that you may be able to purchase it in China and Japan:
If you purchased your Device: This Warranty is provided by:
From Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de,
Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, Amazon.es,
or from authorized resellers located
Amazon EU S.à.r.l., 5 rue Plaetis, L-2338,
From Amazon.ca Amazon.com.ca, Inc., 410 Terry Ave. North,
Seattle, WA 98109-5210, United States
From authorized resellers located
Amazon Seller Services Private Limited, having
a registered address of 201, Midford House, Off
M.G.Road, Bangalore 560 001, India
From Amazon.co.jp or from
authorized resellers located in Japan
Amazon.com International Sales, Inc., 410 Terry Ave.
North, Seattle, WA 98109-5210, United States
From Amazon.cn or from authorized
resellers located in the People’s
Republic of China
Amazon Joyo Co. Ltd., 26F, Bldg A, Ocean
International Center, No. 56 East 4th Ring Road,
Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
From any other Amazon website or
from authorized resellers located in
Amazon Fulfillment Services, Inc., 410 Terry Ave.
North, Seattle, WA 98109-5210, United States
Again, any of this could change, but it was an interesting read…but technical manuals always are, right?
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.