Updates bring new features to some Kindle EBRs
Amazon had told us they were coming, and in this
they announce that new features are available for the current Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers…non-Fires).
They will come automatically over-the-air, or you can get them by going to
If you do it manually, be careful to pick the update for the right model of Kindle.
Here are the specific models they have announced have the new updates. This doesn’t mean that older models absolutely won’t get them, although that is possible.
- Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (version 5.6.1)
- The entry level model, the one I call the “Mindle Touch” (at AmazonSmile*) (again, version 5.6.1)
- Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile*) (hm…again, it’s version 5.6.1…interesting that they are standardizing)
What are these new features?
- Word Wise (at AmazonSmile*) (click links for screenshots): definitions of “difficult words” automatically appear above the words. You can then tap to see more information. You can control how many of these appear by using a slider. This may be particularly useful for children and for those learning English as a second language. It’s not going to be available on every book, but some popular books already have it. I’m sure you’ll be able to turn this off, in case you find it vexatious (annoying) ;)
- Family Library (at AmazonSmile*): this allows you to share books from one account with a set number of people from another account. This will also only be certain books. This is a huge change, and we’ll have to see how the implementation is
- Kindle FreeTime Unlimited: this is the subser (“subscription service”. You pay $2.99 a month, and your child gets access to curated content at no additional cost
- Expanded X-Ray for Books (at AmazonSmile*): X-Ray gives you information about the characters, terms, concepts and more in the book which you are reading. Now you’ll be able to browse the pictures in a book and the meaningful passages as well.
- Deeper Goodreads Integration (at AmazonSmile*): Amazon owns the immensely popular social reading site. Looking at this, it appears that this will have more of an impact when you are in the Goodreads app/function on your device than when you are reading a book. For example, it doesn’t appear to me that your reading status will automatically update as you read the book (I’d like to see that feature…with an ability to mask it, of course), but you will be able to buy books (not quite yet) directly from the Goodreads function
- Enhanced Search (at AmazonSmile*): when you search for something, you’ll get results from your library, from the Kindle Store, and from Goodreads
- About This Book (at AmazonSmile*): it’s unclear to me yet if this will work when you aren’t connected to wi-fi, but it definitely has some things people have talked about since the Kindle 1 in 2007. It will give you series information, author information (and in the screenshot, it shows a way to sign up to be notified when new books by that author are released), “mentioned in this book” (that looks like other books), and contrary to what I said above :) gives you a way to at least update Goodreads with the fact that you are currently reading it
I’ll install this on our Paperwhite 2 and test it out.
One interesting note: the links above for each of the features also include links to the Fires. That doesn’t necessarily mean that every Fire gets every one of these features, or even that any of them do…they may just link to all products on the “Press Resource” pages.
Note that this is Amazon, as they often do, giving us more at no additional cost…thanks, Amazon!
If you’ve checked these out or have questions about them, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this page. Which of these do you think you’ll use? What do you wish they had done which they didn’t (I figured I’d ask the question before people volunteered, as they always do ;) )?
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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.