Big new update coming to current Kindle EBRs in February
Amazon sent me an e-mail yesterday announcing a major update for the current Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers), and I appreciate that reader Jay Howard gave me a heads-up as well! Letting me know about stories, especially linking to them, is always welcome, even if I’m already aware of it. It helps me judge interest, and sometimes links me to a different perspective on it.
You can see the high-level announced features here:
This is a major redesign to the User Interface (UI)…one of the biggest changes we’ve had.
Since the first Kindle in 2007, the homepage has looked pretty much the same…a listing of books (and some other items, like blogs, newspapers, and while they were around, active content games and apps). We did get the ability to display them with thumbnails (small pictures) of the covers, but the only other big change really was the presence of ads if you bought one of the more popular ad-supported models.
This changes that.
You get a look that’s more like a tablet, with different sections.
This is customizable, but you might have one section with the covers of a few recent books, another section with your lists (Amazon Wish Lists, samples you’ve downloaded, your Goodreads “Want to read” list), another one with recommendations…it looks pretty configurable.
Now, it’s worth noting that all three of those “Reading Lists” can really be more “Shopping Lists”. They can be used for different purposes, but most people use Amazon Wish Lists for things they would like to get, at least hypothetically (that’s why they are called “wish” lists). A sample is intended to help you make up your mind about whether you want to buy a book or not. You might have a lot of Goodreads shelves, but it’s the one that is aspirational that it says it will list.
That’s fine with me, and not a surprise…we’ll see how configurable it all is, but it looks like the main point is to make it easier for you to get another book from Amazon.
In fact, almost all of the features on this page can have a positive impact on sales.
They talk about a recommendation engine (you say what you like, it recommends books for you).
That helps inform what happens at the bottom of your screen, but they want to use a number of approaches. The page says, “…show you personalized book recommendations, books your Goodreads friends are reading, best-selling titles, and more.”
Don’t worry, it’s not all about you buying books…it’s about you selling them, too. ;)
How do you sell books for Amazon?
You do it by sharing the information about them with other people…and they are making that quite easy. Right from the book, you’ll be able to share a quotation to Goodreads, Twitter, or Facebook, and Amazon will link a preview of the book, which can be used in a browser. The preview will, I’m sure, have a link to buy the book.
They are also simplifying the settings: Airplane mode, for example, will be available with one toolbar tap.
Now, lest this post sound cynical, I think people will like the update. It will make things more visually interesting, more controllable, and I think we readers will find it to be simpler.
Remember also that we want Amazon to sell books! We want them to make money…that encourages them to continue to support EBRs, and to do new development. We also don’t want Amazon to go out of business…ever. :) That would be a serious problem for our Kindle libraries.
The update will happen over the air during February for your device.
Update: if you’d prefer to download it yourself (so you don’t have to wait), you can do so here:
I think Amazon’s instructions are pretty good on this one.
This update is coming to the current Kindles:
- Kindle, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
- All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*) (and the earlier Paperwhite, but not the first generation)
- Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
I don’t think this homescreen redesign will come to the earlier generations, although that doesn’t mean they won’t ever get another update.
I might have written about this yesterday, but I was being recorded by Len Edgerly for Friday’s
and that took up what would otherwise have been writing time, perhaps. :)
It was a great experience, and I look forward to hearing the finished show! A question from one of my readers was included by Len, which I appreciated!
So, what do you think about the upgrade? Is it exciting to see Amazon updating the EBRs? Do you worry that they’ll eventually drop them in favor of backlit devices…or will there be, perhaps, a technological merging of the two? Do these features look exciting to you, or do you question whether it helps Amazon more than it helps you? When you buy an EBR, do you accept that it won’t always have all of the cutting edge features? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
Updated update on the update: I updated! ;) I left my Paperwhite on wi-fi all day today, came home, and it had updated. I also left it plugged in, by the way. Over the next couple of days I’ll go through it thoroughly. I plan to produce a “menu map” before Sunday. In the mean time, I really appreciate the comments my readers are making to this post, giving their first impressions. Thanks, readers!
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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.