Kindle Update, 3.1

Kindle 3 with 3.1 Software (New York Times Capture)

Ama­zon announced today an update for the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of the Kin­dle e-book reader, com­monly called Kin­dle 3. Users can wait for their Kin­dle 3 or Kin­dle DX devices to auto­mat­i­cally be updated, or they can down­load the soft­ware and install it them­selves at:

Kin­dle Soft­ware Update Ver­sion 3.1 — Early Pre­view Release

Accord­ing to Ama­zon, the update pro­vides the fol­low­ing benefits:

  • Pub­lic Notes — In the inter­est of help­ing peo­ple become “social” about their read­ing, Ama­zon will allow peo­ple to share their notes and high­lights with other read­ers. In addi­tion to pub­lic shar­ing, there will also be pri­vate shar­ing, allow­ing book clubs or stu­dents to share their notes only with spe­cific people.
  • Real Page Num­bers — This has been requested from the begin­ning. In order to allow for what is called “re-flowable” con­tent, Ama­zon, and most other man­u­fac­tur­ers of e-readers, pro­vide loca­tions in an inter­nal scheme that doesn’t mean any­thing to users, and makes it dif­fi­cult for peo­ple using a Kin­dle to have close-text dis­cus­sions with oth­ers, say class­mates, read­ing the same book on paper. The Kin­dle page num­bers will be based on one spe­cific printed edition.
  • Before You Go — At the com­ple­tion of  a book, read­ers will be invited to rate it or to com­ment in a more detailed way.
  • New News­pa­per and Mag­a­zine Lay­out — Designed to give users a quicker overview of the con­tent, and eas­ier nav­i­ga­tion to it.

These changes will be ported to other Kin­dle software-based read­ers, such as Kin­dle for Mac and Kin­dle for Android. I could not get any of the books I have pur­chased before to dis­play pages, even after down­load­ing them again. The new for­mat for news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines is a big improvement.

Geneal­o­gists should know that the newer ver­sions of the Kin­dle (the Kin­dle 3 and the Kin­dle DX) can read any PDF natively. I find it handy to bring along dozens of PDF books with me every­where I go, in a portable, quick start­ing, low power device that can go weeks with­out a charge. I am also enjoy­ing Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: A Nar­ra­tive as an audio book from Audi­ble (a sub­sidiary of Ama­zon), which I also have on my Kindle.

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