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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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