Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kindle News: Kindle Paperwhite Software Update v5.3.0 - Includes Opt out of Recommended Content plus access to Settings from a Book Menu. The Kindle in China soon? Paperwhite in Japan price-matched to Kobo.

Kindle Paperwhite Software Upgrade to v5.3.0 - Several requested changes

I had one wish for the Paperwhite (UK: here) the last couple of weeks, and that was that this e-reader would get the opt-out of Recommended Content that the Kindle Fire HD 7" received.
  And the opt-out is here!

  On the cover-style home page, the recommendations took 50% of the books showing (3 each) and I just did not want to see covers for genres I never choose to read.

  I realize B&N has done this for well over a year with no complaints by tech reviewers or customers (while B&N claims they have no ads).  Still it's bad enough to see listed a book I've never requested, but having to see full images of them on my Home page has been ultra annoying to me.  So I'm very happy about this.

  ODDLY, on the Kindle Fire HD, the recommendations are based on a book we've bought that is showing in the center of our Carousels, and I plan to opt-IN from time to time when I want to see these because it has actually shown me books that are of interest to me.  (Also, we can use the Kindle Fire HD in Landscape mode and avoid the Recommended Content anyway.)

From the Amazon US and UK update pages
"We have a new, free software update available for the Kindle Paperwhite that you can download. The software update will also be delivered automatically via Wi-Fi to your Kindle Paperwhite." [Emphasese mine.]

New features in this update include

  • Improved Fonts: We have made changes to Palatino, Baskerville, and Futura fonts to make them look even better on Kindle Paperwhite.  You will notice this when reading books, as well as in menus.
      We’ve also improved the Japanese and Chinese fonts on your Kindle and tuned spacing to provide a better reading experience.
  • Turn off Recommended Content in Home: You can now turn on or off recommended content from the Kindle Store on the Home screen.
  • Smoother sample-to-book experience: When you buy the book after reading the sample, we will now automatically start the book at your last reading location in the sample and remove the sample from your Kindle.
  • Easier access to Settings: When reading a book, you can now access Settings directly from the menu. [YES!]
  • Improved Manga: We’ve added a new Fit-to-Screen Mode that improves the readability of Manga and maximizes the use of your Kindle screen. [Yes]
  • Page Refresh in Comics and Manga: You can now specify a page refresh setting for comic books and manga independent of the refresh setting for books.

Keep your Kindle connected to a Wi-Fi network to make sure you receive all future software updates. We hope you enjoy the improvements we made.

Note that keeping your Kindle connected to a Wi-Fi network will drain your battery faster.  So, once you've got the update "over the air," put the Paperwhite back to "Airplane Mode ON" - which turns Wireless Off...

  Re the changes it's clear they've been listening to feedback from customers.  Good to see the changes come this quickly.

DOWNLOADING and transferring the Update via USB if you'd rather not wait
US: Go to the Kindle Paperwhite Software Update v5.3.0 download section to get the instructions for the download and transfer to your Kindle via USB:
UK: Go to the same for the UK-only page

The Kindle in China soon?
TheNext Web sees evidence for it, including the Chinese fonts and the tuned spacing for them included with this update.  They point us to a Google translation of a Chinese TechWeb page for more info.

The Kindle in Japan
Amazon launched the Kindle in Japan earlier and will ship the first ones this month and now has dropped the price for that launch, Computerworld's Jay Alabaster reports.  The price in Japan will be $100 to match the "Kobo glo" pricing by Rakuten, an online retailer there.

  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

The Kindle Daily Deal

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

Highly-rated under $1
,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
   Top 100 free

Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

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  1. Any word on whether Amazon plans to restore the next chapter/last chapter function that the Kindle Touch has available on the up and down page swipe? I miss it with the Paperwhite!

  2. Wish I did, Carmen. I wonder what makes it apparently more difficult for this model. Did you let know? When enough people request things, it seems to help put added focus on them.

    1. The leading theory seems to be that they removed it because too many people complained when they accidentally invoked the chapter navigation gesture when trying to turn the page. Len Edgerly I think mentioned his wife was one of those folks who found it 'surprising' or off-putting in terms of using the touch interface. (With Periodicals the gesture still is available to jump to next/previous article.)

      Personally I think they have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. By all means turn it off by default, but let people switch it back on in reading preferences. And I can think of several other touch gestures that would be useful (e.g. adjusting screen brightness without menu, quick bookmark navigation, etc.). I did send a note to kindle-feedback about this long before the update.

      Mantano Reader, my favorite reading app on Android, has user-configurable gestures: swipe left/right/up/down, tap left/right/top/bottom/center, and has a 'brightness' gesture. There are a couple of dozen functions you can assign.

    2. Tom, agree w/ everything you point out. I do enjoy the swipe down/up for my periodicals and glad they kept them there but do miss them in books though I saw evidence that many were perplexed by suddenly winding up somewhere else without warning or explanation. Your recommendation would work.

      Mantano's Brightness thing is a bit like KFire's top bar accessibility of brightness and my Samsung's quick-settings one for brightness.

      With the Paperwhite I tend to keep brightness at 14 or 15 for both day or night so I don't touch it much anymore.

  3. Before this update, it was apparently possible to hide the recommendations by using parental controls (or switching to list view) but a more direct solution is still nice.

    I personally don't mind the recommendations, partly because they're only shown on the first page, and partly because I found a book or two of interest.

  4. MikeTeeVee, thanks for your own experience. Yes. I did switch to List View but I enjoy the covers (for the ones I bought).

    For the Kindle Fire HD, recommendations for me were/are apropos and specifically geared to one book (centered in my carousel) that I bought.
    Those do tend to be interesting to me.

    For some reason, the Paperwhite ones were in genres I'd never bought in (knowingly) and I even had lots of recommendations for children's books and I've maybe taken one, ever, free, so I could describe it in the blog.

    Great to have the option, for sure.

    Re Special offers, I actually enjoy those (so far).

  5. how do you turn off the recommended content?

    1. Duck,
      Press Menu and choose:
      1. Settings
      2. Choose Device Options
      3. Personalize your Kindle
      4. Recommended Content

      By default, it's On, so you can just tap it to turn it Off...


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