Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kindle News: Kindle Touch E-Reader update v5.3.7 is available to replace v5.3.2.1. Added info on Kindle for iOS update v3.9: -NOT- recommended currently. Some info on a coming Kindle Fire software update. UPDATE2

Kindle Touch Software Upgrade to v5.3.7. has been made available.

These are improvements they recently gave the Kindle Paperwhite model.  Excellent to see continued support for the older models.

  At the software update page, US  (UK page here), they explain:

  "This update automatically downloads and installs on your Kindle Touch when connected wirelessly; however, you can also manually download the software and transfer the update to your device via USB cable.

  The software update includes general improvements and the following feature enhancements:"
' Improvements when buying from a book sample
While reading a sample of a book, you can view the price of the full book and purchase from the reading toolbar with one tap.

View full definition when looking up a word
When you look up a word in the dictionary, you can now view the full definition in the definition window.

Search enhancements
You can easily search for a highlighted word or phrase in your book, your items, or in the Kindle Store.  Highlight the word or phrase, tap More, and then tap Search. '

  If you have a version prior to 5.3.2 and you don't want to wait for the update to arrive on your Kindle Touch and prefer to do it manually yourself, Amazon links you to the appropriate earlier update that must be downloaded and installed before doing the update.

How to determine your software version

  1. From Home, tap Menu and then tap Settings.
  3. On the Settings screen, tap Menu (the Amazon update page omits a step here) and THEN select Device Info. Your software version is listed under Firmware Version.
The Kindle Touch Software update page ( US here,  UK here ) leads you through what to do, depending on which Firmware Version is showing for your KTouch.

Again, Amazon will be delivering this update over Wi-Fi.  Customers who prefer to receive the update immediately can instead manually download the software and transfer the update to the device via USB cable.
  The software-update page for Kindle Touch:   US     UK

Kindle for iOS update - *NOT* recommended for download at this time.
Linked forum message thread shows *too many* problems, causing slowdowns and freezes.
  Thanks to contributor Tom Semple again for the alerts a couple of days ago on the new Kindle for iOS update v3.9 availability and some positive info on the dictionary feature and reflowing of book content.

  This one is most noted in press reports for the new ability -- while using this app for iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch -- to search for free Kindle book samples and access a link in the downloaded sample for the Amazon product page for that book while still in the app, without having to get out to Safari -- not officially mentioned).  You can email yourself that link.

  In connection with that idea, MyKindlestuff's Jesslynn alerts us to the US Department of Justice's recommendation to Judge Denise Cote that Apple allow direct links within e-reader apps to the app-vendors' stores.

  Believe it or not, I don't necessarily agree Apple should be forced to allow this, but I also feel that they should not take 100% (!) of the app-maker's commission either, as had been their policy of taking 30% of an E-book's selling-price (not vendor's profit amount) for in-app store-links under Apple's Agency model (no longer in play for ebooks though, for a couple of years, after Apple lost the lawsuit), which would be the entire Amazon or Barnes and Noble commission on an e-book.

  Update2 - See my additional thoughts on this in-app fee, in response to a question from a commenter on this blog article.

Tom also mentions the not-listed feature of "some level of KF8 reflowable support" in v3.9, and he discovered that it was also there in the Kindle for iOS v3.8.1 app, crediting Nate Hoffelder in his TheDigitalReader article on the new v3.9 update.

Here are the official features as announced in the Amazon Kindle forum by Kevin G, the Community Manager there.
' What's New in Version 3.9?
* Kindle Free Sample Search - From the existing Library Search, customers can now search Amazon's catalog of millions of Kindle books and download free samples from within the app. New books are easier than ever to find.
* Bring Your Own Dictionary - Customers can now use previously purchased Dictionaries, such as medical, legal, or other translation references to define words in any of their other eBooks. Dictionaries downloaded to the device automatically appear in the selection list. [ ab here: This is GREAT! ]
* Accessibility Quick Reference - Accessibility gestures for blind and visually impaired customers are included for quick reference and can be found under the FAQ section in settings. The guide has been translated for all supported languages.
* Instant Cover Loader - Book cover art displays quicker and more fluidly.
* Bug Fixes/Stability Improvements

If you need assistance with this update, head over to the Kindle Help Community. '

Do take a look at that announcement message thread, as it has a LOT of customer feedback on this update along with help given there.
  However, there are too many bugs affecting this one.  I'd avoid downloading this one if possible.  Messages in that forum thread advise on how you may be able to turn OFF 'automatic updates.'
  ;There'll almost certainly be a follow-up software update soon to address these apparent memory problems.  It may affect, more, users with many books in their Library, but it's hard to tell right now.  There are indications not enough memory is released after the first Search even if it works.  The number of results and the fact that the software acknowledges each individual letter input before a word or phrase is completed are other possible factors.

Kindle Fire software update that's due soon
With reference to the follow-up article with workarounds for an over-the-air software update version [x]4.5 sent to a few customers but not placed on the servers for manual installation, the glitches reported with Flash video when using web browsers like Dolphin browser have been fixed, as shown by an unofficial interim update [x]4.6 which has been, in effect, sent to those who got the wirelessly-sent update (limited distribution to a few) but reported glitches, and there's general rejoicing involved.

This means it's likely due soon on the servers.  It is said to work also with the Time to Read bugginess some were experiencing.  Kudos to Amazon Kindle Team for working with the customers this way.

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. So do you think Microsoft should get a piece of everything you buy online because it made your computer?

    1. Well, as regular readers know, I'm not an Apple company over-enthusiast, and my thinking on Apple pricing, their Agency model as setup, and their various $-grabs for 100% commissions on e-reader apps from Day 1 in this battle is seen in the E-book Pricing Wars blog entries.

      To your specific point though, Microsoft didn't make my computer.

      HP made my laptop and I have a computer clone for a desktop made from various parts.
      The operating system is made by Microsoft though.

      Apple does make their final product that is a complete hardware-software system -- the physical device, the operating system on it, and their closed, super-walled system, which allows only curated apps to make it through and with no 'side-loading' possible of anything not-approved by them.

      The Amazon and B&N Apps can get onto it to expose their own products -- and Apple benefits from that to a degree they won't admit because their crowd will boast that THEIR product-choice can read any e-book vendor's books and they don't care that their iBooks cannot be read on ANY non-Apple system.

      Amazon and B&N benefit, though, from the exposure to the audience that buys hundreds of millions of Apple devices.

      What Amazon, B&N, Sony, Kobe can't do, Apple declares, is put into these apps for Apple devices a direct-link to their own stores' specific e-book product of interest to make a direct-purchase while in the Apple app -- without paying Apple a commission to use their locked-up totally-Apple device.

      Worse, the commission 'due' isn't 30% of the bookreader-vendor's profit but the entire profit of 30% that the book-vendor -would- make with the Agency Model. This is of course ridiculous.

      Whether Apple 'should' make any money due to a book-purchase done elsewhere within an online-Apple-app they've 'approved' for their "total-solution" gizmo when they have their own Apple bookstore is the question.

      Would Amazon or Barnes and Noble allow an Apple app on their own devices that would have direct links to buy the same book at Apple?

      Neither Amazon nor Barnes and Noble is super open that way - and B&N made a deal with Google out of weakness - they couldn't make money from their own tablet and ecosystem efforts.

      I don't know. I said I didn't "necessarily" agree with the DOJ's recommendation. But I do think Apple should pay to get the benefit of the Kindle books being made readable on their devices, so if there is any money to be made, it's not going to be any 100% of profit as they insist nor even 30%.

      It depends on what vendors decide is worth it to them. And all of these companies have a stake in where people buy their e-books.

      If Judge Cote decides Apple should allow, for however many years, direct-links to e-book purchases in other stores within apps on their devices as part of the penalty for the tumult that Apple caused since Feb. 2010, I have no problem with that reasoning.

      What they tried to pull in the trial with the Judge won't predispose her to super kindness. And her Final Decision spells out what she thinks of all this.


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