Amazon has released a software update for their current line of e-Ink Kindles.
The free update will be rolled out automatically in the coming weeks, and those who prefer to manually download the update can do that, as before.
At the left is a screenshot of the expanded X-Ray for Books feature.
I received confirmation that Amazon's "goal is to make this update available for the first gen Kindle Paperwhite" (Paperwhite 1) as well.
(Updates for older generation devices tend to follow a few months later.)
New features include [quoting their forum announcement and press release]:
· Word Wise—For readers learning English and children learning to read, Word Wise makes it easier to understand more challenging books more quickly. Short and simple definitions automatically appear above difficult words, so you can keep reading without having to stop and look up a word. To see the various meanings the same word can have in different contexts, just tap on the word to quickly bring up a card with definitions, synonyms, and more. You can adjust the number of definitions you see with a slider, dialing them up or down as you learn and grow your vocabulary. Word Wise is already available on thousands of titles, including The Hunger Games, The Giver, and Wonder. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/wordwise.
[A sample is show below.]· Family Library—For the first time, you can access not only your own Kindle books, but also books from the Amazon account of a spouse or partner. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/family-library.
· Kindle FreeTime Unlimited—For as little as $2.99 per month, kids get unlimited access to hundreds of hand-picked chapter books and early readers, all curated for age-appropriateness, so parents don’t have to spend time and money guessing what their kids will enjoy. Includes favorites such as the Harry Potter series, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, Big Nate and Friends by Lincoln Peirce, and Newberry Medal and Honor winning books such as The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, and Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.
· Expanded X-Ray for Books—X-Ray now makes it easier to explore as you read—quickly flip through all the images in a book, and use the new timeline view to easily browse the most notable passages. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/x-ray-for-books [and above].
· Deeper Goodreads Integration—Goodreads on Kindle now allows you to easily share your reading progress updates, add books from your Kindle library to your Goodreads shelves, and see your friends’ updates, ratings and reviews when looking at a book on Goodreads. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/goodreads-integration.· Enhanced Search—Makes it even easier to find what you are looking for by combining and previewing results from your Library, Goodreads and the Kindle Store on the same page. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/kindle-search.· About This Book—See information about the book as you start to read, including its place in a series and author information, plus mark it as “Currently Reading” on Goodreads. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/about-the-book.
This is a screenshot of Wordwise
To Manually download updates if not wanting to wait for automated over-the-air updates:
Here is the umbrella Kindle Software Updates page that covers ALL current Kindle devices (U.S.)
Here's the equivalent UK page for Kindle software updates.
Again, the free update will be rolled out automatically in the coming weeks.
New Kindle Software Update Version (The version no. will be the same for the UK models)
All 3 models are getting the v5.6.1 software update.
Kindle Basic (7th Gen):
NOTE: I've made a specific page link here, because Amazon's software updates page isn't clear in the left column about which "Kindle software update" is for the current basic Kindle (Gen 7). The other models are clearly shown at the left of the umbrella page for updates.
If you scroll down the general updates page, viewing the images of the models in the body of the page, it's easier to see which device-link to click for your software update file.
Remember, the update is *automatically* sent to Kindles over an interval of a few weeks and it will be easier for most to wait and get it that way, fully automated.
HOW to do a manual USB transfer and install of a Kindle software update
Here's Amazon's general page of instructions for USB transfer and installation of updates to a Kindle device.
Each update page for a specific device has a Determine Your Software Version link that needs to be used before trying to transfer a file for installation
Tips and Reminders
How does Family Library work?
Amazon has a very clear write-up on this book-sharing feature. It starts:
' Use Family Library to share content between two adults in your household.
Family Library lets you link your Amazon account to that of another adult in your household so you can easily share Kindle books across your Amazon devices and Kindle reading apps. Each adult chooses what they want to share: they can share all of their Kindle books, or, they can choose to only share individual titles.
Once you’ve set up Family Library, shared content will appear in the Cloud tab of each of your supported devices, which you can filter (for example, See My Books, See My Partner's Books, See All Books, etc.). When accessing shared content, each adult has their own settings for that content, such as furthest page read, notes and annotations, and more. '
See the About Family Library help page for much more detail.
A Reminder about how syncing of your reading between devices and apps is done
In order for this to work reliably, the changes to your last page read and any new annotations done (highlighting, notes and bookmarks) must be 'seen' by the servers at Amazon -- this means that your WiFi or 3G wireless connection would need to be 'on' at the time you close the book by tapping the Home icon.
Once the Amazon servers note the changes, they'll be available to the next Kindle-compatible reader or app you open (with Wireless on that device turned On also).
You can turn 'off' the WiFi or 3G Wireless connection after leaving the Kindle book reading, which will help maximize battery use on that device.)
When an eInk screen is displaying a page but there is no change to that screen, the display is having no effect on the battery.
When you change what's being displayed (changing or adding anything on the page, as in tapping it on the side to get a new page or when an action brings a pop-up window or dialog box), the display IS using the battery. That's why just pressing the power button for only ~1 second puts the Kindle to 'sleep' during which it displays an image, which doesn't use the battery, but the Paperwhite light turns off.
Leaving it in this sleep state doesn't draw battery power as a result of the image display itself. If, however, WiFi is On during Sleep state, any activity with subscription downloads or a Special Offers download -will- use battery power.
There is always very slow battery drain in between charges even when a device is turned off.
So, the "Screen Off" is a relatively new choice on mine. This just blanks the screen and puts it into sleep state. SOME have requested a blank screen so they know it's "Off" but, in this case, it's only that there's no image seen - not even Amazon's default images during normal sleep-screens.
Mentioned previously also:
"Restart" acts more like a soft-reboot on a computer and clears up memory states that may be causing problems.
(Using the Paperwhite as an example)
There is no option on my Paperwhite to completely Power Off or Shut down the Kindle. My options are to (1) Cancel a longer key-press action, (2) Restart the Paperwhite (mine is a Paperwhite 1), or (3) choose "Screen Off." On other devices, some will see an option to "Power Off" or "Shut Down" the Kindle.
Also, holding in the power button for over 20 seconds (rather than 5 seconds) does still cause a Restart (and a clearing of current memory use), as in the past.
IF you experience unusual battery drain
Note that keeping your Kindle always connected to a Wi-Fi network can drain the battery faster under certain circumstances. If you're experiencing that, then once you've got the update "over the air," put the Paperwhite back to "Airplane Mode ON" via the 'Settings' option on the Menu -- the option lets you toggle Wireless OFF, using the "Airplane On" choice.
Amazon's Paperwhite development team hasn't returned the Wireless Off/On choice to the front menu as they did one year for the Kindle Touch when they removed the 'airplane mode' icon that confuses many. It's inconvenient to have the WiFi On/Off setting on a secondary menu and many, as a result, don't even know that they can actually turn WiFi Off if needed to conserve battery power.
Amazon may prefer that we keep Wireless 'On' due to delivery of Special Offers but a battery-drain problem can occur when circumstances involve (1) subscriptions that are downloaded regularly (my New York Times Latest News subscription updates the Kindle edition about five times a day - $1.99/month)) or (2) due to a weaker connection that results from the distance from the WiFi router, in which case the device keeps trying to connect when a download is due (and that can be for the special offers that Amazon regularly needs to send for those who choose to opt for the less-expensive model with the special-offers feature) and is then often active.
On the other hand as mentioned earlier, WiFi needs to be 'On' after you've read a book and made annotations for a session AND when you then want to be able to continue reading later, on another device (like a smartphone), starting at where you'd stopped.
If WiFi isn't turned on, the Amazon servers won't have any way of knowing the last-page-read location nor any notes or highlighting you've made, which you'd want to be able to access on the other device. So, a reminder on my usual recommendation:
1. When you're finished reading, tap the top-toolbar and press the HOME icon.
On most e-Ink devices, this will 'close' the book session and record the last page read and log the annotations.
2. Tap the top of the eReader to bring up the toolbar and menu icon.
3. If you see an airplane icon at the top, your WiFi is Off (and you're in "airplane" take-off mode).
4. Tap 'Settings'
5. Turn Airplane Mode OFF, and that'll turn WiFi ON.
6. At that point, the Kindle will try to sync your changes to the Server and will download anything that is pending (a subscription to a newspaper, magazine, or blog, usually).
7. After that's done, you can go ahead and leave WiFi ON if you have no problems with faster battery drain
OR you can turn OFF the WiFi if you need to save battery power.
Again, and only if you'd rather not wait -- DOWNLOADING and transferring the Update via USB
US: Go to the Kindle Software Update page (or to the UK page to get the instructions for the download for your specific Kindle eReader and to transfer the appropriate update file to your Kindle via USB:
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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