Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kindle software v3.1 Preview Ready - PAGE numbers! Other Features also. UPDATE


Golf11 (Randall), who stays on top of everything, alerted me earlier today (while I was engrossed in the New Yorker story on Scientology) to the MSNBC article on Kindle's new software available for preview already, which will "grant books with 'real' page numbers, corresponding with pages of popular print editions." Kindle books, of course :-)

MSNBC's senior writer Wilson Rothman writes:
' Amazon says they've already started adding the page numbers to the most popular books, assuming they have "matching print editions."

  It's probably easier for new releases; don't expect all those cheap classic lit editions to get the same pagination any time soon (unless perhaps there's an Oprah recommendation or movie adaptation that propels it to the top of the bestseller list).
  People who use the popular iPad, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 Kindle apps will get access to the page numbers in "the coming months." '

The Version 3.1 preview page has Amazon's info on the new changes, which include -- in addition to the long-requested page numbers -- extended features for sharing annotations and a new layout for magazines and newspapers on the Kindle.  Click the last link for examples.

It's best to read the general v3.1 info first, but here's a direct link to the software preview-download.

' * Public Notes -- This feature lets Kindle users choose to make their book notes and highlights available for others to see.  Any Kindle user -- including authors, their fans, book reviewers, professors and passionate readers everywhere -- can opt-in to share their thoughts on book passages and ideas with friends, family members, colleagues, and the greater Kindle community of people who love to read... '
The private, password-protected Kindle Annotations Page which I wrote about earlier, with examples, has been expanded and has a somewhat different look.

  Our highlighting and notes made are all there but formatted somewhat differently, with more focus on the current book and a lot more options, including adding notes, editing and deleting, which I assume are then sync'd with the Kindle's annotations.
' * Real Page Numbers -- Our customers have told us they want real page numbers that match the page numbers in print books so they can easily reference and cite passages, and read alongside others in a book club or class.   We've already added real page numbers to tens of thousands of Kindle books, including the top 100 bestselling books in the Kindle Store that have matching print editions and thousands more of the most popular books.

  Page numbers will also be available on our free "Buy Once, Read Everywhere" Kindle apps in the coming months.  If a Kindle book includes page numbers, press the Menu key in an open Kindle book to display page numbers. '
  Here are are their examples of how Page Numbers will appear.
' * Before You Go ... -- When you reach the end of the book, you can immediately rate the book, share a message about the book with your social network, get personalized recommendations for what to read next, and see more books by the same author. '
That is of course an advantage for publishers, authors, and booksellers, but it's the type of social interaction that is very popular today.
' * New Newspaper and Magazine Layout -- We're introducing a new and improved layout for newspapers and magazines. This new layout gives you a quick snapshot of the news and helps you decide what you want to read first. '
As noted above, here are examples of the new layout, and it's definitely more intuitive than the previous columns of Sections alongside a 'NUMBER of articles' heading which acted as a link to the listing of articles, a function not obvious to many Kindle reviewers and owners.

All emphases above in the quotes are mine, of course.

The preview is only for Kindle 3 models.

  Kindle 3 owners (which I am) will be very happy about these changes.

But WHEN is the KINDLE DX GRAPHITE, which has the same display properties or capabilities as the Kindle 3's screen and which costs A LOT MORE going to include these important changes, especially for the academic world, in which PAGE NUMBERS and ANNOTATIONS are extremely important?

  Obviously, the 2nd question is when will the KINDLE DX Graphite get PDF CONTRAST ADJUSTMENTS? and the added PDF note-taking features given to Kindle 3 users.

Also, is Amazon thinking at all about the Kindle 2 and earlier-DX owners when it comes to these changes?
  Will Software v2.5.x for these earlier models GET any of these changes eventually?
  SOMETHING TO REMEMBER: Kindle 2's did receive native PDF support very late in the game, but they did eventually get a delayed update for that, although Amazon had been silent on the possibility, always, before finally just releasing the updated software for the Kindle 2 (many months after the initial DX received it).

Here is the announcement page for this software preview.

Forum message-thread loading problems (repeated, because it's still needed).
  NOTE: If your web browser (Firefox, IE, or Chrome) drops you onto the Amazon forum list of topics instead of bringing you to the forum thread, click on Refresh or Reload to get the message thread itself -- or click on the link again.  I don't know why a 'retry' is often needed, but it is.

The DX Graphite
The content covers only what is said on their official pages online, but I'm concerned that they seem to be limiting the models for which these features will be available. Most of all, the expensive DX Graphite, with Pearl Screen, really should be getting these new features if Amazon is interested in the Academic market.

  The lack of mention of the DXG (at $379) makes me wonder if they could be readying some newer version of the DXG (with WiFi?) AND/OR a much-mentioned Kindle Android Tablet (probably larger) sometime this year.   Mainly -- While I can see why the many changes cannot be made for the severely technically-restricted Kindle-1 display, it's harder to explain why they can't be made for a current DX model or even for the Kindle 2 models, which are still plentiful in the Kindle base of users.

There are already over 500 customer notes at the message thread for the announcement.  And these questions are often mentioned in the postings there.

  Kindle 2 users don't seem to care as much about the page-number changes or the annotations and periodical-layout ones, but those who have paid for the DX Graphite with the new screen are asking and have waited somewhat patiently for software version 2.5.x to be upgraded for some of the v3.x Pearl-screen features.

It seems most of the focus on Kindle programming gives first priority to the latest Kindle model and to all the apps which must sync on all the devices used, which makes sense but it would be better for them to communicate something is pending for other models where that makes sense.

UPDATE - Other information from Amazon noticed later:
' Kindle books that include page numbers will list "Page Numbers Source ISBN (the print book identification number)" for the matching print edition under "Product Details" on the detail page at Amazon.com...

Because Kindle books allow you to change font size and other features, you may be able to view more than one page on your screen at once.  Only the corresponding page number for the text displayed at the top left of the screen will be shown. '

  HOW do you get the updated page numbers for e-books you already own?
    (for e-books with page numbers added currently)

It occurred to me that you might have to go to your ManageYourKindle page and re-download those books.
  However, it seems all you have to do is, via the Menu button, turn your wireless ON (to make sure you can access the Amazon servers) and then click on "Check and Sync" to get your e-book features synchronized.

  The expanded Notes-Sharing feature
Actually, this feature may be quite useful for book clubs.

SIDE NOTE: I mentioned The New Yorker story, as I was fascinated by it when I got the Kindle real-page-numbers news.  I gave the web address for access to the story, but it's a magazine I do subscribe to in the Kindle Edition, as it's fully searchable, with excellent content, so it's one Kindle subscription I highly recommend.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. and 5 minutes after the update goes life people will start to complain that the page numbers don't match the print edition their reading group uses...

  2. I'm a little underwhelmed by the page number feature, myself, but I'm sure others will find it nice.

    Some sour grapes analysis: without even the Location numbers (which were starting to make sense after all these years), the reading progress bar is even more useless than ever (71% of what?) - they could have hidden the whole thing, for my dime, to make room for more text. I still have the issue of 'how much further to a stopping point?' and none of this really helps me figure that out.

    The chapter navigation marks (when present) are the only clue, but these are relative to the size of the book. I'd like to know how many page turns (or okay, 'physical pages') to the next chapter boundary. Several of the readers I use on iOS show this information, and it is helpful in managing my reading sessions.

    I do like the 'Before you go' page. Unobtrusive and gives a sense of completion.

    I've yet to check out Public Notes. Sounds interesting.

    Don't care about improved subscription layout much, as the only subscription I do is the free 'Amazon Daily', which is indeed much improved. I was using calibre 'fetch news' (and G:RSS-Web with the browser) for awhile, unhappily; finally found news- and blog-reading happiness with "Reeder" on my iPod Touch. I just can't afford to pay for stuff unless I have time to read it.

    Just checked to see if the improved layout applies to calibre-generated 'fetch news' items: IT DOES!!! That's great news for folks using it. Poor navigation was one of the reasons I got tired of using it.

  3. Update went well. A little scarey at the end - when it re-re-re-booted the last time, NO TITLES of books nor blogs showed up. Then the screen blinked, and up popped my two Collection folders. THEN it blinked a third time, and all was well. SO ... Just don't sit there and watch it when you upgrade - have a cup of tea or something, and come back 7 minutes later. -Clint Bradford

  4. I only want page numbers for the K2 so I can start using my kindle for college. Without page numbers I can't cite sources without going to the library, finding a print edition, finding every instance where I need to cite the book, noting all page numbers and then recording all of the bibliographic information from the book - might as well have just read the paper version to begin with!

    Oh, there's a guy on a forum (mobileread) who claims that Amazon told him they were going to release a "3.0" upgrade for the K2. He even provided a copy of the email for the skeptics ... for what it's worth (i still take this with a grain of salt).

  5. Adam,
    Do you have a URL or topic thread for that note on mobileread? I tend to believe it.

  6. Some maybe weird speculation. You think Amazon is going to be phasing out the DX line for something else? M-Edge no longer has any plans to make cases for the DX (this was confirmed today in emails I had with their customer service rep) and there's no software update for DX. Maybe M-Edge knows something we don't?


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