Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kindle for iOS - Update v4.2 and reactions to it. Other Kindle-apps available. Personal Documents feature gets updates and enhancements

Initial post: Apr 23, 2014 9:24:04 AM PDT
We're excited to announce an update for the Kindle for iOS reading app available in the Apple App Store.

What's new in version 4.2?

Table of Contents: Customers can now access their table of contents from the left panel navigation menu from within most books and see chapter headings and page numbers. Curious readers can tap a chapter to navigate directly to that part of the book.

X-Ray Smart Look-Up: Look up Amazon exclusive X-Ray information without ever leaving the page.  Select a word or name and learn more about the concept, person, or place in the Info Card provided at the bottom of the page.

So far, people do like the new Table of Contents and X-Ray features, and it was also pointed out by Ed at the Kindle Community Forums that "Previously page animations had to be off in order to get 'time left in chapter'.  Now it can be turned on and all works fine. Nice!"

Another Kindle iOS app user who was wondering why he can't copy highlighted text was reminded of something that most I've talked with do not realize -- that we all have our own Amazon Annotations Web Page (if we allow Amazon to back up our highlights and notes), at -- I've described the amazing features (including reading and copying highlights and notes from our Kindle books) in the blog article about our own annotation webpages at Amazon.

Kindle app for OTHER phones and tablets
For those who read Kindle books on other phones and tablets, here's the general Amazon Kindle apps page to get to descriptions for those.

Personal Documents - Updates and Enhancements
Also, recently Amazon updated the Personal Documents feature (Kindle-device owners get 5 gigs free, for personal documents that are sent to our free Amazon server Personal Documents space, and these include non-rights-protected books, articles, and documents.  These will now be placed in the general "Cloud" drive along with other files for which we get additional free space.

  All Amazon customers worldwide also get 5 free gigs for other types of data such as photos, even video (but those can take a lot of space) and music not bought at Amazon.  Here's Amazon's forum announcement on that (emphases mine):
Initial post: Apr 15, 2014 4:51:55 PM PDT
Megan H. - Forum Moderator says:
We are excited to announce an improvement to the personal document experience on Kindle!

Personal documents are now in Amazon Cloud Drive: Starting today, all personal documents that you have archived in your Kindle Library will be available to access, delete, organize, and share from your Amazon Cloud Drive.  You can see these documents in a new "My Send-to-Kindle Docs" folder on Amazon Cloud Drive alongside all of your saved content, such as photos and personal videos.

There is no action required on your part.  Your personal documents features will continue to work just as they have in the past.  And as always, you can use Manage Your Devices and Content (formerly Manage Your Kindle) to see a list of your documents, re-deliver them to Kindle devices and free reading apps, delete them, or turn off auto-saving of documents to the cloud.  Documents will be delivered just as they have in the past and you will continue to have 5 GB of free cloud storage for your personal documents. Just "Send Once, Read Everywhere."

Documents saved in their native format: Also starting today, new documents that you save to the cloud with Send to Kindle will be kept in their native format (e.g. MS Word, RTF, TXT) so you can access them anywhere from Amazon Cloud Drive.

To learn more about sending documents, news, blogs, and other web articles to your Kindle, please visit

To learn more about Amazon Cloud Drive features and apps, please visit

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  1. I do like the TOC (NCX) navigator, which was a long time coming. But it is baffling how they failed to carry forward refinements found in Kindle Touch/PW and Fire (and most ePub reading apps), where this a visual difference indicating the current chapter/reading position (bold text on the former, different color and info about current position on the latter). Without this 'you are here' indicator, it makes the 'map' less useful, particularly when chapters just have numeric titles. The same deficiency applies to the Android app, which got the navigator several weeks ago.

    The new feature is welcome for several reasons: 1) the combined storage is the same, but unpartitioned storage is more flexible, and 2) you can share your documents and can download them (before it was like roach motel, you could not download from MYK or share. I plan to do more experimentation but I was hoping you could upload to cloud and have things show up in MYK (for download to Kindle). But that is not the case: if you want your Kindle to see it, you have to 'send to kindle'. I'm also not even sure deleting from cloud is equivalent to deleting from MYK. I think it is only a one way thing (send to kindle -> MYK -> cloud). But I need to do some tests. Surprising there isn't more interest or discovery reported at mobileread.

    1. Well, Tom, it's good to see anything you find. I don't have an iOS device (though I have a 60gig iPod dinosaur that is audio only but I sure enjoyed it at one time). That's so odd about there being no 'you are here' type of indicator ! And yet I didn't notice that lack on my Android devices with the same lack, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or my Samsung Galaxy S2. (I'm now on Windows phone, if you can believe it -- because the Nokia lumia 1020 has such a great camera but it is soooo behind in apps, and the Kindle app seems barebones on that).

      Being able to share and download docs from the Cloud is a real plus. In my case, the only way I've sent docs to the Cloud has been via the email for a specific Kindle or Kindle-compatible device (or using But then I can see it, via the web, from my Kindle tablets if I use the URL for personal docs area. I've deleted and downloaded files that way but I remember having to have Adobe Flash at one point to do that, oddly enough, way back with the original Kindle Fire, if you can believe it (when people reported being unable to work on files in the Cloud that way).. Have not tried it recently.

      Photos can be backed up to the Cloud easily now via the features specifically for that, and I can view them from my other tablet devices -- am always surprised how fast the display is that way.

      Have never looked for personal docs on the 'Cloud' with the Paperwhite, expecting to see those only if I send one to the specific device -- but that's because I mostly use the HDX 8.9" now and am not exploring much..

      Looking forward to what you do find as you look further. Thanks for your input.

    2. One other thought, Tom. Maybe not offering the place-alignment in the new left-panel TOC's in apps for competing device (Amazon surely is coming out with its own phone at some point) has to do with
      . a special or convenient feature available only on its own devices, for competitive reasons
      . maybe keeping track and aligning positions makes app code fatter and action a bit more sluggish,

      It makes some sense that best features are programmed by them mainly for their own devices while allowing their books to be at least readable with -some- convenient features on almost anyone's preferred devices, but that's only my speculation.

      We know Apple makes no iBook reading app available at all on competing manufacturer devices (at least I don't remember reading of any).,

  2. Managing my personal documents in the Cloud Drive is MUCH easier. I guess when I say "managing" I mean deleting, since it's not super useful for much more (as far as I can tell). I've got a few things I'm always wanting to delete and it's way easier this new way.

    1. Hi, Gary, yes, I think it's just file handling. No editing on the Cloud. They are sync'g like crazy every device under the sun, so I think allowing editing would not be wise...


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