Sunday, April 10, 2016

How to find your Amazon pages, including your personal, password-protected webpage of Kindle book annotation, with added social features. Kindle tips on updated older e-Ink eReader software update v5.6.1.1 features

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A few tips before I do a recap of current news

While getting back to the blog to update it with recent news (the new Kindle coming any day will be addressed in the next blog article), I was trying to find a couple of Amazon management pages for my various settings, but it took forever to find some of them, so I decided to make up a table of them to make it easier for me and for some of you (see chart at left or at the top of the Kindle Edition of this blog for Kindle eReaders) and will add more links later on.

E-Ink Kindle Reader 'Reading Progress' - where is it?
This was one of the more common questions asked after the big required update on older Kindle e-Ink eReaders, including the Paperwhite 1.
  It turns out that this is now located under the Aa fonts and screen-display icon.
  But you can directly access it within a Kindle book by just tapping the bottom left of the page to activate it

 : Aa icon features screen sometimes freezes on some devices
  Some have gotten past this by Resetting the device (which includes a normal re-start or a memory-clearing 20-second hold of the power button to reset it). The 'Reset Device' showing on the Home/ Settings/Device Options/Menu screen used to say 'Reset to Factory Default,' which can remove your non-Kindle books and documents, so that should be used only as a last resort.

  But some have been able to get the Aa features screen to stop freezing tendencies after merely tapping Home and then Sync and Check for Items.

  The general features of older e-Ink v5.6.1.1. software update
  This particular software update version is for Paperwhite 1 and older Kindles.  The newer Paperwhites and Voyage have v5.7.x.x. software with slightly different features.

    In June 2015, I made a blog article that described v5.6.1.1 update's general features newly available at that time, and users of Paperwhite 1 or older Kindle e-Ink eReaders may want to take a look at those since not much was said about those general features during the recent required update for those of us who had not installed the update when it came out in 2015.  Amazon then delivered this update to these older non-updated Kindle.

 Those who did not, for some reason, get this update over the air should see the recent blog article with info on how to manually install it.

  I'm adding, below, an earlier article I posted about a little-known, hugely helpful feature, written YEARS ago but still germane.

This is info I thought would be useful for new Kindle owners, but I've found that oldtime Kindle users don't tend to know it exists, and definitely students involved in the pilot programs at universities don't seem to know either, judging from some reports.

If you check your Menu button/Settings/Menu button (again) options, you'll see one for "Enabling" or "Disabling Annotations Backup."  These are for the personal highlighting and notes that you can make on any regular books purchased from Amazon which are then, if you authorize it, BACKED UP to your own private, password-protected webpage at Amazon.  (PDFs on the Kindle have no annotation features.*)

The Kindle User's Guide is the first book placed on your Kindle (by Amazon) and is also readable on the Net and downloadable to your computer in PDF format for reading on your pc or Mac).
  Be sure to check the parts on how to highlight and make notes (as well as everything else it can do).

  But highlighting is as simple as going to the start of the highlighting and clicking on the 5-way button and using that 5-way to go to the right or down (or across a page turn) until you see where you want to end the highlight.
  Then you press the 5-way button again. That's it.

  There can be confusion at times with the cursor as to whether you want to start a search or just see a dictionary summary definition for a word or start an annotation -- but if the highlighting doesn't work, press "Back" button (my favorite or most-used button) to get back to where you were and start again.

SIDE-NOTE on the much-appreciated BACK button
The "Back" button is also used when you jump to another Location in the book or to a search result for the book or when you decide you want to look up a detailed definition of a word your cursor is on.

  The key word is "jump."  When I Search a word or phrase in a book, to see where it occurs elsewhere in that book, the Kindle gives me 6 search results (depending on the size of the chosen font) on the first page of results and I can choose to click on any or all of them -- BUT to get BACK to where I was in the book, I then press the "BACK" button and I'm back where I was before the Search and 'jump' to the results page.
  It's the same when you click on a link to another part of the book; you press 'BACK' to return to where you were before the 'jump.'

  I read a lot of non-fiction, so I do use this feature a lot.  A big help for any Kindle user is the ability to check your previous annotations for a book, on the Kindle, where they are shown to you via the "My Notes & Marks" option when you click the "MENU" button at bottom right of teh kindle.

  The highlighting and notes feature is especially useful for those in book clubs or for those who are taking a class that uses the book.

  But what's the easiest way to print them out for use elsewhere, if you don't just bring your Kindle and go through it that way?

  Your private books-annotation webpage at Amazon.  Again, it's password-protected so only you should have access to it.  I think that's part of the agreement with Amazon too.  Each of us can get to that page by typing or you can just bookmark it when you get there.  Be sure to click on "Your_Highlights" when you land on the main page.

 When you put in your password, you'll be brought to your list of purchased or free books from Amazon and you can sort them by title or author.  Click on a link for one of your books, and you'll see a group of about 5 highlighting entries and notes you made for the book (if you did).   If you made more annotations than are seen on that page, you'll see, at the top, a list of pages numbered for more of your notes, which you can click on to see the rest of your notes.

  BUT an additional great feature is that you can click near the bottom left of that group of annotation results, on the link to "See all your highlights and notes on one page."  And that's the way I look at them.

Here's a link to an actual web page showing some highlighting entries for a specific book I bought (and haven't finished yet).  The book is a fascinating take on what it's like to actually win an election and enter the White House and all that comes with that.

* PDF books: you can ask Amazon to convert a copy of any of these by emailing it to [you] with the word "Convert" in the Subject field, and they'll send for free a converted copy back to your email.  From there you can move it to your Kindle with the USB cable, putting it into the 'documents' folder of the Kindle.

The larger text, reflowed to fit into a 6" screen will be easier to read, but the original layout tends to be lost when the PDF is complex.  For single column documents it's usually fine though -- plus your inline dictionary will work for these (not for actual PDFs), as will book-searches with multiple-results Kindle style, text-to-speech, and highlighting and notes.  Annotations for books purchased from non-Amazon sources are not backed up to the Amazon server nor are the annotations for those though.

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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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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  1. Hmmm.... Unfortunately it only has my "Your Highlights" for books but not for documents...

    It's really nice seeing all the highlights I did in the books though. Thank you!

    1. Gary, I really do like it, being able to see them all in a row and copyable to a file too. Glad you you find it useful too. It's odd that Amazon doesn't really tell cusotmers about it.

  2. The current software version for Kindle generation 6 and 7 is 5.7.4 (just arrived). There are a number of UI differences between and 5.7.4, including I think where to find the Reading Progress setting. But I don't have my PW 1 (5th gen) handy to check this.

    You can annotate PDFs, provided they have text and are not just scanned images. Annotations are backed up and synched but not revealed at You can look in My Clippings if they were created on that particular Kindle, otherwise one is reduced to screen captures to export them somehow.

    I'd like to see Amazon finally get around to doing a proper annotation export feature (e.g. at Manage Your Content and Devices) but I guess they feel no compulsion to do so, since they have not improved it since Kindle shipped. Google's Play Books app does a wonderful job with this: automatically stores and updates annotations in Google Drive (as a google doc for each annotated ebook), and it works with ePub files that you upload to your library as well.

    1. Tom, I have v5.7.3.1 on my Paperwhite 3. I've had v5.7.x.x. (can't remember what it was last week). The Home page is GREY, VERY THIN text on white, and I can hardly read it. It's mind-boggling that such a decision could be made. Maybe v5.7.4 will fix that. I certainly hope so. They did fix the dark/bold quality of Helvetica. Sometimes the bolding carries over to another font for the same session. But that's better than too light...

      Too bad PDF annotations aren't included at the kindle annotations webpage.

      Nice re Google Play Books app's ability to store the annotations separately. I haven't wished for it when the book annotations are so readily available in the Cloud at Amazon as it is. Excellent that ePub files in your library get these included by Google though, but I'd expect that since ePub seems to be the main format with Android.

      Annotating PDFs is something I've done on the Kindle Fire tablets but not on an e-Ink Kindle. NICE !
      Thanks for the added info.

  3. Unfortunately 5.7.4 doesn't seem to fix anything about Home screen fonts. Ironically it is more readable on the $89 Kindle because the fonts are thicker. It's not really sufficient to only fix Helvetica, I don't consider that a good text body font, though it is fine for titles and headers. I make it worse on myself I suppose by using only small (size 2-3) fonts. Small text sizes are obviously going to be more problematic.

    PDFs are a sub-category of Personal Docs, which are second-class citizens when it comes to the Kindle ecosystem.

    I cannot think of anything Amazon has improved around Personal Docs since the very first Kindle shipped. Now there are several other platforms offer a better experience for BYO PDFs and ePub files, including Google, Apple, and smaller platforms like Mantano (reading app is now called 'Bookari' for Android, iOS) and txtr. DRM surely impedes third parties that would otherwise be able to build out platforms that people might even pay for, and that might serve more specialized requirements.


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