A Kindle software update adds some popular new features to make reading books a more social experience and to provide an improved layout for newspapers and magazine - but only for Latest Generation Kindle models.
Amazon has released an Early Preview of Version 3.1 of its Kindle software. Two of its new features, public notes and "real" page numbers are intended to make the book reading experience more collaborative and will appeal to reading groups, teachers and students, authors and reviewers.
Public notes extends Kindle's existing highlighting and annotation features by allowing you to share your notes with others. Real Page Numbers add a numbering feature to Kindle pages, something that users have long been requesting, and they also match the page numbers in print books so that readers of Kindle versions and print books can easily discuss passages and academic users can cite page references.
Before You Go is another new social feature - when you reach the end of the book you can rate it and share a message about it with your social network. You will also get personalized recommendations for what to read next and see more books by the same author - a typical Amazon marketing ploy.
The update also introduces a new layout for newspapers and magazines that gives a snapshot of the news to help you decide what to read.
All Latest Generation Kindle and Kindle 3G customers will receive this software update automatically once it is available. Meanwhile owners of these most recent Kindle models can manually download an Early Preview of these features from the Amazon Kindle Support site.
There is already a growing murmur of discontent from owners of older Kindles that there seems to be no sign of a software update to their hardware - although page numbers will be available on Kindle apps "in the coming months". This is a phrase we often hear from Amazon - what has happened to Kindle for the Web. It was "launched" in September 2010 and demoed in December but still has the status of "coming soon".
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