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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Can Microsoft Surface Inspire Kindle Interface Enhancement?

The introduction of eReaders into the portable electronics world immediately led to prophetic statements declaring them irrelevant in a world that already had access to tablets.  The Kindle vs iPad debate was long and monotonous, but over time people have generally come to accept that there is a distinction between the two types of device.  While most tablet functions would be more or less ridiculous to add to a dedicated reading device like the Kindle, however, Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablet has introduced a useful concept that may have important implications for the future of electronic reading devices.

The Surface will incorporate technology that separates general touch recognition from stylus recognition, making it possible to take notes conveniently on the screen of the tablet without having to worry about where your fingers are positioned.  As anybody who tries to write naturally on a tablet for the first time will likely be immediately aware, it can be quite difficult to manage without either setting the device down or letting a thumb wrap around onto the screen.

Amazon has already done something great for Kindle users with Whispernet.  Having all of your annotations saved, along with bookmarks, page position, and so on, regardless of where you are loading your content from allows the Kindle platform to be device independent and convenient for just about anybody.  Unfortunately, taking notes on an actual Kindle eReader is a huge inconvenience.  Even with the keyboard provided by the Kindle Keyboard (or the virtual one on the Kindle Touch), it’s a slow and annoying process that will usually result in there being few such notes taken.

While it would definitely mean a slightly higher production cost, and would probably require a greater expense as far as data transfer and storage in concerned due to the increase in use, Amazon would be wise to adopt a similar option in their next Kindle upgrade.

The last remaining hurdle for eReaders at this point is their inability to match the convenience of paper books when it comes to direct interaction.  Annotation is part of that.  This would not make it any easier to flip rapidly from place to place in your favorite book, but that is not a sensation that can be replicated on a screen.  The pleasure of making one’s own contribution to a personal copy of a book is far simpler to bring to the new medium.

There is no indication that Amazon is going to make this sort of change.  This is merely speculation about what could eventually become a major selling point.  Until color E Ink style screens advance to the point where they are worth integrating, there isn’t a lot that can be done to make the Kindle a better reading tool.  The screen is already offering basically the same reading experience that you get from paper.  It’s not easy to find ways to make paper replication an exciting new thing once you reach this level of sophistication.  Improved writing inputs could be just what the Kindle needs in that respect.

Kindle Notepad

notepadNow your Kindle can be used as a Notepad.  You can write grocery lists, to do lists, or anything you wish on your Kindle.  The great part is that it is portable, and cheap.  Cheaper than paper, and more environmentally friendly than paper.  Ever lost a grocery list?  The only way you can lose Notepad is to lose your Kindle.

Fonts

You can view your notes from two different font types, and choose from 6 different font sizes.

Searching your notes

The handy part of Notepad is that you can search your notes.  This is helpful, and prevents a lot of unnecessary shifting around.  Sort the notes alphabetically, or by entry date.

How to write your notes

Just use your Kindle keyboard to type your notes.

Reviews

KindleAmazonDude

“Earlier, I had bought an app for the same porpose and have been wishing to replace it ever since. This app is extremely intuitive, fast, and useful. The main use for me is a planner, but it could be used for writing documents, like Word, and even spreadsdheets when you format | and _ into the document. This is a great app.”

C. Miller

“Notepad goes well beyond the functionality of a memo pad. So far, I have used it as a shopping-list organizer, recipe note card, phone and address book, reminder keeper and appointment book. I can note debit card purchases for entry later so that I don’t have to carry many things with me. Recently, I was in a warehouse store and wandered into the book section. I was able to make notes on several new releases I’d not noticed in the Kindle store. I can even use it as a time card for when I’m working at home.”

A. Murray

“I love this app. I recently lost my hand written notes about the order of all of my series I have on kindle. I became frustrated having to look the order up online and jot it down again. Now I have handy little notes that I quickly refer to before taking on a new series, or a favorite that I just can’t remember the order of the titles. At the price, it’s a steal and I’m very happy with the purchase.”

Note: just be careful with the sensitivity of what you put on there.  Another reviewer made a good point about not putting passwords on Notepad because of the chance your Kindle might get stolen.

 

Amazon is Bringing Their Kindle to the Library

Over the past few months, comments have been made repeatedly about the potential for the Kindle‘s lack of library compatibility being a deal breaker when it came time to make the purchase of your new eReader.  Well, apparently Amazon has been listening to you too.  In a press release this morning, Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) has announced that they have been working with Overdrive to integrate the Kindle into a library lending friendly system and will be rolling out the product of these efforts later this year.

In terms of basic features, there shouldn’t be too many surprises.  Expect all the basic Overdrive Library functionality and book selection, given the interaction between Amazon and Overdrive.  You should even be able to grab all your borrowed books via the WiFi.  What makes this a unique addition to the eBook library lending situation, to the best of my knowledge and aside from the fact that it brings in the largest eReader owner base on the market, is the annotation feature.  Users can expect to be able to annotate, highlight, and generally personalize their reading experience as they always have with any purchased book and, while these alterations will not pass on to the next borrower, all this will be preserved should the book be borrowed again or purchased at any point in the future.

This new feature, if you want to call accessibility of this sort a feature, will be available to every user of the Kindle platform, not just owners of the Kindle eReader.  This means that pretty much anybody who owns a device with a screen should be able to borrow themselves an eBook now, and that reading borrowed eBooks has become practically uncoupled from device concerns.  While I doubt that the end goal of this was to empower libraries as players in the digital marketplace, I would guess that it suddenly got a lot more important for publishers to avoid boycotts like those that HarperCollins has managed to stir up.

For those who might be unfamiliar with the Overdrive book lending system, it is essentially to institutionalized eBook lending what the Kindle is to eBook reading.  Sure there are probably other options, but in general it sets the standard.  I have yet to come across a decent implementation of another type of eBook library software, in fact.  The way it works at present involves downloading a book to your computer as a step in the process, but it sounds like Amazon is planning to do away with that given their mention of WiFi book downloading in conjunction with the service.  Maybe this is what took so long to get working?  Other than that step, I have never been inconvenienced by a borrowed eBook, though the waiting lists can get a bit long at times.  The only question that remains to be answered, for me, is whether or not this extends to downloadable audiobooks.  While I’m aware that these aren’t a big thing at all libraries, it would be great to see that sort of thing be possible for Kindle users. Let’s hope, given how long this has all taken, that every possible option is left open for readers.

Copy-paste for search and notes

Kindle Copy-Paste

Kindle Copy-Paste

As I was playing around with my Kindle DX, I’ve found an undocumented feature that can be used in a couple of ways. I checked and it also works in Kindle 2. It’s possible that it is known in the Kindle community or even documented but I wasn’t aware of it until I discovered it by accident the same way as I’ve found Kindle calculator easter egg.

If you start selecting text in Kindle book or document with 5-way controller but instead of pressing the controller the second time to highlight the selection press any alphanumeric key or space bar, the highlighted text would get copied into the search box as shown on picture.

From here you can go two ways:

  • either use this text as a search query against current book/document, all of your kindle content, Kindle Store, Google, Wikipedia or default dictionary (to change search scope tilt 5-way controller left or right)
  • or select the rightmost search button “note” that would paste text from a search box to a newly created note. You can then edit the note text as you see fit. The note will be anchored to the location where you have finished your selection.

I hope you will find this tip useful.

See Your Notes and Highlights Online

http://kindle.amazon.com

http://kindle.amazon.com

If you’ve made notes or highlights in your Kindle books, you can now see them online at http://kindle.amazon.com/

At the moment the service if quite limited. You can see your notes and highlights but can’t edit or share or even email them as I’ve hoped but this is definitely step in the right direction and I hope more will follow…

This was one of the issues I’ve submitted feedback to Amazon in the past and it looks like I wasn’t the only one. So now I’m going to take some time to write them once more and thank them for this feature and hopefully it’ll get more traction… I encourage you to do the same.