Kindle Software Update Brings Page Numbers, Ratings, Opt-In Sharing

Kindle 3

There’s a software update coming to the Kindle, with some features that I suspect users will very much enjoy.

First, page numbers, not locations, so as to make the citing of passages easier for people who cite things regularly. 2 WOOHOOs and a fist pump for that.

Second, public notes. And I quote: “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.” (emphasis mine) So, hold up, instead of changing the software and updating it, then having the internets and the Twitters explode with the news that someone’s made your phone number, address, underwear size and most recent cholesterol number unless you go turn off the “Expose My Ass” setting, you’ve decided that people should OPT-IN to share their notes on a book?

Wow, Amazon. You and I don’t always agree on everything, but you get a high five for that one.

Third: social network rating and sharing: “If you’re reading and happen across a passage you’d like to share with friends or followers through social networking sites, Kindle gives you the option to post it to Facebook or Twitter. You can also share your rating of any Kindle Book you’re reading through your social media networks.

Note: Sharing Highlights and Notes on Facebook and Twitter is not available in Germany.”

Why is that? I mean, I’m sure logically it’s because of permission or law or telecomm rules or something, but perhaps instead it’s because maybe Amazon doesn’t like German beer?

Anyway, I dig the rating feature, as perhaps it will lend some balance to the garden of crap that is Amazon reviews because making it easier to rate a book, even without comments, will offset the crazysauce. Moreover, given the information I learned from Michael Tamblyn’s presentation at Tools of Change, specifically that once users in the Kobo app logged into Facebook from within the app itself, those users read books for much longer once they were connected. I don’t think this is exactly the same thing, but I’m fascinated by the idea that feeding that now-present need for digital connection even while reading might create more reading time.

I am curious about the updates, and to see if anyone uses them – more valid and less silly Amazon reviews would be awesome, in my opinion. Would you use these features, if you have a Kindle? What digital reader feature do you most want (aside from an end to geographic restrictions and DRM, obviously)?



General Bitching...

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  1. I was just asking my husband which he likes more, the nook (original flavor) or the Kindle 3, because he’s been using both depending on where the good freebies and bargains are (because I’m a cheap bitch and it didn’t occur to me until AFTER I got him hooked on digital reading that it’s MY card feeding the monster).

    He likes the Kindle 3 more on almost all counts (the lighted cover being a huge plus), but he then spent a half-hour bitching about the location situation. For some reason not having page numbers is a big deal to him.

    And when I grabbed my Short Kid an Artemis Fowl book for the Kindle app on the iPad because it was a Friday afternoon when he finished the previous one, he had to have a discussion with his teacher about how they could track his progress for his reading log without page numbers. (Which became a moot point as soon as school library day came and he grabbed a paper copy so he could read it “properly”. I’m thinking a switched-at-birth scenario.)

    So having real page numbers is a big win for the Stacey family. As for the notes and sharing and whatnot, none of us have any interest in that.

  2. laurel says:

    Yay for page numbers! Even though it is supposed to automatically hold my place sometimes the gremlins get into my Kindle and I have to go scrolling through the book with only “I think I was 83% finished was that 5437?” to help me find my place. And since I read offline to conserve battery juice it makes it a nuisance to find my spot in another device, like the iPad or laptop.

    If I were younger and reading textbooks or reading for literature classes, I might care about the sharing my thoughts/notes. As is, not so much. And I don’t want to read anyone else’s, either. DISLIKE the ghost highlights put in there by whoever. It took me a few books to figure out that wasn’t a glitch and I could turn it off. I’d rather it not be the default.

  3. Vi says:

    The feature that I desperately want is better organization of my books. Folders are nice. But it’s just the start. I want to be able to alphabetize my books or possibly create a folder w/in a folder. I know I can use Calibre for organizational needs but I want Amazon to be aware that I have them.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I sometimes get a little defensive of my nook, (I’ll admit to going “HA! my nook has had page numbers all along!” What can I say, My little device has treated me well, so I think it deserves some loyalty) so I sometimes get growly when Kindle goes and does something cool, but I have to say, the sharing thing has the potential to be pretty awesome, depending on how it works. I love talking books, and even more, I love talking books to people who are interested. Well done, Amazon. You win… this time

    (It’s okay, nookie, you’re special too)

  5. Terry Odell says:

    Gee, and my NOOOKcolor came with those features—at least I think so. Not 100% sure about the opt in for privacy, but the header on each screen tells you you’re on page X of XXX.  I haven’t used the ‘share on FB or Twitter’ much. As for bells and whistles—when I read a book, I want to stay in the story. I did look up a word once, because I was pretty sure the author had used “ordinance” instead of “ordnance” but was curious enough to want to verify it.

    Terry’s Place
    Romance with a Twist—of Mystery

  6. Flo says:

    This might tip the scale to which ereader I finally succumb.  No page numbers would have driven me up a wall.  And I like the citing deal.  I could put my thoughts down on what the kids were reading instead of having a notepad and dragging that around while I lectured I could look awesomely cool with a kindle.


  7. Rachel says:

    *Gasp* How can anyone not like German beer? /is shocked

    I always feel so out of place in such discussions – the hubby and I went for the Aztak EZreaders instead because they supported a wider range of formats and we weren’t bound by any particular place.

    However I setup the folders on the memory card is how they’ll show up – or when transfered via data cable to the device itself. Like the collection of free romance reads he downloaded for me a while back that ended up in Liked, So So, and Icky.

    PDFs can get a little funky at times, but I’m used to it for the most part.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Maybe my nook does have the share features too and I just haven’t noticed… Thanks for giving me something to look into!

  9. BethP says:

    I have a NOOKColor and I have a couple of wishes:

    1)  I have to hook the Nook up to my PC in order to delete a side-loaded book from it.  (I believe I can archive a book if it is a B&N purchased book, but it isn’t an option for one that is side-loaded.)  It is very annoying to finish a book and want to delete it so that my queue isn’t quite so long, but not be able to do it.  (I could do so with my Sony Reader.)

    2) I wish to hell that I could delete the B&N user guides that come pre-loaded on the Nook.  There is no way to remove them and they are always present in your bookshelf.  Pain in the ass.

    Rant over.

  10. Karen H says:

    Page numbers was one of the items I mentioned when I responded to your request before the Tools for Change presentation.  So, yes, I’m very happy about that.

    However, I really don’t care about the social networking/sharing stuff since that’s not really my thing.  Except for posting to a few blogs like this, I’m kind of a loner.  So I’m very happy it’s implemented as an “opt-in” feature.

    The only issue is that I got the message this morning to turn on my wireless to get upgraded and I did but I cannot tell if it worked.  The two books I just looked at are still showing locations.  Guess I’ll have to troubleshoot.

  11. Vicki says:

    I am so into ereader envy. My tech challenged BFF got a Kindle from her son for Xmas and I have been helping her set it up though it is easy enough that she really doesn’t need the help anymore. I have been holding off on Kindle because of the DRM thing. However, these new features are truly tempting. I am still leaning more toward the Ectaco Jetbook or the Astak EZreader because of the range of formats supported. Ready to buy but still having some trouble committing. Sound like a romance hero, don’t I.

  12. MsCrankyP says:

    Nook and NookColor already had those features. Page numbers, LendMe, Reviews, Facebook, Twitter, notes, shelves.

    Nice. My Kindle will be almost as functional as my Nook and NookColor now. It’s getting there.

    Both Nooks win on Library management. NookColor is better.  Amazon can do better. 

    I’ve been happy with both Nook types, and appreciate Amazon will start using page numbers. I might use it more. I haven’t seen any Kindle books upgraded with page numbers yet if that is the plan.  Waiting. This might be for new releases only. Pity that.

    What I don’t like or need are games.

  13. notsurewho says:

    Oh! Page numbers!
    I am only new to the whole ‘owning a kindle’ thing, and quite like it. I used it predominantly for pdfs of journal articles for college, and the off classic book downloaded from ‘project gutenberg’. But yes, page numbers shall be lovely.

    I have recently pilfered the Baen Free Library for a few of Misty Lackey’s early books, simply because I already own them but they are on a TBR shelf that is 300K away.—On this note, my TBR shelf is over 200 books* and my impossible dream is to get some of those in e-book format , without having to pay for them again, so I can finally read them.

    College is great and all, but I miss my bookshelves and, what with them being so far away, my TBR pile is growing rather than gradually diminishing.

    *-the perils of a serious bookaholic working as a bookbuyer in a genre store.

  14. Joy says:

    What Vi said, doubled.  I’m waiting for better organization possibilities on my Kindle3.  I want folders, and series lists and to find books different ways.  I also want to correct author listings that for some reason are alphabetizing by first and not last name.  Page numbers will be cool but I won’t use the social networking things.

    Now if we could just work on this DRM thing I’d buy lots more of my “keepers” from actual paper in digital format. Sigh.  I want add to my digital library but fear I’ll waste my money and get stuck with things I can’t read later.

  15. Nessa says:

    I bought the Kindle under the pretext of using it for school work and not having page numbers really screwed things up for me.

    So … YAY! Page numbers!!

  16. SB Sarah says:

    I don’t mean to make the Nook folks defensive. I use a Kindle personally but this is because the backlit screens of the Nook Color and iDevices are exceptionally painful on my eyeballs after a few minutes. Nook folks get to borrow from the library and have bookshelf collections that are rather spiffy looking.

    Well done, Amazon. You win… this time


    Also: Amazon ALSO announced movie streaming for Prime members effective today.

    But that has nothing to do with e-reading, obviously.

  17. Jess Granger says:

    I like the sharing passages through social networking.  That sounds like fun.  I love running across things in a book that I have to share with someone.  I’d use that all the time.

  18. MsCrankyP says:

    I like that my Kindle isn’t just a loaner to friends and family anymore.
    Yay for page numbers.

    The page turn buttons on it are easier on my old hands than the Nook classic. NookColor is the easiest to use and hasn’t burned out my eyeballs, yet.  Not trying to push a NookColor over kindles and Nooks. It’s my preference for ease of use. I have all three, and not because I’m a magpie. It was hard to find one comfortable to use. NookColor works better for my physical limitations since it has the swipe and bigger than my phone. The battery life sucks. Nook classic and Kindle win there.

  19. Laura (in PA) says:

    I got my email this morning too, and turned on my wireless. I think it said it would update sometime in the next couple of days.

    I’m thrilled about the page numbers. I hated the location number thing. I always went by the percent.

    I’m not too excited about the social network thing; I don’t really see myself doing that, but never say never I guess.

  20. Cat Marsters says:

    I like the idea of page numbers too, got to be easier than those locations, especially for those books which don’t respond to chapter scrolling. I am intrigued how it’ll work, however, what with the text size being so changeable—surely that makes the size of the page, and the number of pages, likewise variable?

  21. Kathleen O'Reilly says:

    I love the sharing options and can’t wait to test them out.  As a reader, I think it’s cool to be able to send comments to friends while I can still remember what I want to say, and as an author, I think it’d be awesome to put in author notes (same principle as footnotes) alongside the read.

    I could see this being really, really cool.

  22. Note: Sharing Highlights and Notes on Facebook and Twitter is not available in Germany.”

    Ah. So my Kindle isn’t broken after all. That’s good news! Now I only have to figure out what’s up with my battery life.

    I’ve had the Kindle for a week now and I love it to pieces. Instant download of books onto your device = instant gratification of reader’s greed! Yay! Folders! Yay! Annotations! Yay! Cover with an inbuilt reading light!! Yay!

    The pricing policy for Europe might suck, but I can still see myself getting very, very addicted to this e-reader. 🙂

  23. DreadPirateRachel says:

    Oh, hellz yes I will use these updates! Especially the page numbers; you have no idea what a pain in the ass it can be to cite an e-book; every professor has her own ideas about what’s acceptable for this. In fact, my Kindle has just finished installing my update and is restarting. Very good timing, Sarah.

    ETA: Hmm. It’s all loaded, but no page numbers do I see. In fact, this is a little worse, because now I have to push the menu button to even see the locations.

  24. Sandia says:

    I have never been someone who’s been bothered by the lack of page numbers on the Kindle.  I felt like I got used to the location numbers pretty quickly.  When I upgraded to my new Kindle recently, I liked that the current and last location was actually on the bottom.  This update took that away… and I don’t like that.

    One thing I will say that I hate about my new Kindle (I had the original version – and I miss my big page turn buttons but that’s a whole other thing) – is the highlighting of passages that some random other person made.  I wish they had included in this update the ability to turn it off.

  25. Vi says:

    @Sandia-  This how you can turn off popular highlights on your Kindle:

    To turn off other people’s highlights, go to Home, Menu, Settings, and on page 2 of the settings turn off “Popular Highlights” (so that the option next to it says “turn on”).

  26. I want the ability to sort my collections by title!

    And the ability to add an author to a document I’ve converted. For instance, the ebooks I’ve previously purchased in PDF form, and I’ve converted it to the Amazon format, I want it to have the original author’s name, not my e-mail.

    And when Amazon mucks it up and puts the author as “Monroe Lucy”, I can change it to the correct “Lucy Monroe” so that ONE BOOK isn’t sorted elsewhere from the rest.

    And I LOVE the PAGE numbers. That’s going to be fantastic.

  27. Kaye says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  For your passion ,and involvement, and sharing in these news and updates.  I don’t know what we would do without you – muddle around in the dark somehow wondering what all these gizmo’s did on our various ereaders.

    And, I cannot wait for page numbers on my Kindle – that really bigged me !!

  28. Kaye says:

    bigged me ???  how about bugged me !

  29. SAM I Was, SAH I Am now.. says:

    My kindle uploaded the software.. and now i don’t even get the 4336 at the bottom. So I looked it up…

    “As with all of Kindle’s features, we want you to lose yourself in the author’s words, so page numbers and locations are only displayed when you press the Menu button.”

    I soo don’t like this. Sometimes I don’t want to start a long book. Sometimes I just wanna a short read and now I have to open it up and than PRESS A BUTTON to find out. (lol.. maybe I’m just a tad lazy) And I LIKE knowing where I am in a book. There is a big difference to me between staying up to finish if I’m at 75% or if I’m at 95%. Regular books have page numbers constantly at the bottom and I want my kindle to do it too. I’m all for change.. but not this one. 🙁

    Also.. I have read 3 books on my kindle since it uploaded and not one had page numbers.

    Many titles in the Kindle Store now include real page numbers, making it easy to reference and cite passages and read alongside someone reading the print book in a book club or class.”

    Not all.. dang.

  30. LaurieDouglas says:

    Well, went to do the download, and apparently it’s only good on the latest greatest Kindle 3, not the 2, so I’m bummed.  I SOOO don’t get why they make the fun stuff only available for the newest versions.  Hmmm… maybe to get me to buy a new one?  Nah, surely not.  Bah-humbug!

    sort77 – Let me sort through the 77 different reasons why I love my Kindle most of the time. 😉  And I’d hoped the new updates would allow me to more efficiently sort the 77 books in my TBR list.

  31. GatorPerson says:

    I still want Amazon to deal with the issue of being able to check out ebooks at public libraries.

    If I could create directories and subdirectories on my laptop, then transfer that as is to my Kindle, I’d be way ahead of the category designations.

    I thought I’d need the page numbers. I don’t. I have no intention of social networking my opinions on books.

    I have a Kindle 2. It conveniently has Next Page on both left and right sides. I use the thumb that’s available at the moment.

  32. Joy says:

    Why facebook and Twitter and not Goodreads or some other social networking site that actually focuses on books (not that facebook and Twitter shouldn’t be included, but they’re really not the best networking site for talking about books IMO—the only book stuff I have there is in a feed from Goodreads).

  33. Renee says:

    Hot diggity!  I think they should link to Shelfari, though

  34. Cakes says:

    ohhh…I like the “cite passages” thing!

  35. Suzannah says:

    Thanks to the person above who explained how to turn the popular highlights off, because they drive me mad and I have tried to do it and failed.  Now I will try the right way 😉

    I don’t like the way they’ve disappeared the number of locations, which now only appear when you press the menu button.  That opens up a screen which blocks out most of what you’re reading.  What was wrong with just leaving the locations where they were, on the right-hand side?  And I’d finally worked out how to estimate the length of a book from the locations – 2,600 was a Mills & Boon, 5,000-odd was a bodice-ripper, 11,000 was Clan of the Cave Bear, and so on.  I do like page numbers, though.  They’ve had them on ePubs forever, so it always seemed a bit silly that the Kindle didn’t.  The reasoning was always “it depends on how big the typeface is” but that never made sense to me, because surely the bigger you had the print, it just meant the longer it would take the next page to roll around.

  36. Virg says:

    I love the page numbers. Didn’t really dig that whole Location stuff. Yay for Amazon.

    P.S. Please still work on your Organize Ze Books features.

  37. Jill Shalvis says:

    I am so ridiculously excited about the page numbers!!

  38. Aimee says:

    I’m pretty excited about being able to rate the book immediately after finishing it – hooray!

    I haven’t felt the lack of page numbers because page numbers are different in different editions, and I always seem to have the edition the rest of the group doesn’t 🙂

  39. Ben P says:


    Re: Germany. It’s because over here we gots Laws for Shit You Ain’t Never Heard Of. Any bylaws regulating those laws. Germany has MORE LAWYERS PER CAPITA THAN THE USA. But you don’t get da millionz for doing dumb shit. Instead we just laugh at you while feeling superior about our l33t beer and sausage. (which both rock)

    If it’s good or fun then Germans can find a way to make a freakin’ law about to totally kill the party. But if it’s bad for you and shit then they will try to make a law against that too. But fail because teh lobbeyhs haz teh powerz. Or something.

    Or it has something to do with Which I love.

  40. Couldn’t agree with you more… pfffft

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