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The latest update adds features to the iOS version of Amazon’s Kindle e-reader that makes it more useful than Apple’s own iBooks for reading eBooks and PDFs.

If you want to read books on your iPad, the Kindle app has you covered. You can download the first few chapters of Kindle books for free and purchase, read and sync your collection, annotations, and last page read with your iOS, Kindle Fire, Mac, Android, and Windows Phone 8 devices.

If you want to build an impressive ebook library A Beginner's Guide To Setting Up An eBook Library On Your iPad A Beginner's Guide To Setting Up An eBook Library On Your iPad The recently announced iPad mini, along with similar digital tablets like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 make for nearly perfect e-reading devices. From the near paper-like reading to the easy download and archiving of... Read More  and use the app for study purposes, the latest additions to the Kindle app take the already-excellent functionality a step further.

Organize Your Collection

As of the iOS 7 update, Amazon finally added a way to organize books, including sample versions into Collections. The feature allows you to organise beyond the standard Books and Docs categories, quickly accessed by tapping the top-left corner menu button.

Kindle_menu

If you’re new to Kindle, you can create and add books to collections as you go. To add a recently downloaded book, long press on a book cover, and tap Add to Collection. From there, tap the plus “+” button to create a new collection and to add the selected book to it.

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Kindle collections

To organize existing items into collections, choose Collections from the drop-down sidebar, followed by the plus “+” button on the top-right, and give the new collection a name. You can go through your collection and tap on the books you want added, or use the search function to locate books that might go into the collection.

Kindle collections 2

You can create as many collections as you like.

Collections

Bookmarks, Highlights & Notes

The Kindle app also now includes multi-color highlighters, which is very important for study purposes, and the app even makes highlighting passages really simple. Just tap on the start of a passage and drag across to highlight. There’s no additional tapping needed; it works just like using a yellow marker.

To change the color of a highlight, tap on a highlighted passage and select a different color from the pop-up. The last color you select will be used in the next highlight you make.

Kindle highlighter

Notice that the pop-up menu also includes a button for adding notes (which are not inline, but appear on a separate notebook page) and sharing a link to the highlighted passage to Twitter or Facebook. The bookmarks button can be found in the top-right corner of each page.

In the area of annotations and menu items, Apple’s iBooks still has a few more features that Amazon lacks. In addition to multi-color highlighters, iBooks also allows users to actually copy book passages to the clipboard so it can be pasted in another application. The iBooks menu (shown below) also includes a text-to-voice feature in which passages are read out loud.

Ibooks menu

Filtering Highlights and Notes

The Kindle app jumps ahead of iBooks with its latest feature for filtering highlights and notes. Tap on the notebook icon at the top of any page in a book and you will get a scrolling list of all highlights, notes, and bookmarks.

Filter highlights

In the notebook view, you can delete, star, and link back to the original page of a selected annotation. The layout of the notebook makes reviewing annotations very accessible, and being able to filter annotations by color, bookmarks, and notes makes for a powerful study tool.

Because of this new filtering feature, I have assigned a purpose for each color highlight: yellow for general highlights, pink for important passages, blue for very insightful passages, and orange for book titles and statistical information.

If you want to copy your highlights you will need to go to your Kindle highlights pages inside your Amazon account, which we have previously explained in this article How To Manage Book Annotations While Reading On The Kindle How To Manage Book Annotations While Reading On The Kindle Read More . You might also check out ClippingsConverter.com and Bookcision, two services for downloading your Kindle annotations.

X-Ray and Flashcards

In a few previous updates, Amazon added a feature called X-Ray, which essentially provides background information drawn from Shelfari and Wikipedia about the characters, settings, special terms, and phrases included in a Kindle book.

Kindle xray

In print replica editions of Kindle textbooks (many of which can downloaded for a 7-day free trial), students can turn highlighted content in a book or X-Ray notes into flashcards too.

Before You Go

After the last page of most Kindle books, a Before You Go page pops up to show a collection of other books by the book’s author, and several books purchased by customers who bought the current book you’re reading.

Before you go

The page also allows for rating and writing a comments about the book (which appear’s on the book’s Amazon page), and sharing your rating to Twitter and Facebook. Though you still can’t purchase Kindle books from within the Kindle app, you can download book samples and add them to your Amazon wish list.

Wish List

The Kindle app has come a long way and remains competitive with Apple’s iBooks. In the coming updates I would like to see a text-to-voice feature, and the ability to copy passages directly from a book. I also think Amazon customers should be able to pass along or bequeath their Kindle library to a chosen person, just as we might do with our paper book collections.

Download: Amazon Kindle (Free)

Let us know what you think of the latest features of the Kindle app, and what other features you would like to see added, Amazon seems to have been responsive to customer feedback about their apps in the past.

  1. Jim Culverwell
    August 15, 2015 at 6:46 am

    If you are interested in using your Kindle for studying I would recommend taking a look at clippings.io . Vox just mentioned it recently http://www.vox.com/2015/6/11/8766159/internet-reading-kindle-instapaper-highlights

    Enjoy

  2. Rochelle
    February 27, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Before my Kindle Reader disappeared, I could look up word meanings whether I read in English or Spanish. Now that I read on a Mac Mini, I can only access word meanings in English-language books. When I called Amazon CS, I was told, yes, on the mini only books in English access a dictionary. The app for ipad app definitely needs upgrading so the word look-up function will have the language flexibility of the Kindle. The CS rep said he would pass my suggestion to the appropriate person. We'll see. Meanwhile, if you feel the same way, contact the capable folks in Amazon CS.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      February 27, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Rochelle, thanks for letting us know this. I wasn't aware of these limitations. I do notice that Amazon has been responsive to updating their reader app based on customer feedback, so maybe your input will get addressed. Thanks for your feedback.

  3. Bob Levy
    January 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Collections as delivered is a great step, next step would be cub collections. like Syfy-author or Syfy-subject. I have used a 3rd party Windows app for years to manage collections (http://www.kindlecollectionmanager.com/) . It would be nice to be able to "move" books between collections. I also wish there was a way to delete from Amazon books I no longer wish to show. I actually have a collection named DELETE. I have thousands of books and collections are critical to management.

    If you do not need or use collections, you do not have many books.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 30, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      Bob, it took me about 20 minutes to organize my collections because of the number of books I have. And think over time we're going to see more management features in the Kindle because Amazon recognizes that their customers' book collections will continue to grow and readers will want all kinds of ways to organize, manage, and delete books. I personally think we should also be able to share books at least 5 times. Thanks for your feedback.

  4. Bakari Chavanu
    January 29, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Sal, my article refers to the iOS version of the Kindle app. Amazon does indeed need to get around to updating the Mac version.

  5. Sal
    January 29, 2014 at 3:51 am

    The Kindle App on my Mac says it was last updated in 2102. When will the update you are writing about be available?

  6. Grace
    January 28, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    One thing (about the only thing) I like about iBooks is that you can organize your library into categories. I suggested this to Amazon for the Kindle app several years ago. I'm so glad they have finally added that, along with other tremendously useful features.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      Hey Grace, I really appreciate you and others making that suggestion to Amazon, because my Kindle collection was becoming unmanageable due to the lack of a feature to organize the ebooks. I have downloaded some iBook books, but I prefer Amazon over iBooks. The only other feature I'm looking forward to in the Kindle app is the ability to copy and paste passages from from ebooks.

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