Since I first reviewed the Amazon Kindle for the iPad and other iOS devices, some pretty useful features have been added in recent updates. From basic annotation tools, an e-book library, and its Whispersync capabilities, the Kindle app now allows users to import magazines and newspapers, as well as personal documents—each of which can be synced between iOS devices.
While the Kindle app still falls short in many areas, the recent updates do provide better functionality for e-book reading.
Perhaps the best update for Kindle 2.9 app is a feature that allows Amazon members to e-mail personal documents to their Kindle app-supported device using a new Send-to-Kindle email address ([assigned name]@kindle.com.)
You can attach documents and other files, including PDFs, Word files, JPEGs and PNGs, on your computer or in your mobile device to the address associated with your Amazon account. Amazon says that “A subject is not necessary in the e-mail, unless you’d prefer to have the document converted to the Kindle format. To have a document converted to Kindle format (.azw), the subject line should be ‘convert’ when e-mailing the personal document to a Send-to-Kindle address.”
In order to use the Kindle annotation features, text documents must be converted to the Kindle format. However, in my tests some parts of say a PDF document—the table of contents for example—may not format correctly in the .azw conversion.
Other people can also send documents to your device after you approve their e-mail address. You will need to log into your Manage Your Kindle account, and select Personal Document Settings to add and improve e-mail addresses. This authorization, of course, keeps your account from being spammed.
There are some restrictions to this personal documents feature, such as submitted e-mails to your Amazon account cannot contain more than 25 attached personal documents, and it must target less than 15 distinct Send-to-Kindle addresses.
This personal documents feature enables users to do less printing, and it is also convenient for keeping your documents archived in the cloud.
Magazines and Newspapers
This Kindle update version for the iPad now also allows Amazon customers to select from over 400 magazines and newspapers in the Kindle Store. You can buy single issues or subscribe to magazines like, Martha Stewart Living, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, and Popular Science.
Some Kindle customers however have commented that the digital versions of publications may not be as good production wise as the printed versions, so be sure to check the customer feedback section before making a purchase.
The User Interface
The Kindle app also includes an updated user interface, so that now downloaded content is categorized by All Items, Books, Newsstand, Docs. Kindle books and personal documents can also be archived to your account in order to reduce the amount of space taken up on your mobile device.
It would be great, however, if there were a section for purchased Kindle books separate from sample copies of Kindle e-books.
Social Network Sharing
The prior update to the Kindle app includes a feature for sharing selected texts to your Twitter or Facebook timeline, via a link to the highlighted passage which appears on your Kindle profile page.
I’m not sure how useful this feature is for sharing with online contacts, but I find it handy for my own reading and review purposes. You can actually access and read your highlights and notes in your Kindle account. You can also follow and network with other Kindle readers .
As an avid Kindle book reader, I welcome the new app updates, but I still long for improvements with the annotation tools. Accessing and reviewing notes, highlights, and bookmarks is not a productive experience, especially for students and scholars, in the Kindle e-reader.
Let us know what you think of the new updates. Have you started reading more ebooks on your Kindle? And what additional features would you like to see.
For other articles about the Kindle app, start with these:
- How To Use The Amazon Kindle Reader For The iPhone & iPod Touch
- iBooks Vs. Kindle – Which Is Better? [iPad]
- Reading Ebooks on The iPad with iBooks & Amazon Kindle