Amazon's new Kindle software: Reviewing, ranking the features

Amazon has rolled out a software update for its Kindle designed to improve readability, sharing and eliminating quirks such as a wacky page number scheme. Here's a quick review of the new features.

Amazon has rolled out a software update for its Kindle designed to improve readability, sharing and eliminating quirks such as a wacky page number scheme. The new software contains a public notes system so you can follow people, view your library and make your reading public. Think a literary Facebook. Real page numbers are a nice touch. And Amazon updated the magazine and newspaper layout so you can get to the articles you want quickly.

I downloaded the new software and what follows is a quick ranking and review of the features.

The most practical feature in the new Kindle software is the newspaper and magazine layout. My Kindle is essentially a newspaper and magazine consolidator. The previous layout left a lot to be desired. The new one is much better and gives you more of a table of contents to play with. Public notes and sharing are my No. 2 best feature. Amazon is looking to build a social ecosystem and overall the move makes sense. You can follow the reading lists of influencers and their public notes. The first decision here is to whether to make your library public. Being a Renaissance man (yeah right) I had to make a call about what the public would think about what I was reading. Now the Art of War is the best business book ever written and The Black Swan and the few history books indicate I'm a semi-smart person. However, the general public may also snicker about  guy that reads "They Call Me Baba Booey" alongside "Why We Suck..." by Denis Leary. And of course we can't forget all the comic books I want to read---excuse me graphic novels---but don't because the Kindle can't quite handle them yet.

My hunch is that people are going to show off books that make them look good on the Kindle profile. The stuff folks are really reading will remain private.

The new software also allows you to rate, share and recommend a book when you get to the end. The bottom line: Amazon is trying to bring more social engagement to the Kindle community.

Real page numbers are a welcome addition. I couldn't get them to work on my existing books so will assume that the real page numbers will appear when I buy a new book.

Related: Review: My Amazon Kindle Single publishing experiment