Amazon recently released a new software update for Kindle ereaders dating back to the Kindle Paperwhite 3 from 2015 that changes the layout of the homescreen and library and some of the menus, and they also made a number of changes to the way you navigate the user interface.
After releasing the new update with these changes last month, Amazon didn’t even bother to mention it in the release notes, but now they have a new page up explaining some aspects of the update, and apparently they aren’t done making changes.
A lot of people have been complaining about how the new update rearranges things and how the homescreen forces you to look at recommendations, even on ad-free Kindles, but it looks like the layout is going to change again soon anyway so I wouldn’t get too attached to the current layout either way.
According to Amazon, an upcoming update scheduled for later this year will add new filter and sort menus to the Library, along with a new collections view and an interactive scroll bar.
They’re also going to change the “Home” view to show up to 20 of your recently-read books by swiping left.
The picture above gives a sneak peak at what to expect. The image on the left shows a new type of list view with covers, and the center picture shows a new scroll bar in Library view. The image on the right shows the new homescreen, which appears to have genre tags (hopefully these can be used to sort purchased books and they’re not just links to view recommendations by genre or something).
The page says the “improved Home and Library experience” is coming later this year so there’s no definitive date but it’s likely they want to rollout the new user interface with a new lineup of Kindles in fall of 2021. Between this and the weekly Kindle sales lately, a new Kindle or two is looking more and more likely by the end of the year.
See this page at Amazon for more info: Kindle Reading Experience Reimagined.
These idiots removed the BACK button. This change is a nightmare when tapping on a reference link. There is no easy way to get back to the text. ABSOLUTELY STUPID. Imagine not having a back button on your phone.
Yeah that was very stupid decision. It’s not remove they just moved it to another place but still sucks big time cuz you need extra steps to go back. You can go back to your last book location by going to quick page view, if you have clicked to reference when you go to quick view (swipe bottom to top) you will have option to go back to the page you were. Very silly, I hope they bring it back where it was.
Lefty Kindle Standard says
there is a way to go back if voiceview is on.(which requires you to have a speaker paired:-/) Jjust swipe in a backwards L shape and it will take you back to your previous location. Still, it’s kind of a process. Personally, the back button was kind of annoying because it kept going back to far:-(.
Is it just me or do the covers and buttons get bigger with every update? If I was a conspiracy theory kind of guy, I’d say that points to an incoming model with a bigger screen. But nah!
I discovered that getting at VoiceView is much easier with the new update. When you turn on Bluetooth, the volume control appears right under the light control and a link to voiceView pops up so you can switch it on. Then you select the X on the menu and it goes straight to your book and begins reading. The downside to this is that when you are done using voiceview and you go back to the home screen, it doesn’t go to your library, you have to select that manually. Not a big deal, but it would be nice if it remembered to go back to the library.
There’s something to be said for the interface stability of paper. While a bit lacking in features, and taking up far more space per volume, no one has ever decided to change how the software on my printed books works. Browsing my library and turning pages has been unchanged for centuries.
(This is a tongue-in-cheek complaint at the modern tech industry’s attitude towards interface stability.)
The previous setup on Kindle was easy to use. The new navigation system is not. It seems that the tech team must have found themselves with little to do and in danger If being made redundant. So they manufactured a reason to change what was not broken.
Ingo Lembcke says
And the update is still missing for the Kindle Voyage – the last one came later, so hopefully this not end-of-life for the Voyage. Bring a Voyage V2 already …
I am hoping these new updates do not come to the Voyage.
Verena Charvet says
I really hate the changes just made. I hate them even more than the last ones, if possible. How can we stop Amazon doing this? At this rate I shall go back to paper books – as I have a kindle library of several 100 books this is a big deal fir me. Furious
Daniel Shunra says
* The lack of a Back button has already been mentioned. It had so many uses: not only for returning from a reference, but for returning after a visit to a bibliography or map or any other page. A back button is essential!
* The Home Screen is now full of commercials and “suggestions”. Especially those of us who paid for a commercial-free version will find this galling.
* The “Library” screen, which takes over the function of the old Home screen, has an oversized search bar at the top and so much white space between titles that there is room for 5 titles on a screen only. I remember that in the early Kindles there were 10 titles on a screen, then it went down to 8, 7, and now 5. This is no good use of screen real estate, and it’s frustrating to see so few of my recently looked-at books at a glance.
Are there any actual improvements in this version, or what was the logic? is there a way to downgrade?
As I stated before, access to voiceview is improved. The X button takes you right back to your book where before you would have to use the back button , but that only got you so far before having to revert to having to go home and then reopening up your book. I like the X button.
Deb Morrissey says
At least now the increased whitespace in the list view makes sense – they were making room to display covers. If I wanted to see the covers in my library, I’d switch to cover view. I much preferred being able to page through 8 at a time, not 5 at a time, If we’re lucky, there will be 3 views, cover (6), list with cover (5), and list (8). I’m not holding my breath though.
It’s like they aren’t aware that *people who read books* might prefer a text interface to a graphic one.
Lou Sevens says
Lou Sevens here- I found the back button missing while reading the Washington Post (3 months for $1 a month- likely won’t renew)
It seems in the menus that I click something it takes half the screen and finding the brightness isn’t as easy.
I discovered that my Paperwhite 3 (configured for the Japanese Amazon store) been updated to the new layout. It’s running 5.13.7, whereas my English Paperwhite 4 is still running 5.13.6.
The current read becomes a tiny icon at center bottom, which is rather nice to have, and the down swipe to access the airplane mode, sync, settings, and brightness seems to be a welcome addition. (My PW3 doesn’t have Bluetooth, or I’d see an icon for that there.) Sweeping down that info sheet is fairly simple. As an iPhone user, I’m already familiar with swiping down for notifications or the control center. Unfortunately, sweeping up is a bit glitchy. Sometimes it pops back down. I figure they’ll work out the bugs.
The Home Screen view has been updated as indicated in the photos. However, I initially had Home shut off, so I was delighted to see that “Library” was the default view. I may never click on “Home” along the bottom, but as long as I still have my library view, I don’t care. There might be some use for it to me down the road. I’m sure giving us the option to completely shut off Home view prevented Amazon from upselling to us, so this is an acceptable compromise to me.
I look forward to having 20 books in view, but that change hasn’t been implemented yet. For now, Home is not significantly different than the current version, though the Japanese version offers a Kindle tip at the bottom, nor is the library view. Now we have the option to toggle them both, an icon included for the most current read, and a convenient hiding system sheet to give greater screen real estate to a search field. Some folks might not see that last one as a win, but over all, I like the changes.
*had been updated
*nor is the library view any different than now.
It’s almost as bad as Twitter! Haha
Lesley smith says
What is the point of having View Lists when you cannot.
I am VERY UPSET about the changes made without my knowledge to my Kindle Oasis.
I already had trouble reading the very small font sizes for system font, About This Book, and Store book desriptions. (Similar problems in the iPhone Kindle app too.. nobody with Accessibility expertise on their team?)
The new update has these two DEFECTs:
1. Tiny system font size is EVEN TINIER now — unusable for me
2. Airplane Mode icon no longer has a slash so very confusing, unless you decode the miniscule label
3. Larger Layout device option does not actually increase system font size
I would like to have these fixed and if possible be able to side-load replacement font / icon for the above if they do not intend to fix. I use the Oasis a lot and this is a very large degradation of my device.
I am amazed they keep shrinking the font without an option of enlarging it. Many people switched to e-ink due to vision issues, so it’s a step backward to limit options for enlarging text for some people.
Nghe Phu Hao says
You can import OpenType or TureType fonts in your Kindle. Just copy your fonts into the fonts folder of the Kindle.
I’m glad Amazon is updating some of the features and I am happy with the updates to be honest with you. But to me it’s just a start. In addition to organizing the books a little bit better they need to give us some options in organizing the audio books. The Kindle keyboard had the best audible interface. So when doing the updates maybe Amazon should go back and take a few things from the earlier models that seem to be working. As of today I can not merge my books and audio into the same collection or even bring up the details of my audio books. I brought the Oasis to get all my books in one spot- but it is so tedious to use the audio books.
Maksym Mysak says
This update sucks. I can’t get back to my book current location if I use dictionary. There is no way to get back to the page you were reading. If you tap on the top of the page, you get some tools and arrow pointing back, but if you press it, it takes you to page 1 in the book. I can’t find the way around it. It stops me from using the dictionary and I really need it. PLEASE HELP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Agreed – was not alerted to the update and now I can’t go back no. So frustrating!
Margaret Karmazin says
I totally HATE the changes. Now I have trouble downloading new books, When I type something in “store,” it inevitably says no such book is known or whatever. I can only find and download new books from my computer. The update makes everything difficult to find and now I kind of dread reading my kindle before I go to sleep. Used to look forward to it. Might have to return to paperbacks with a clip on light.
Brian S. says
I am not a hateful person but I HATE this update and the loss of the back button. I was tempted to throw my Kindle at the wall. Reading a lot of reference material the back button was fast and a pleasure to use. I would tell everyone how great the Kindle was but now I won’t recommend it to anyone unless that back button returns. Maybe I’m old but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Carl Signs says
The search feature when using dictionaries requires an extra button push and when you type in a word the top two lines are missing from the updated list. I use The Million Word Crossword Puzzle Dictionary daily and the new update has made this unpleasant.
Jenny Mowatt says
My Kindle used to be so simple. I even explained the icons and buttons to my husband! Now I’m at sea and I don’t understand why things are so difficult. I have hundreds of books in my library but I can’t find a way to display them so I’ve forgotten what’s there. I may go back to paper books or buy another easier device, Any recommendations?!!
PS IT would have been polite to tell users about the changes!
I hate the update. I cannot find my most recently downloaded books, the sorting does not work correctly. I have hundreds of books but cannot find what I want to read. I hate the categories it has selected.. they make no sense.
Why is there no option to go back to previous versions?
I want an option to list my books in work form, not covers. Cannot see and read half of the covers because the contrast of light to dark is not strong enough. Did they think about color converting to black and white. I prefer lists to graphics, as it is quicker and faster to read. This has slowed down my kindle a lot.
I am finding that books I own and downloaded will not open on the Kindle (Oasis). I can read them on the app on my phone but not on the Kindle.
And I can’t delete the download and try again. The only options shown for these unopenable books are Mark as Unread and Permanently Delete.
What the hell is wrong with Amazon programmers .
They removed the text option to organize my kindle.
All I have is a bunch of cover pictures…in black and white…on a small screen !
IT’S A BOOK ! That’s a text based device in case the half wits at Amazon forgot.
We really need some compation.