Last month Amazon released a new software update, version 5.13.7, for all Kindle ereaders released over the past 6 years, and it’s causing a lot of frustration with Kindle users.
In fact I’ve never seen so many complaints about an update before, and I’ve been running this website for over 12 years. The update didn’t add any new features, but they made a lot of small changes to the user interface to make it more like the Kindle apps for iOS and Android, and according to Amazon more changes are coming.
A lot of people seem to really hate the new user interface, and the Kindle software team should’ve seen this coming. Suddenly changing how things work on devices that people have been using for 5+ years is a bad idea if you don’t give users any choice over the matter. I can see why people would rather stay with the familiar interface they’ve using since getting their Kindles.
Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t give us a choice in the matter so there’s not much we can do about it. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to complain about the update but it’s probably not going to do any good.
Fortunately it’s not all bad. One of the advantages with the new update for ad-supported Kindles is it removes the banner ad from the homescreen and library view. Now they only have screensaver ads after the update instead of both.
Below is a list of the top complaints with the new update. Maybe Amazon should’ve saved the new interface for new Kindles and left the old ones alone…
Top 3 Complaints
1. Back Button Removed – The biggest gripe with the new update seems to be the removal of the back button. The functionality to go back within books is still there for the most part, but it works differently after the update. You need to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to use the page dial with arrows and dots that signify previous locations. The old back button was a lot more intuitive, and it also worked for things outside of ebooks.
2. Homescreen Recommendations – After the latest update, the homescreen view can no longer be disabled so you now have to see Amazon’s recommendations on the homescreen, even if you paid $20 extra for a so-called “ad-free Kindle”. You can still switch to Library view manually, and it will stay there for the most part, but there are times when the homescreen cannot be avoided.
3. List View – If you prefer to use list view on your Kindle instead of cover view, you’re likely going to be disappointed after the update because list view now only shows five titles at a time instead of 7.
Ways to Prevent Update
There’s really only one way to keep your Kindle from updating to the new software and that’s to keep it in airplane mode. You can probably get by with turning Wi-Fi on to quickly download new books, but eventually the update will probably get downloaded anyway.
Unfortunately there is no way to disable updates on Kindles and there is no way to downgrade to older software, unless you have a jailbroken device and even then it’s not easy.
Amazon has a page up about how more changes are coming to the user interface and homescreen soon so hopefully there will be some improvements with future updates.
Can you please elaborate on the missing back button? Does this mean you can no longer go back one page by clicking on the left side of the screen?
You can still go back one page that way; it’s the back button on the menu bar that is now gone. It remembered multiple locations so you could easily go back to previous pages when jumping around to different parts of a book. Now you have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access a different menu, which only saves one previous location with an arrow, and then you to have to use dots on the page dial to go to other earlier pages. It’s much less intuitive this way and I think that’s why so many people are having problems with it. It doesn’t help when Amazon gives no explanation about any of the changes whatsoever so people are left to figure these things out on their own.
Marc Wilson says
The biggest problem for me is that if you carch a link by mistake, you can’t just go back, you have to find the right page by pagibg through the book again; I’ve lost 10 minutes at a time this way.
And there seems no way to jump to a specific location any longer
I’ve resorted to buying an old (not updated) device off eBay, which I will keep perpetually in airplane mode and add content via my laptop. Which makes my 10g Oasis just an expensive paperweight.
I am frustrated as well. The new update won’t let me have access to my library unless i turn my device off and then back on. GRRRRR!
New interface is similar to Kindle for Android and iOS interfaces… Perhaps they are preparing users to possible future eInk Kindles running Android and using the Android App.
Audun Nes says
I read most of my books on Kindle Paperwhite 1st gen, but all graphical novels on Kindle app on iPadOS. I have been doing this for a few years now, but I still haven’t gotten used to the iPadOS app. 🙂
I think the best thing to do is to contact chat/CS and to ask to forward your thoughts. I did that as suggestions for future updates and my opinions on this current one. The email I received following up stated they forwarded it to developers.
I was concerned about the update after hearing all the griping about it. However, I for one like it. Or at least I do not hate it.
Another problem is lack of covers for sideloaded e-books
I’ve tried once with no success, but YMMV
Cheems C says
Just use Calibre! It works great when converting from epub to azw3, and the cover always remains. 🙂
I really don’t have a problem with the new update. I find that accessing the VoiceView is much easier than before. I also appreciate the X button that when pressed you go back straight to the book. Before you had to use either the home button to then reopen the book or press the back button, which only went back a few times. Usually I ended up using the home button to reopen the book. So I really don’t miss the back button. I sorta think the book icon in the center of the bottom of the screen is kinda pointless. The book is right there on the screen. tap that and you go back to your book. I have noticed that it is a little slower to open books from the home screen, even if previously opened. But not enough to be a problem. I think people just don’t like change, as you suggested in the article. Maybe it would be nice to allow users a switch to switch between old interface and new interface. Have to give them credit for continually supporting their devices and trying new things out.
Larry Clark says
So far the update hasn’t found my old Kindle Voyage — so I’m happy. I sent my Oasis away and tomorrow will begin comparing a Paperwhite side-by-side against the Voyage. The Voyage is nicely functional as a reader and unless the Paperwhite has some magic, it will probably get returned and I’ll stick with the Voyage until the end of 2G/3G.
Can you help. My Kindle touchscreen has been updated. Now it will download books from amazon but no others like bookhip.com ect.
Where do I go to be able to put a code in. Please help
I don’t love the update layout but it’s mostly ok I will get used to it but my 9th gen has frozen several times and I needed to power button reboot after It was non responsive.
It’s struggld several times to open books.
I’ve not had any crashes with the new update on my Kindle PW4. I like the new interface because I can get to my library and current book faster if I leave the book and go to a menu for some reason. Losing the adds at the bottom of the screen on home view is nice.
I do miss the menu while tapping on the top of the screen there was a “Go to” button to push. Now it’s just an icon. It still works the same but for now I have to think which icon is what when looking at that menu.
I’m impressed that the PW3 is also be getting the update. I sold/gave mine to a friend as her first Kindle and it’s still in Amazons support group.
It looks great! Just my opinion, but I think they’re getting Kindle devices ready for Kindle Vella and that’s why they’re going in a more iOS/Android style.
Mark Goldfield says
I also very much miss the back button on the new Kindle software. It is especially annoying when I am looking through the results of a search, such as all books by a particular author. If I open one book, I have no quick way to return to that list. I need to go back to Library, repeat the search, open the list, and scroll down the multiple pages to the next book I wish to look at. The loss of a generally functional back button and the reduction of how many books can be listed on one page are great nuisances for those of us who have a large collection of books.
Having no choice but to get used to the new interface, it’s mostly fine now and it feels cleaner.
After living with it for a while I can say that these are the biggest issues for me:
1) loss of back button
2) fewer books listed on a page
3) PW now sometimes lags when opening books.
Have to admit that the currently reading book displayed on the bottom does make it easier to go back to reading.
Larry Clark says
The “Suggestions” on the Home screen are consistent with Amazon’s ongoing efforts to turn every view possible into an advertising platform — no matter what they call it.
This is exactly what they did over the years with Prime TV on any of their Fire TV products. The portion of the screen you used to select your streaming services got smaller and smaller. In April they pushed another update. After that operation, the only part of the screen that I really want use when I get started was reduced to about 3.5% of the of the screen’s area (I measured it). The rest of it is flooded with adverts, “suggestions”, and icons for apps I never used.
I deregistered my two Fire TV products, tossed them in a box, and purchased and installed Roku devoces. This speaks strongly for looking at other e-book readers, though you don’t have any choice (that I’m aware of) if you want in-device cellular download capability.
You can’t be mad at Amazon, really. These devices are made to make reading more accessible, which includes their bookstore. You can buy other devices but they don’t have the support that Amazon provides. Switching from the home view to the library view doesn’t take any effort either. The thing that I do find difficult is using the bookstore on the kindle. If they are trying to make it easier to buy books from them, then they should work to make the store experience a bit better. I do end up going to the webpage to make any purchases. I hardly ever use my kindle to buy a book. Maybe the following updates will improve the storefront on the kindle.
Heidi S says
The update solved the battery display issue. it will show charging up to 98%. drove me nuts now it reads 100% when i charge
Maxwell Roberts says
My wife is not the most computer literate and the latest Kindle update is a disaster for her! We have Amazon Prime (not the book version) and her free books menu has now gone among other things. I tried locating some of the features she was used to in the past, but like her, with no success. Dreadful!
That’s awful – I’m sorry for your wife. I am confused why they limited options for store in the menus a bit as I like that feature. With how big they are all on ads, you’d think that’s one thing they would have left alone.
I too am like your wife, not great with technology. I was use to the setup and knew exactly where and what I wanted to do.. I absolutely hate the new update, not really sure if I’ll use it again. I don’t need to struggle to read a book, this is just wrong for them to do this. We should have been given the option to upgrade or not. Very mad and disgusted with the whole situation. 😡
Arlene G says
I agree. It’s too difficult to figure out. Why aren’t we given a choice as to whether to update?
Somebody please tell me how/where to go for download and insert code
William Plummer says
I agree that this update is bad. Often my kindle waterproof paperwhite jumps to the wrong page while it is turned off. I get around that problem by using bookmarks. With this new update the bookmark rarely goes onto the intended page, but jumps forward or backward. When I want to remove an earlier bookmark, and touch the bookmark icon, I no longer get the box showing the earlier bookmark until I touch the page again, between the bookmark icon and the smaller displayed page. I don’t think the developers can defend random page jumps when installing a bookmark!
John Williams says
I wouldn’t mind so much about the recommendations if they weren’t so wide of the mark. I downloaded ‘How to talk so kids will listen’ and now every recommendation seems to relate to that, completely ignoring the hundreds of books I’d downloaded previously.
James Corr says
I’m also not happy with the new updates. It used to be that I could just go to one screen to adjust the brightness or go back to a different chapter. It’s made it a LOT less user friendly. Any idea why Amazon thought these were “improvements”?
They weren’t thinking
Susannah Verney says
The Kindle update has created a big problem for me, which no-one else here has mentioned. Basically, nothing works on the Kindle any more. When I press ‘Home’ or ‘Library’, nothing happens, same with settings. So I can’t access any of my books or read anything. My Kindle has become useless and I’m cut off from my extensive library of books.
Have you tried rebooting your Kindle? (Hold the power button down for awhile).
Lizzie Burgh says
I had the same problem but rebooting my Kindle brought everything back again.
I’ve bought a number of sets of books this “new and improved” update will not allow me to open the collection of books. The so called “Upgrade” stinks. I wish I would have known this was coming, I would never have bought a new one. My friend was in the market for an eReader and I told her don’t bother buying a kindle, they are not worth the price or aggravation. I cant even buy a cover for my new kindle. And let me tell you, I will not last because the plastic is slippery and slips right out of my hands. I will be back to buying books again before I buy a new kindle
Elizabeth Thomson says
I have the same problem plus whilst on a couple of occasions whilst reading the kindle suddenly changes screen and I can’t find a way to get back to the story. I can no longer find my list of books etc., etc. In truth, I much preferred my old kindle instead of the paperwhite touchscreen. The only good thing with the paperwhite as far as I am concerned is the light but that doesn’t make up for this detestable update.
The same thing has happened to me. It updated and now nothing seems to work. All my books have disappeared. The 3 dots in top right don’t do anything. Home screen doesn’t really work. Nothing on there at all and can’t find where the store is to buy any new books.
Just following up on my last message. I went to settings and thought I would try a restart before a complete reset. After the restart, all my books reappeared and the store started to work again.
Tony Patriarche says
It seems to me they’ve tried to combine Android features into Kindle, resulting in a ba****d UI that is neither Android or Kindle. Besides the back button, which I used to use A LOT (now I can completely lose my place), the biggest setback is no Goodreads button from within a book. Now I have to manually type the title of the book into the Goodreads search box and find my book in a potentially long list. As soon as some hacker comes up with a patch that will revert this unnecessary, unwanted and disastrous change I will go for it.,
luann williams says
I do not like the paperwhite update! Apparently, there is no way to customize the reading experience. I liked to know where I am in my book with the percent of progress option. Sure, there is still a button for reading preferences, but nothing is there to do so! I can usually embrace change easily, but this so-called ‘upgrade’ limited the choices and experience! I read my Kindle every day-total bookworm, I can read 2 books a day-and these changes are annoying.
Georgia Constant says
Very glad to have found this. Thank you, will be viewing more. I was distressed when I realized what this sudden unasked for update (BOOM) did on my newest one (5.13.7) I keep another older one going too, one upstairs one downstairs. I prefer the old one not only because it’s the familiar workings, but oddly enough it’s less glitchy. The new one will jump around occasionally and do weird stuff altogether, while the old one only did that very occasionally but not so “off the wall.”
As noted, I paid for the add free with both and find the advertising of the samples I have distracting. Took me a while to figure out the book I am reading is pictured in a thumb size at the bottom. Still not straight. When using the new one I find myself using my time playing with it trying to get familiar. eeek. Will try not to stress and just get lost in a book, right?
Where the hell is the Go To button?! I’ve just spent 15 minutes googling around to try to find it, and I can’t! I was an early adapter of Kindle, an enthusiast: this is the very worst update I’ve ever seen!
It’s at the top of the table of contents list (the three lines on the top menu).
It’s even worse for my daily New York Times subscription than books. Very limited options in moving from story to story and access to directory of sections and stories. Very frustrating and disappointing.
I know I’m late, but for some reason the update just hit my Oasis. I found the menu that replaced “Go To”, but it no longer has ‘last page read’ as an option. (Sorry if that’s not what the exact text was, I can’t remember even though I must have used that option a thousand times). This is messing me up so much! It sounds silly but I like to go back and check things, search for words, etc. I keep losing my place and taking forever to find it again. I am trying to remember to use bookmarks but I’m just not used to it. I hate reading for 10 minutes and then spending 15 minutes finding my place!
Can anyone help me? I googled it but couldn’t find anything. I can go to a chapter/section beginning, a page, or a location, but I can’t just go back to the last page I was on if I don’t remember the page number. I feel like I must be missing something because the kindle certainly still knows what my last page read was…
Help! I store my books in collection by author’s name. After the update a load of my books have been put in my library under series classification and I can’t get them back into collection under the author’s name. I click on the series classification but it doesn’t come up with the add to collection option on the three dots. I’m pulling my hair out!
Megan T Fleming says
I HATE this latest version of software and I have NEVER been anything but pleased with ALL other updates! They got this SO, SO WRONG. PLEASE, AMAZON, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR KINDLE FANS. We made you the one and only ereader in the market. Now you’re making us pay?
I also hate this update on my Kindle Paperwhite, now version 5.13.7. I cannot make the Library and Home options appear at the bottom of page, I swipe and tap to no avail. I have to press the button and restart the Kindle. I cannot locate the Aa menu, there is no GO TO icon, I can’t find most things and if I do happen to locate something I don’t know how I got there as it was so convoluted. I would like the option of reverting to the previous version. I am advising other owners not to turn on the wi-fi and thereby avoid the update. All the joy of using my Kindle has gone, I either need to revert to actual books or buy a different brand of e-reader.
Amazon – do something to fix this.
PROXY SERVER says
I have been a Kindle fan since the 1st generation release and I’ve been extremely pleased until the 126.96.36.199 update at the beginning of December. After that update, my Kindle hasn’t worked properly and requires that I hard restart it to exit an app. I have hard reset it, but nothing seems to resolve the issue.
Joseph Bergman says
Try going back in article view in a magazine. does not work. Page by page works, but if you nod off and have advanced to the next article getting back is difficult. Don’t know why touching the bottom automatically goes to the next article as opposed to going to the old page navigation slider. Even the option to touch the bottom to also go back an article would be nice.
Robert H. Gowdy says
With the new UI, about half of the books in my library stopped working, including the book that I had been reading. I tried all the suggested remedies and finally had to reset and re-register my kindle, which removed all of the 900 books from my library.
I re-downloaded the book I was reading from Amazon’s content and device cloud. I can read the book now, but cannot figure out what the library is good for since I have no way to access my collections.
I absolutely hate my Paperwhite now! I will never buy another one. I have stopped giving them as gifts. Are Amazon and their developers a bunch of idiots?
They just don’t read on kindles. They seem to be trying to make it more like an app rather than a purely reading-focussed device.
The update is terrible, I’ve managed to get around most of my gripes (after wasting hours working out how) but no back button is a shocking error.
Enforcing cover display on a low-res monochrome device is the sort of idiocy that app developers would think was good, on their high-res colour screens. All it does for us is waste space and make it harder to see your books!
Alice K Sutton says
I agree completely!
I’m very much disturbed by the update. The absence of a back button is indeed very trying. Even worse is the changes that have been made to the Library list. As other posters have remarked, anyone with a large collection of books now finds it impossible to trace titles. The only solution I have found so far is to open Kindle on my smartphone, where the lists and collections are still (long may it last!) user-friendly; once I’ve found what I’m looking for, I go back to the Kindle and use the Search facility to find the book. A cumbersome workaround, to put it mildly.
I too am thinking of getting a different e-reader, as I’ve developed a strong resistance to using the Kindle, given this preposterous, ill-considered and totally retrograde update.
I, too, hate this update, for all the reasons previously cited. Is there any good alternative to Kindle? With access to Kindle unlimited? How about options to return to earlier systems?
Why have they done this. Please Amazon give us the option to go back to the old version. I hate this one! Not user friendly, not easy to navigate books. I have had three kindles since they were first launched and I love them. My kindle goes everywhere with me. Please recommend another e-reader similar to old kindle if you find it. Amazon you are the pits!
Alice K Sutton says
As of May 2022, I still hate all the changes. and I believe that kindle software is now designed by people who don’t read books on the kindle. Thank goodness my mother has a kindle so old, it isn’t affected by all the updates, because she would be unable to adjust to them. WIth her poor eyesight, she needs the large font to read books.
The display of books on the amazon website, showing cover pages, and fewer books, also is obviously designed by people who don’t read books.
Paulo Abrahamsohn says
Having been using Kindles for a long time I became disappointed with the last update. Presenting the covers of the books takes a lot of space of the Kindle window (not to mention the ugly black covers). The list is much easer to search for books and there more books occupy each page without the ugly covers. Seems that the update was developed by people who do not know well the Kindle and how people use it, otherwise they would know better..
I have spent the last two months trying to find things on my Kindle Paper White since it was “upgraded” and, having read the above comments, I realize I am not alone with really hating it. Not only did my personal organization of MY LIBRARY get messed up, I find it impossible to place books in my files/categories — sometimes they will move and sometimes they won’t. But my biggest issue is that I cannot get just authors and titles to show. I don’t need low-resolution, grey-tone images of paperback book covers! Half the time the titles and author names can’t be read (too pale and/or covered by cute little reminders of ‘new’ or ‘23%’. And only 6 show at a time. And then one has to ‘scroll’ down, which is much, much slower than the old click method. It shouldn’t take a half hour to locate and select a book from MY LIBRARY. I capitalize that because these are all books I purchased and loaded onto a device that I purchased, which I had carefully organized so I would know where to find them when I wanted them. That organization is pretty much gone. I actually get eye strain trying to read some of those covers. Who uses book covers to select a book? Covers aren’t ‘identifiers’ — every different publisher, every different edition has a different one. They are eye-catchers. Colorful, scintillating, designed to draw your eye to the book so you can then read the the title and author. Displaying book covers is a gimmick used to attract readers to books being pushed by a store or library (new releases, books on sale, special topics, etc.) But it limits the number of books one can actually see. And the low-resolution grey tones on the kindle just don’t cut it — not eye catching, but eye-irritating. Bookstores and libraries store their books by category on bookshelves, spine out, not cover up — It saves a lot of space and makes it much easier for readers go to the category they are interested in and scan the authors and titles to find one that sound interesting. If we want more information, we look at the descriptions on the inside flap of the cover, not the picture. Kindle readers should have the same option.
the worst for me is that it is much harder to access the table of contents and the table of contents is abbreiviated and therefore somewhat useless. It’s also then very difficult to navigate back to where you were. It becomes so impossible I want to throw the damn thing out and read on my ipad.