17
Dec
unnamed (6)

The ladies and gentlemen at Amazon would certainly prefer it if you read your Kindle books on a Kindle or a Kindle Fire, but for the several hundred million who have a regular Android phone or tablet instead, they've improved the eponymous app on the Google Play Store. Today's update to version 4.3.0 adds a few much-needed features, most notably better organization for your growing collection of books and other documents.

2013-12-17 15.59.31 2013-12-17 16.01.12 2013-12-17 16.04.49

You can now group books into user-created Collections, which is basically a digital alternative to keeping sci-fi on one shelf and fantasy on another. When selecting books to group into collections, you can filter by author or title, and a single book can go in more than one collection. Your selected collections should sync across devices just like your books and reading progress. This is a nice touch for avid readers, especially if their collections are so large that the regular list just doesn't cut the mustard.

There are some other additions that will affect fewer people, though those who see the benefit will certainly appreciate them. Kindle now handles Android's Talkback and Explore By Touch features for sight-impaired users better - I'm not a regular user of these features, but the app automatically advances pages when reading them aloud, the lack of which some users seem to have been complaining about. Publisher fonts, which are only supported when the publisher enables them, can now be turned on or off by the user.

2013-12-17 16.19.22

Finally, there's a new prompt when you reach the end of a book and back out which offers a simple five star scale review that publishes directly to Amazon.com. Unfortunately there's no way to leave a textual review. You'll also get a few suggestions based on other customers' reading habits.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Defenestratus

    It also makes you fucking login again and loses your current position in some of your books.

    • Paul Taylor

      Not just a regular login, then? How irksome.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

      At least it syncs across your devices, which is more than I can say for the Nook app. (Even though I like the Nook app much better.)

    • Bootleg Zani

      This is completely true. I logged in and lost the position of my current book. Luckily I clicked on the menu in the top left hand corner and went down to Books and then clicked on my book again and it had pop-up stating the last synch time so I was able to get that position back. Still what a pain in the ass.

  • Jiggy

    I think they will add support for 4.4's Immersive Mode a few decades from now.

    • AOSPrevails

      About time for all the book/manga reader devs to stop lagging and get Immersive Mode implemented on their apps.

    • Rob Hamilton

      All of Amazon's Android apps are well behind the curve. The recent overhaul of Amazon MP3 still has an overflow setting icon!

  • Andy Stetson

    Finally! My wife gets on average 2 free books a day, I buy maybe 3 a year. Collections will be my crap and her crap. done and done!

  • Doopliss

    Still has the bug that setting the brightness slider all the way down in the app doesn't make the screen as dark as the minimum system brightness. It makes reading at night on my Nexus 5 extremely uncomfortable unless I put the main light on in my bedroom.

    • Bad_Attitude

      Exactly! I have absolutely no need to adjust the brightness from the inside of a user app. You would think that at some point they would resolve all the bugs but I have to give Amazon credit for proving me wrong everytime I think that thought. Like new books Not showing up at the top of the recent books list, I've actually found books at the bottom of the list. WTH! And please, someone tell me why they decided to not use the system fonts anymore.For years the DroidSerif system font was being used and now I don't know what it is which is a major annoyance for me because forever now I've been using the Roboto fonts instead of the DroiodSerif fonts. I swap them out on all my devices so that the Kindle app will use them. "Turn publisher fonts on or off" how is that supposed to happen? I couldn't find that option so what the hell Amazon? I reverted back to 4.2.0. Awesome job you're doing there Amazon!

      • Nina

        Hi, i've got the same problem. How do i go back to 4.2.0 ?
        Thanks

        • Bad_Attitude

          I'd hook you up but I can't post a link apparently.

          • Nina

            Well, thanks anyway.

  • rap

    Collections is a much needed addition. I wish they would add so you can read the back cover or the amazon.com summary from the app. I have lots of books I've picked up free but then I don't remember what they are about.

  • Ano

    A week ago while checking this app out again I was kind of shocked how terrible it still was for reading ebooks in comparance to others like Moon+Reader, FbReader, Cool Reader (all epub) and Repligo (pdf). Very embarrassing coming from a company such as Kindle.

  • Matthew Skalecki

    I don't think Amazon is at all opposed to you consuming their content on Android devices. Their only concern is that you not use your device to consume non-Amazon content, which is an issue that the Kindles neatly do away with.

  • Rob Hamilton

    After all these years, the Kindle app *STILL* does not support any font options other than the hideous Droid Serif (I have yet to see this mythical "Publisher Font" show up on Android, they do show up on my actual Kindle e-reader, however.)

    I use Google Books almost exclusively, and have for the past few years. There are a bunch of font options, the margins show more of the text, there are no unnecessary headers and it supports immersive full screen. And the prices are typically identical to Amazon.

  • dee

    OK now my app isn't working I can't even read my books what's up with that

    • shonangreg

      Me too. The update logged me out, and now I can't fully log back in again. This update appears broken.

      • DeDe Waterman

        Same for me and i'm very upset. I can't do anything.

    • LWH

      I was getting "invalid item, delete and re-download" on some (not all) of my books. In a pleasant and helpful chat with amazon, they recommended I deregister the device from the app settings, uninstall/reinstall the app and re-login to amazon. This worked for me - hope it helps.

  • Fiona

    Neither could I find a way to enable/disable publisher fonts. How do we access this new feature? Not under Settings and not in the Fonts/Aa dialog box. Has anyone been able to access this new setting?

    • andy_o

      Apparently the publisher has to allow it, which like yours, my books' publishers apparently haven't.

      This ebook DRM business is fucking annoying. I just found out that on Google Play Books the copy I have of The Time Machine apparently comes with a complimentary 3 chapters of another book by another guy. The first few pages of the book telling you this promotion apparently can't be turned immediately, you need to wait a few seconds. It is repeatable, only with these first few pages, including the index to the promotional material (but not the index to the actual book, which comes before).

      I'll be stripping the DRM later and see if it gets fixed. Another thing I just found out that DRM prevents: web searching (and copying) more than just a few words. I'll be unDRMing my purchased copies of Google Books, thankfully now you can upload your own stuff. Hopefully they don't go all Amazon/1984 and delete them.

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