Kindle's New Social Media Features Sends Message:'You Are What You Read'

Kindle owners, or those about to purchase, get ready for feature updates for the latest generation Kindle and Kindle 3G devices. The free 'Kindle Software Update Version 3.1' is promoting an early preview release. In an effort to stay current with the social media milieu we live in, some of the new features are targeted to our networked communities, within and outside of the Kindle book  covers.

Some of the features included in the update are:

Public Notes -- This feature lets Kindle users choose to make their book notes and highlights available for others to see. Any Kindle user -- including authors, their fans, book reviewers, professors and passionate readers everywhere -- can opt-in to share their thoughts on book passages and ideas with friends, family members, colleagues, and the greater Kindle community of people who love to read. This is a new way for readers to share their excitement and knowledge about books and get more from the books they read. To review and turn on Public Notes in your own books, view the Public Notes of people you follow, track your reading activities, see Popular Highlights and your annotations, and view your full library of books, go to

Real Page Numbers -- Kindle is addressing a need they've heard from their customers who want real page numbers that match the page numbers in print books so they can easily reference and cite passages, and read alongside others in a book club or class. They've already added real page numbers to tens of thousands of Kindle books, including the top 100 bestselling books in the Kindle Store that have matching print editions and thousands more of the most popular books. Page numbers will also be available on our free "Buy Once, Read Everywhere" Kindle apps in the coming months. If a Kindle book includes page numbers, press the Menu key in an open Kindle book to display page numbers.

As you read, you'll see your progress displayed at the bottom of the screen as a percentage of the 'progress indicator.'

Before You Go ... -- When you reach the end of the book, you can immediately rate the book, share a message about the book with your social network, get personalized recommendations for what to read next, and see more books by the same author.

New Newspaper and Magazine Layout -- Kindle is introducing a new and improved layout for newspapers and magazines. This new layout gives you a quick snapshot of the news and helps you decide what you want to read first.

In the Sections & Articles view, you see the headlines of all the articles in each section. To see the Articles List of a particular section, navigate using the 5-way controller to "View Articles List" at the bottom of the screen.

The update is available for manual installation here. An over-the-air update will becoming to Kindle devices in the near future. In bringing more social engagement to the device, Kindle's new features will allow users to 'beef' up their resume and show off the books that not only make them look good on their Kindle profile, but allow them to communicate to their followers and fans on their social networks, as well.

For more on Kindle, check out my previous post , "Kindle vs Sony & Nook."