Amazon Announces a Major Kindle UI Update

Posted on September 14, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon, Mobile with 10 Comments

Amazon hadn’t refreshed the UI of its Kindle eBook readers in five years, but the firm has quietly released a major update.

There’s no official announcement per se, but Amazon has posted a page to its retail site that explains the changes. They are:

Easier navigation. A new bottom navigation bar lets you switch between Home and Library. And as is the case with Android, Kindle now supports a pull-down menu where you can adjust the device brightness, toggle Airplane Mode, and quickly access All Settings.

Improved Home experience. Now, you can access up to 20 of your recently read books by swiping left from Home.

Improved Library experience. The Library sports new filter and sort menus, a new collections view, and an interactive scroll bar.

The update is coming to Kindle (8th generation and newer), Kindle Paperwhite (7th generation and newer), and Kindle Oasis devices, Amazon says. You will get it automatically over time, but if you have a compatible Kindle, you can connect it to power and check for update, and it’s likely that you will get it immediately.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Amazon Announces a Major Kindle UI Update”

  1. christianwilson

    I got this update on my Paperwhite last week. I like the changes overall. Navigation is easier, some features are quicker to access now, though in contrast, the UI feels a little slower than it used to.

  2. djross95

    Just checked on my Paperwhite, no dice...

  3. JacobTheDev

    Cool to see, now maybe we can get a Kindle with USB-C....

  4. seattlemike

    No love yet here on my Paperwhite

  5. dallasnorth40

    Just got it! My 7th Generation Paperwhite just made the cut.

  6. jdawgnoonan

    Pulling down right now on my Oasis.

  7. jwpear

    This looks nice! I look forward to trying it out.

    On the other hand, my 90-year-old grandmother, who is an avid reader/Kindle user, is going to have some trouble learning the new UI. She struggles with nearly every Kindle app and Kindle reader UI change. She's gotten confused between device and cloud list on more than one occasion, thinking some books are missing. Remembering how to discover hidden UI elements is especially taxing for her. It takes longer for her muscle memory to adjust.

    I know she's an edge case, but I do wish, for her sake, that there was a way to decline the update or configure some of the behavior. She gets upset and thinks she's dumb because she can't remember or figure out how to use things when they change. I wish developers would put more thought into a UX that also works for older users with some cognitive decline.

    • christianwilson

      There is something to be said for simplicity. My first eReader, a Sony Reader Pocket, had very basic UI functionality with minimal buttons.

      That Sony Reader had a simple list of books that were uploaded to the device and when you opened a book, it turned pages. That was it. Today, most of the time I spend on my Kindle is choosing a book and turning the pages.

      I do use some of the more advanced features. I do use the dictionary, I do some minimal highlighting, I work with the Collections features, and I rely on Whispersync because I also read on my iPad. I think there are a lot of people who need exactly none of those features. They just want an easy way to read a digital book.

      I don't know if Amazon would entertain this, but a Kindle with a minimal UI and featureset would appeal to a lot of people.

  8. Brent Morris

    Thanks for a value add article.

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