Kindles get the ability to flip through pages
Amazon is adding a new Kindle feature aimed at readers who find themselves frequently skipping back and forth among pages.
The aptly named feature, called Page Flip, is coming (with small variations) to Amazon's own Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets, as well as the Kindle app on iOS and Android phones and tablets.
The new feature starts rolling out on Wednesday via a free over-the-air update.
Page Flip has a singular purpose: to make it easy to hop, skip and jump around a book while saving your place.
You can skim past pixel-accurate thumbnails of every page in a book, tapping to zoom in on any of those pages or zoom out to get a birds-eye view.
But there's also a thumbnail pinned to the screen that represents the last page you read, making it easier to go back to what you were originally reading by choosing that page pin.
Though Page Flip can be used with any Kindle book, the feature seems most applicable for non-fiction.
These are typically the books in which you'd take the time to make notes or highlight passages. And these are often books that you don't have to read in a linear fashion.
Indeed, if it is a "how-to" book, you may want to consult charts, diagrams or just concentrate on the topics drawn in specific chapters.
And even if there is more of a linear story arc - perhaps a biography, if not a complex novel -you may want to refer back or skip ahead to photographs or quotes.
The notes, highlights, pictures, charts and so on that show up in Page Flip thumbnails all serve as visual landmarks since page layouts are maintained. So as you bounce around, by tapping or swiping, Page Flip gives you a good sense, spatially, for just how long a book is, kind of the rough digital equivalent of flipping through the pages of a physical book.
When you do want to go back to the last page you read, you tap the Back to XX thumbnail with XX representing the specific page in question.
Page Flip doesn't alter the other navigational tools that have been in Kindles for some time. You can still move page by page in either direction. You can still bookmark pages, jump to given chapters from a table of contents or menu, and with certain books, exploit an X-ray feature that lets you dig deeper into mentions of a specific character.