Amazon released a new Kindle firmware update on Tuesday alongside the new Paperwhite. The update, which surprisingly didn’t download automatically, changes the layout for the Kindle’s home screen, and it also gives users the option to save your preferred reading settings as a custom theme.
You can see the new home screen at right. It is now about twice as long, and you can scroll up or down to see more ads. It is effectively 1.75 screens-ful of ads now, with the remaining quarter given to ebooks you already own.
In case you were wondering, yes, it is optional; those of us who prefer not to have advertisements on our Kindle home screen can instead display the traditional list of books. You can turn it on or off in the settings menu (Settings > Device Options > Advanced Options > Home & Library > Home Screen View).
The new “themes” option is going to be very useful to anyone who shares a Kindle. You can now set your preferred margin, font, line spacing, and other settings, and then save the settings as a theme. Other users can save their preferred setting as additional themes, and you can switch back and forth by selecting a theme in the “page display” menu.
Here’s what was listed in the changelog:
- Swipe-able Home: Swipe up on your home screen to see additional tips, recommendations, and more based on your reading habits.
- Easily personalize your reading: Now save multiple reading settings, selecting the font, boldness level, and orientation settings you prefer all from the main menu and quickly switch between those settings.
- Return borrowed books: You can return Kindle Owners’ Lending Library books from within your library by long pressing on a borrowed book and selecting return.
- Battery percentage: The percent of battery remaining is shown.
- Labels for the standard toolbar: Labels are added under each icon on the standard toolbar for improved navigation.
- Performance improvements and other general enhancements.