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Here’s How Kindle’s New Read/Unread Setting Works

When Amazon announced the new Kindle a few weeks back, one of the features mentioned in the footnotes was that the new device would have the option to filter your library for books that you either had or had not read.

As you can probably guess, I was one of many who were excited to see this feature, and I couldn’t wait to see it (I even asked Amazon when it would be rolled out, but they did not respond).

Well, I have seen it, and I have a report from a Kindle owner who has seen it, and the feature doesn’t work the way I had expected.

I was sitting in my car this evening, reading on my Android smartphone, when the Kindle app used a pop-up to inform me that the app had the new Read/Unread filter. It seems the feature had been added in the late March 2019 update, but had only just been activated on my phone today.

I was at the Hanover Writing Club meeting to discuss the final details for their book festival next week (I organized the author gift bag) but since I still had a few minutes I immediately started playing with the new filter to see how it worked.

I had assumed that the "read" label would be automatically applied when I finished or nearly finished a book, and that does happen when you reach the 100% mark on an ebook.

But no one actually gets to that point unless they are testing the Kindle app for errors, and that’s why you can also mark an ebook as "read".  After some experimentation I found that I could mark an ebook as read, but only in the library, and not inside the ebook.

It’s great that there’s a manual option; this let me identify the ebooks I have abandoned so i can go back and delete them all in one go.

Have you tried the new feature yet?

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Mike Hall April 17, 2019 um 5:02 am

I normally only use my Android phone as an emergency reading device and had not recently opened the Kindle app. However, I just tried it and got the same pop up as you. Of course, this does not have the FILTER/SORT changes to the library page that have appeared on one of our Paperwhites (the other modern one and the Oasis have still not shown these changes, or the read/unread option).

Inspired by your comment I investigated the altered Paperwhite and found that you can switch the read/unread status using the same menu that includes "Add to Collection", "Remove from Device", etc. This is a bit more useful than Amazon’s automated process (especially as I normally go into this menu anyway after finishing a book as I will be changing some of the collections it belongs to, for example adding it to the "05 Book Has Been Read" collection).

Of course, this does not let me identify books I have "abandoned" part way through. I think I need a "Started but given up" collection for this.

LJ Cohen April 18, 2019 um 10:27 am

I have a collection called "Meh" for books I’ve abandoned. I don’t delete them for fear I won’t remember and buy them again!

Tom S April 17, 2019 um 3:43 pm

Because of the Read flag, I was able to retire my two largest and most unwieldy collections (To Read and Previously Read).

Note that it can also be applied to Personal Documents, Audiobooks (on Kindle) and Newstand items. The latter is especially helpful because there is no sync of reading position for those, and now it is easy to see at a glance which have been read.

I had expected Read status on audiobooks to be the same as Finished status in the Audible app, but they are completely independent. Some day, perhaps, Amazon will follow the lead of Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Nook and make one’s full library of audiobooks playable in the Kindle app (rather than just those the function as audiobook companions for immersion reading). It would be nice to be able to use collections with them, maybe there could be XRay features for audiobooks, etc.

Mike Hall April 18, 2019 um 6:00 pm

A short time after my previous comment this feature suddenly appeared on my wife’s Paperwhite and my Android tablet (though not yet on my Oasis). My wife shares my Kindle account (historic reasons, family library was not available when we started) but has Whispersync turned off on her Kindle (for the obvious reason).

The read status turned out to propagate quickly across my devices and even marked the cover images on the tablet (the same way Amazon shows them as "new" for a time). I assume that the "read" on the corner of the cover image will remain as long as I don’t change the status. As one would expect marking a book as read on my devices does not impact my wife’s Paperwhite where none of the books are currently shown as read, presumably because she does not normally reach 100% and anyway resets a book to its start when she’s finished with it. So the read feature is not much use at the moment and won’t be unless I can persuade her to update the status to read when she finishes a book. Even then, unless I go through and mark something like 1500 books as read it’s not going to help her find unread titles.

Irishnotsane June 2, 2019 um 11:08 pm

And for those of us who actually remember what we’ve read and haven’t read how the hell do you turn the dam think off?

Nate Hoffelder June 3, 2019 um 10:15 am

Can’t you just not use it?

Joe Ghirardi November 7, 2021 um 8:35 am

I don’t like the word "read".It can mean a book you haven’t started yet or a book you have finished.The percen complete was a better measure of what you did.

Marcia Crabtree August 8, 2019 um 1:40 pm

The read feature appears on my IPad Pro but not my IPad Air 3. Why not on my Air 3?

Ra November 25, 2019 um 10:59 pm

It told me it removed a book from my library because it was read. But I didn’t want it to. Argh!

Margaret June 1, 2020 um 10:04 am

I just received the latest PaperWhite Kindle in April . I have read two books so far but they have never gone to 100% when I finished them so they look unfinished. Why did they not go to 100% and if the kindle automatically labels a book as read when it reaches 100%, it will look like I have never read any of my books. I cannot figure out how to put them in my "Read" file. At this rate I will later never know if I have read a book or not when I go to my library. Please help.

Judy March 20, 2021 um 6:50 pm

If you go home and hold it should give you a bunch of options and I just hit the read on it snd shows as read but think that if you share family it might show there too on my daughters but I always look at the 97% and figure is hers so start it myself! My question is if you get a new kindle paper white or oasis Will the read carry over when downloading the library

Helen Feddema August 29, 2020 um 2:53 pm

On my new Kindle Oasis, apparently only books received after getting the new Kindle are automatically marked as Read — the books that were previously on my old Paperwhite all lack the Read icon. I was facing hours of manually marking them as Read, but I thought of using Content and Devices on the Amazon Website — that allowed me to check multiple books and mark them all as Read — a big time-saver!

Maureen Masten August 3, 2021 um 9:08 pm

Why do my Kindle books say they are 100% complete when I have not read them yet. And how do I return a book?

R J MacDougall February 2, 2022 um 1:08 pm

I recently gave my old kindle to my wife, all the books on it have been "read". Is there a way to automatically change all the books on the device from read to unread in one swell foop????

Tania Westlake March 7, 2022 um 5:08 am

So if it says read, that means I have read it?

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