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Amazon Issues Kindle Update With Family Sharing, New “Word Wise” Feature

by Todd Haselton | November 14, 2014November 14, 2014 9:00 am PDT

Amazon on Friday announced that it’s releasing new Kindle software that will begin to roll out over-the-air to the new Kindle, the Kindle Voyage and the Kindle Paperwhite eReaders. It includes several new features including “Word Wise,” family sharing, new X-Ray features and more.

The most compelling part of the update is a new option that lets you share books among family members. It allows two adults to share books while also managing the libraries of up to four child accounts. Technically, this should let you swap books with your husband, wife, roommate, highly educated dog, or whomever else you live with.

Amazon is also adding a new “Word Wise” feature that it says will help you discover the meanings of difficult words. The definition will simply hover above words that Amazon thinks are tough to understand, which will be particularly useful for children and folks learning English.

Another option, Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, provides unlimited access to books for a $2.99/month subscription fee, though it’s mainly targeted at children and includes “hand-picked chapter books and early readers.”

Finally, Amazon is also improving the Goodreads social-network integration, adding previews to search results and adding a new timeline view to its X-Ray for Books feature. The update should hit over the next couple of weeks.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...