Updated Kindle app starts a book-reading revolution

by Ian Black

In case you haven't been keeping up with current events, there's a book-publishing revolution going on. Ebook reader device sales are exploding, and so is the proliferation of ebook apps. You might be thinking – so what? What does that have to do with traditional print publishing and your cherished bound paper books? Here's what – from an author's perspective, self-publishing now makes much more economic sense than it used to. This means some exciting new authors will publish only in ebook format, and even authors you know and love will publish some books only in digital form. For you to read these digital-only books, you'll need either an ereader device or an ereader app like Amazon's powerful Kindle for Android.

Amazon just released an update for Kindle for Android, version 1.1. This release sports several cool new features including the ability to search within an ebook for a word or phrase; search Wikipedia or Dictionary.com from inside an ebook; add, edit, or delete highlights; and lock the screen orientation to either portrait or landscape, so it won't rotate when you turn your phone.

Searching is fast and easy. You can search by voice or by typing on the digital keypad. My only complaint with this update is that when you jump to a particular page by tapping on one of the search results, you can't go back to the search results page.

Highlighting works seamlessly, and you can annotate highlights with your own text notes. It's also great to be able to leverage the encyclopedia-level depth of Wikipedia and the dictionary resource of Dictionary.com. Orientation lock is helpful when you're reading in a car, bus or train, where you might accidentally shift the phone position.

Expect all the other great Kindle book-shopping and reading features you either used yourself or heard about. All in all, Kindle for Android is a great app, and it showcases just how amazing mobile apps can be. Download it, and join in the book-publishing revolution.