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Amazon Kindle readers and apps are getting an update today that should make it a bit easier to flip through the pages of your ebooks.

The feature, called Page Flip, is significant enough to Amazon that the company decided to organize a series of press briefings last week at its New York headquarters to unveil it. There, Kindle senior manager Amanda Font and product director Mike Torres walked us through the problem they hope to solve.


Above: Page Flip, shown on an iPhone

“I’m in this book. I’ve got some highlights here. Today, if I want to go look at a different page and look for something visually, I can kind of turn pages one by one and find a visual landmark, but then if I want to go back to what I was reading, I have to remember how many pages I went forward — it requires me to think a little,” said Font. “And so, Page Flip changes that and makes this a lot easier.”

Page Flip enables you to zoom out of the page you’re reading, swipe to another page — or even browse page thumbnails in a tile view — and then return to your original spot whenever you’re done. The feature maintains highlights and font styles, and makes it a bit easier to understand where you are inside of a book, without introducing a bunch of skeuomorphic design cues that probably wouldn’t translate well on an E-ink display.

According to Torres, Amazon believes nonfiction readers will find the feature most useful. “They sometimes read in a non-linear way — so they might read chapter four, chapter eight, and chapter nine — but they don’t have to read some of the other ones. And they also do tend to refer back to things.”

Amazon is walking its Kindle user experience back toward the usability of physical books, which remain a great, natural way to read and skim for information — even if they’re a tad clunky to carry around sometimes.

“More people are reading more often with Kindle [today] than ever before,” said Torres. If that’s the case, our bet is this update will be welcomed among users; it’s a nice change for existing Kindle fans, but also an excuse for the Kindle-averse to give the service another try.

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