A Kindle software update lets you share ebooks with your family

Amazon started pushing an over-the-air update to certain Kindle e-readers on Friday, which means that the new e-reading features Amazon touted when launching its Kindle Voyage will soon be available for older Kindles as well, as promised.

The new features include:

  • Family Library, which gives people with Amazon accounts linked to family members the ability to read books a family member has previously downloaded.
  • Word Wise, a feature that makes definitions for difficult words automatically pop up above them, so readers don’t have to stop to look up a term.
  • Enhanced search, which now pulls results not only from your library, but also Goodreads and the Kindle Store.
  • About This Book, which provides information like author bios and other titles in the series as you start to read.

Amazon Word Wise

[company]Amazon[/company] is also pitching a few old features as new, enhanced features, including X-Ray and the ability to tap into various Amazon subscriptions, such as Kindle Freetime Unlimited and Kindle Unlimited. The update also brings improved Goodreads integration.

Unfortunately, if you’ve got a first-generation Kindle Paperwhite (which means you bought it in 2012 or the first half of 2013) you won’t be getting the most recent update. You’ll be stuck on version 5.4.4, whereas the new Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage, and the most recent low-end Kindle will all get 5.6.1.

If you don’t want to wait for the new features, you can manually install it by grabbing the update file from Amazon and plugging your Kindle into your computer.