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Amazon adds instant definitions, family sharing to newer Kindles

Chris Velazco, @chrisvelazco
November 14, 2014
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Remember all those new Kindle software features Amazon promised? You know, the ones that were announced alongside the shiny new Kindle Voyage? The company's been coy about when exactly we'd get them packaged up for our installing pleasure, but it's now ready to spill the metaphorical beans -- a software update will ferry those features to the Voyage, the new $79 basic Kindle and the second-generation Kindle Paperwhite over the air during the coming weeks... unless you want to just install the update yourself right now.

In case you've forgotten, this update's changelog is sort of a doozy: WordWise shoehorns brief definitions into the margins above tricky words to help you up your vocabulary, while Kindle Freetime Unlimited gives parents access to a wide swath of kid-friendly content for $2.99 a month. The most intriguing new addition is the most conceptually simple -- Amazon's Family Library lets people tap into the e-book libraries of "a spouse or partner," plus the ability to manage child accounts too. And the rest of it? They're mostly just tweaks to existing features. Now you can use X-Ray to bounce through all of a book's images, and then more easily share your progress through Pilgrim's Progress via Goodreads. Yeah, yeah, not every addition to the mix will upend the way you read, but we're definitely looking at a hefty batch of changes here.

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