How could this happen? How could Microsoft and NOOK allow Kindle to release a Modern UI app before NOOK? Microsoft is in a partnership with NOOK now. I mean they spun off the NOOK business to a whole new company. I should be doing a sneak peek of NOOK on Windows 8, but I’m not. So let’s take these lemons and make lemonade.
This is what your new Windows 8 Start menu looks like. Well, give or take a few apps that I added.
I downloaded the Kindle app from the Store app.
Once you install Kindle, you’ll have an app tile that looks like this:
Click on that and you’ll launch into the Kindle Modern UI app. Logging in is the first order of business. Fill out your Amazon account email address and password and click Register this Kindle.
It is going to spend just a quick moment Loading… your Amazon library. You can see that there are a couple of initial options: Cloud, Device and Kindle Store. These function pretty much as you’d expect. Cloud represents the whole of your Amazon ebook purchases. Device represents just what you’ve downloaded locally to your Windows 8 PC. Kindle Store is where you can purchase more Kindle books.
After the Loading… has finished you’ll default to your Cloud library. I went ahead and downloaded some books locally so this next screenshot actually shows you what’s on my Device (Windows 8 PC).
“Wait a minute,” you may be thinking, “You skipped how to download books?”
Well, yes. But it’s very easy. Double-click the book to read it and it automatically downloads. Alternatively you can right click on a book and a menu will popup along the bottom and give you some options. Here, I’ll give you a screenshot.
There is something in Windows 8 called pinning. It allows you to pin things to the new Start page similar to how you’d pin things to your Start Menu or Taskbar in previous versions of Windows. The Kindle app lets you pin books to your Start page. You right-click on a book and that menu I just showed you will pop back up. I’m going to pin a new book by Benjamin Wallace called Dumb White Husband vs. Babies: A Guide for the Unsuspecting Father. There is an icon labeled Pin. When you click it you’ll see the following popup. You are free to name the book whatever you want. I decided to change the name of mine to Dumb White Husband vs. Babies.
The Pin icon turns to an Unpin icon and you’ve created your Start page shortcut to the book. Here is a screenshot of what that looks like.
And of course you can move things around to your liking.
If you click that pinned book shortcut then you’ll launch right into the book where you left off.
So that covers the launching titles portion of the event. The Kindle Modern UI app is pretty full featured too.
When you are in the text and right-click you’ll see the following menu:
Library takes you back to your book library.
Back takes you back to the previous page. Since I launched right into the book, I have no “back” to go to.
Go to takes you to a particular place in your book.
View gives you display options.
Bookmark will place a bookmark. Is that too “stating the obvious?”
Notes/marks will display any notes you’ve taken as well as show you where you’ve bookmarked.
Sync will sync both your reading location and your library. So if you just bought a new Kindle book on your PC and told it to deliver to your Windows 8 Kindle App this should force the process of download it. That said, I haven’t needed it. Newly purchased books have shown up as I’d expect.
And we’ve already covered Pin to Start.
Let’s look closer at some of those options.
Here are the Go to options
Here are the View options:
The least exciting option of all, Bookmark. Kind of a throwback to the days of paper, eh?
They also have a nice dictionary feature that pops up when you right click on a word.
Of course, it’s not perfect. There is no recognizing context.
Somehow I doubt the author was told that his heart would melt the first time his children called him a style and technique of a group of early 20th century artists. Or maybe he did. Who am I to say?
Now you can also select a whole block of text and choose to Highlight it or write a Note by right-clicking.
Highlight does exactly as you’d expect. It smears a nice highlighter yellow line over the text. In case you were wondering I wasn’t able to figure out how to change the color of the highlighter. Maybe they are saving that feature for another revision of the software.
Right-clicking and choosing Note brings up a Create Note textbox. Just fill it out and click Save.
The area you just noted gets highlighted in the same highlighter yellow as choosing the highlight text. The only way to distinguish the two is the fact that there is a blue note icon above the highlighted text.
The software keeps all of your highlighted and noted text organized in the Notes/marks option I showed you earlier on that option bar that slides down when you right click in the text.
The Notes/marks option will produce something that looks like this:
I think the Amazon folks did a great job of producing a very functional Modern UI app. I have to imagine that NOOK’s will be similar if not almost entirely the same. It’s hard to do too much radically different when considering what an eReader is supposed to do. But in this case, I’d be happy with a NOOK offering that provides this same functionality.
In closing, I’d like to thank Benjamin Wallace for letting me use his book’s text in my blog post. He’s a great guy who writes some truly funny books. You can reach Ben in the following ways. [ Twitter ] – [ Facebook ] – [ Website ]
And don’t forget to pickup his latest Dumb White Husband vs. Babies.
I’d be missing an opportunity to promote us both if I didn’t tell you to check out dumbwhitehusband.com and read my guest post on my wife trying to kill me running [ here ].
While I’m in the process of promoting some worthy folks let me also mention the woman who designed the cover for Dumb White Husband vs. Babies along with many (all?) of Ben’s other books. That woman is Patty Wallace and you can see her samples and contract her to design your book cover or branding all from MonkeyPAWCreative.com.