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A big update brings the Kindle Scribe closer to being good

A big update brings the Kindle Scribe closer to being good


The note-taking experience still could be a lot better, but at least now it’s more organized and efficient.

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A person holding an Amazon Kindle Scribe.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

It’s almost an understatement to say Amazon’s Kindle Scribe fell short of our expectations when it first launched, but perhaps there’s hope yet for Amazon’s first 10.2-inch e-reader and writing device.

Today, the company launched four new Kindle Scribe features mostly focused on improving the lackluster note-taking experience. Truth be told, they’re relatively minor updates, but any change helps.

First up, Amazon introduced a “Bird’s Eye View” button in the Kindle Scribe Notebook app, which you can access from the top menu when you’re on a notebook page. Clicking on it gives you a preview of nine notebook pages and also allows you to quickly add, delete, or move any of them around. You can also swipe to the next nine pages for faster navigation.

A preview of a few pages in the Kindle Scribe’s notebook app
You can now preview notebook pages.
Image: Amazon

It’s not all new notebook features, though. Amazon also added a new PDF contrast slider feature that, theoretically, should make it easier to read some PDFs. Meanwhile, Microsoft 365 customers will now be able to read and annotate Microsoft Word documents on the Kindle Scribe via the new Microsoft “Send to Kindle” button.

On the reading side, Amazon also fixed a glaring issue: you can now display content in two columns when you’re reading in landscape orientation. That was a feature that already existed in the iPad’s Kindle app, but for some reason, the Kindle Scribe lacked it at launch.

Today’s new features arrive two months after Amazon added subfolders and a “go to page” option for notebooks. That same February 2023 update also brought more fountain pen, marker, and pencil brush types with five thickness levels. Combined, all of these changes make for a slightly more organized, flexible, and efficient note-taking experience.

However, they still don’t address a few of the main complaints my colleague Alex Cranz raised in her review. You still can’t, for example, sync the notes you make while reading a book on the Kindle Scribe to the Kindle app on your phone or browser. Notebooks sync, but you still can’t type up any notes to them from another device, nor can you convert your handwriting to text as you can on Kobo’s brand-new Elipsa 2E.

Nevertheless, these small changes are steps in the right direction. Hopefully, Amazon will make more strides in future software updates.