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Amazon’s Kindle app gets a reboot with deeper Goodreads integration

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Amazon’s Kindle app got a fresh new look today, with changes to design elements that have been part of the book reader for the better part of the past decade.

“The actual visual design of the app hasn’t been updated in a very long time,” Kindle director Mike Torres told VentureBeat in an interview. “What we’ve done is integrated all the Goodreads feature sets and profile into Kindle, but you’re not creating a separate profile or social graph. All that stuff is Goodreads.”

The Kindle app for iOS and Android drops the hamburger menu for tab navigation, displays book in your library with larger images, and creates a new Community tab for Goodreads, Amazon’s social network for book lovers.

Both Goodreads and the Community tab in the Kindle app let you share notes and highlights from the books you’re reading or have finished reading, along with ratings and reviews. You can also like or comment on your friend’s post, follow friends, or follow friends of friends.

Goodreads in the Kindle app has been available in some capacity since fall 2016.

Social features were made a central part of Amazon’s book reader app, Torres explained, because books ideas come from people close to you.

“More than 50 percent of recommendations come from friends, family, close networks,” Torres said. “I don’t just stumble upon them. Somebody says, ‘Hey, you should read this’.”

Continued integration of Goodreads into the Kindle app seems to be making the Goodreads app less relevant. But one of the only Goodreads features Kindle has not yet integrated is the ability to participate in groups or form book clubs, something Torres said Kindle is considering for the Kindle app in the future.

Also part of the upgrade: a new Kindle logo.

“This scene of the kid reading under the tree, we’ve really zoomed in on that for the new icon to focus on that reading moment, to focus on that sanctuary that comes with a great story and being lost in that,” Kindle creative director Seth Micarelli told VentureBeat.

Persistent elements have also been added, like a permanent search bar at the top of the app, and should you choose to navigate to other tabs while reading, the book you were reading will be saved as a central element at the bottom of the application.

Aesthetic changes that have been made include a light theme option that’s off-white to look like an aging book, and two new font choices: Amber Bold and Open Dyslexic.

The new Kindle app launches just a week before the Kindle Oasis, a waterproof 7-inch reader that made its debut earlier this month.

This year, Amazon’s Alexa has been integrated into the Amazon shopping app and Amazon Music app. No Alexa integration was announced for the Kindle app, but the intelligent assistant has been able to read books to customers since January 2016, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat.

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