Amazon expands WhisperSync, Self-Publishing for Kindles

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On Thursday, Amazon revealed a new Kindle e-reader, an updated Kindle Fire and two new Kindle Fire HD tablets. But the news wasn't all about speeds, feeds and prices.

Amazon also focused on content, and how you will have an easier time consuming it on new Kindle devices. Here's a quick look at what Amazon is doing for Kindle content:

Whispersync for voice, games

Whispersync, the Amazon service that syncs ebook progress across devices, is expanding to games and audiobooks. Game syncing will allow you to continue where you left off on new devices, so you don't have to start levels and game progress all over again when switching devices.

Whispersync for Voice works across text and audio books—of which there will be 100,000 new ones from Audible—so users can either read or listen. This means you can start listening to an audiobook your Kindle, and seamlessly jump to listening to the audio book on your phone or tablet right where you left off.

Still unclear and unanswered at Amazon's press event: Will these new sync features for games and voice work on non-Kindle hardware, such as Android phones with Amazon's Appstore installed?

Another new feature called “Immersion Reading” fuses the two book formats together, so users can read along with the spoken word. This is a feature Amazon touts as delivering "deeper learning and comprehension" to the reading experience.

X-Ray for movies, textbooks

While watching movies on the Kindle Fire HD, users will be able to pause the action and look up details about the actors on screen, using data from the Internet Movie Database. Books and textbooks will also have an X-Ray feature. Users can tap on any term in the book to bring up online sources of information, including Web pages, Wikipedia entries and YouTube videos. X-Ray will also allow you to tap a character's name or topics of interest in a book and the feature will highlight passages contained in the book that are related. This is a feature reference book junkies will definitely enjoy.

Kindle Serials

Amazon is also expanding its self-publishing platform for authors with Kindle Serials, an issue-based e-book format. Each Serial will cost $1.99, and covers all installments, with each issue appended automatically to the end of the current one. Readers can also react to Serials online, allowing authors to respond and adapt their series accordingly.

The service launches with eight Kindle Serials that will include murder mysteries such as the re-release of a number Charles Dickens original serial novels circa 1840.

This story, "Amazon expands WhisperSync, Self-Publishing for Kindles" was originally published by TechHive.

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