Do you ever wish you could thumb around an eBook like its real paper counterpart, flicking through the pages to look for a particular passage or image? Or maybe you just want to skim ahead to find out how much further before a chapter ends?
Despite the skeuomorphic page turn animations and, not to mention, the digital conveniences an eBook has to offer, this is one of a traditional book's tactile "features" that it just can't match... or can it?
Starting Tuesday, Amazon is rolling out a handy new feature for Kindle eBook readers to address precisely that. Dubbed as Page Flip, it is a navigation tool that lets you peek quickly through an eBook's pages while "pinning" the page you are currently in. Think of it as the virtual version of flicking through a physical book's pages to skim to a section while keeping a finger on the page you are currently at.
Available as an over-the-air update for Kindle eReaders, Amazon Fire tablets, the iOS and Android Kindle apps, Page Flip is, according to Amazon, "a reimagined Kindle navigation experience that makes it easy to explore books while always saving your place."
To activate Page Flip, just tap on the center of the page. This will show a zoomed-out tile of that page and swiping to the left or right will move you quickly through similar preview tiles of the eBook's other pages. The old font, annotation, sharing and bookmarking buttons remain on the top, while the bottom area still has the progress bar.
On the bottom corners, Page Flip also displays a small thumbnail of the page you were previously in and clicking on that thumbnail instantly returns you to that page. The app saves up to three previous points represented by dots on the progress bar while the thumbnails dynamically change depending on how much further you are in the eBook.
Below the thumbnails, the bottom left corner of Page Flip is also home to a grid view option. This gives you a bird's eye view of the eBook with even more page tiles on a 3 x 3 grid.
Flicking through the page tiles is smooth and responsive and is definitely quicker than virtual page turning. Although not exactly the same as physically thumbing through a real book, there's a certain equal tactile satisfaction swiping a finger across the tiles. I could see the worth of scanning the full page tiles when referencing book images, charts and maps or skimming through the last pages of a chapter.
Amazon states that Page Flip is now available on millions of books but from my testing, none of my older Kindle eBooks has the feature yet. To shop for Kindle eBooks with Page Flip, make sure you look for "Page Flip: Enabled" on its features list.
Amazon's Page Flip information page also has the selection of Page Flip enabled eBooks. Just download a sample if you want to try out the new feature without a purchase.