Amazon Kindle owners can now set the lockscreen image to the cover of the book they’re reading. The long overdue Display Cover feature, first spotted by Engadget, was previously only available after jailbreaking your device (and a popular motivator to do so). Amazon says that it works with “most books, magazines, comics, and Manga.”
I’m not sure what the hold-up was – some kind of competitor’s patent or just laziness or whatever – but as someone who has been waiting for this feature for over 10 years now, I’d just like to say: fuckin FINALLY.
I’ve been reading a lot more books over the last couple of months. Physical books, I mean. I think this is partly A) coming out of baby/pandemic brain-fog and B) I’d forgotten how lovely it is to hold a physical book. Every time you see your book, every time you open it, every time you turn a page with it, you increase your connection to it. A well-beaten book is a well-loved book that’s been with you for a while.
Opening the Kindle and seeing a generic screen saver gives you absolutely nothing. It’s not cementing my relationship to the form or the content. This isn’t helped by the fact that the Kindle turns on immediately drops you where you left off with no indication of whether you’re near the end of the book or just getting started. Like getting dropped in an unfamiliar place with no map. You just have to keep going forward and eventually you’ll reach somewhere. It’s a handy feature, for sure, but my dumb lizard-brain gets something from the physicality of being able to feel where I am in a book. The Kindle’s attempt to address this – putting the % completed in the corner just fills me with anxiety. Kind of like the inverse of watching a phone battery percentage trickling down, why amn’t I making progress in this goddamn book?!
Spotify completely changed my connection to music (I could probably tell you the name of every song on every album I’ve physically owned – these days I couldn’t even describe the cover of albums I love that I’ve only listened to on Spotify), the Kindle changed my connection to the books I read. It’s not unusual for me to finish a book and not be able to tell you the name of the author. Hopefully for the sake of my already-overflowing bookshelves, this will draw me back to the Kindle as a device for reading again and my physical to-read pile (here’s a photo from last month – yikes) won’t grow any more.