If your big problem with ebooks is not remembering which book you’re in the middle of – or not getting to leave the book out so that other people can be impressed you understand molecular biology or iambic pentameter – there’s good Kindle news today. Amazon is tweaking how the lockscreen of its Kindle models work, replacing the usual screensaver on select versions with the cover of the current book-in-progress.
Currently, what shows on the lockscreen of your Kindle depends on whether you have an ad-supported model or not. On those with ads, Amazon uses the display while idle to show promotions. Those without ads, meanwhile, see various different preloaded wallpapers, which cycle through each time the ereader goes into standby.
Now, if you have a non-ad Kindle, you’ll be able to optionally turn on the new “Display Cover” option. It’ll mean the front cover art of your current book, magazine, comic, or Manga is shown instead of the default wallpapers. The update to enable that is rolling out over the coming weeks and will be offered globally, Amazon says.
Once it’s installed, you’ll find a new option in the Kindle settings, “Show Cover” – toggle that on, and you’ll get the book art.
That is, assuming you have a compatible Kindle. Initially that list includes the Kindle (8th, 10th Gen), Kindle Paperwhite (7th, 10th Gen), Kindle Oasis (8th, 9th, 10th Gen), and Kindle Voyage (7th Gen). They’ll also need to be the non-ad supported versions.
Should you have an ad-supported Kindle, it’s actually possible to upgrade that via a one-time payment to do away with the lockscreen commercials. That costs $20, and you can either do it yourself via the online Kindle management pages, or via contacting Amazon customer service. It’s worth noting that there’s no actual functional difference otherwise: Amazon doesn’t show adverts within books, only on the lockscreen when the ereader is in sleep mode and at the bottom of the home screen.
Of course, one other thing to consider is just whether you actually want other people to see at a glance what sort of books you’re reading. If – as apparently has contributed not-insignificantly to the growth of ereader sales – you’re a fan of steamy romance novels but didn’t want the obvious covers to give away your tastes in fiction to anybody who glanced at your nightstand or coffee table, for example, the idea of having them show up in E Ink monochrome may not, in fact, be so appealing. To that we say, pssh, embrace your reading preferences: after all, romance novels are currently propping up the rest of the publishing industry.