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Amazon’s new Page Flip feature for Kindle pins the reader’s current page while browsing. (Amazon image)

One of the most natural habits when reading a physical book is to save your place with a thumb or finger and flip through the rest of the pages to reference a related passage or graphic, or to see how much is left until the next chapter.

Amazon is introducing a new navigation feature for Kindle, called Page Flip, that aims to bring e-books closer that experience — saving the current place in the text while letting the reader quickly browse through realistic thumbnail images representing other pages in the book.

The company is rolling out the Page Flip feature starting today for Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets and iOS and Android apps. It’s an example of the Seattle company continuing to develop new Kindle features and devices despite its big lead in the e-book market.

“We take it very, very seriously, that we’re moving the reading experience forward,” said Mike Torres, Amazon Kindle director, during a recent demonstration of the Page Flip feature at Amazon’s newest office tower on the northern edge of downtown Seattle.

In tablets and smartphones, readers will be able to tap the screen to activate Page Flip, which shows accurate preview images of the preceding and following pages, letting readers quickly scroll through them. At the same time, a realistic thumbnail image of the current page is pinned to the bottom of the screen, letting readers tap to quickly return to their previous place in the book.

There’s also a bird’s eye view that zooms out farther to show multiple page images at a time, for faster browsing while still saving your place.

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The accuracy of the page images is key, letting readers recognize an image or the shape of the text on the page to find the right page.

“It’s that idea of place, and one of the tenets for the team was to keep you grounded and rooted, and understanding where you are,” said Amanda Font, a Kindle senior product manager, in a recent demonstration of the Page Flip feature.

On Kindle e-readers, the Page Flip experience is activated from the menu as an overlay on the text, with a similar page-pin feature, as well as page-browsing and bird’s eye views. There’s also a “chapter flipper” to quickly find the start of new chapters. In addition to the pinned page, the e-reader experience includes the ability to close out of the Page Flip overlay to return to the text on the page.

Although the new feature may be most used in non-fiction books, to reference a chart or an earlier chapter, company representatives note that it will also be helpful in novels, to check back with a map, for example.

The Page Flip update will be available for Kindle devices dating back as far as the 2013 Paperwhite, 2014 Kindle, 2015 Paperwhite, the Voyage and Oasis.

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