Amazon updates Kindle iOS app with X-Ray for Textbooks

Amazon refreshed its Kindle lineup last month ahead of Apple’s September 12 iPhone 5 announcement. One of the easily overlooked software features the online retailer also brought out: X-Ray for Books, Textbooks and Movies. In a nutshell, the X-Ray feature intelligently retrieves additional information when you tap an on-screen object, like a movie character, book passages, glossary and what not, also pulling related data from Wikipedia and YouTube to enhance your e-reading experience.

Likewise, X-Ray for Movies lets you learn more about the movie’s cast and characters by just tapping the screen, which produces relevant content by cinema site IMDb. In today’s update to its free Kindle app, Amazon is bringing X-Ray for Textbooks to iPhones, iPads and iPods…

According to Amazon, X-Ray for Textbooks gives you “instant access to all the most important terms and concepts in a book, with glossary definitions, links to relevant textbook pages”, plus some interesting content from Wikipedia and YouTube.

The free Kindle iOS reader app has been updated today to version 4.3 which brings with it the new X-Ray capability, better support for Japanese (including vertical text and manga), a new font (Caecilia) and the ability to read an e-book in the font publisher suggested.

Unfortunately, no word on when iOS devices will get X-Ray for Books. The Mac version also didn’t receive any X-Ray love today. Here’s chief executive Jeff Bezos demoing the X-Ray feature at Amazon’s September 28 press conference in New York.

What’s really interesting about X-Ray for Books is that it doesn’t require network connection because every book purchase contains embedded relevant Wikipedia content and other information.

X-Ray for Books is available on “many of the most popular print replica textbooks”, Amazon says.

Where do your e-books come from: Amazon, Google or Apple?