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Kindle Scribe Update Adds New Pen Options, Subfolders and More

The new update begins rolling out today.

amazon kindle scribe page with note on top
The Amazon Kindle Scribe update adds pencil, markers and more. 
Sarah Lord/CNET

Kindle Scribe owners are about to gain more drawing options on their device. Amazon announced Monday that the Kindle Scribe will get a software update with new onboard writing tools -- a fountain pen, marker and pencil, each with five thickness options -- that will be compatible with the built-in pressure and tilt capabilities of the Scribe pen. The update will be available to Kindle Scribe users beginning today. 

Amazon has also improved notebook organization in its latest update. You can create subfolders within notebooks, placing a folder within another folder. This could be particularly useful for students who group notes by semester in one folder and individual subjects in subfolders. 

Read more: Best E Ink Tablets for 2023: Read and Write With Ease

If you're a frequent notetaker, it'll be a bit easier to navigate your notes. The latest update features a "Go to Page" option in the notebook menu, which will immediately bring you to the page number you type into the search box. 

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The Kindle Scribe, released in November, is Amazon's first attempt at making a large-screen E Ink tablet. This 10.2-inch device has the same E Ink display as other Kindle e-readers -- such as the Kindle Paperwhite -- but also comes with a pressure-sensitive pen for writing and notetaking.  

The latest software update adds some essential improvements as the Scribe tries to catch up to E Ink tablets from Kobo, ReMarkable and others. For example, there are currently only two marker types on the Scribe: a pen and a highlighter. Both work well on the Scribe, but many E Ink tablets already come with many pencils and markers. This update addresses those shortcomings.

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However, Amazon has yet to fix some of the Scribe's most significant issues, including its difficulty handling PDFs and inability to write notes directly on any book or Word document page. Currently, Scribe users are stuck writing handwritten notes on a "Sticky Note" popup that gets saved to the "Notes and Highlights" section. This means you can't scribble in the margins of a book and will need to go to "Notes and Highlights" to see what you wrote. 

You can write directly onto a PDF but can't turn its pages if you are zoomed in to any degree. Instead, you have to zoom out to turn the page before zooming back in on the next page to read and mark up your PDF. 

In theory, these functional problems could be resolved with software updates. Amazon says it plans to roll out regular, free software upgrades for the Scribe in the future, but there is no indication of what those might offer.