Why The Kindle is Flawed

25 March 2017
25 Mar 2017
4 min read

One of my favorite tech products that doesn’t get enough attention is the Kindle. The e-ink screen along with the small footprint makes it my favorite reading device. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and love it, but because I love it I know the device’s flaws better than anyone.

The first thing that bothers me is how painful the store is to navigate. Taps sometimes do not register, the store gets stuck while loading different screens, and in the Recommended for You section I find that the Amazon store recommends books that are not the first entry into a series Why would I want to buy the fifth book in a series?1

Additionally in the Recommended for You section, I keep browsing books that I have examined and ignored at an earlier time. I would love some way to be able to hide books that are recommended, so that I don’t see them again. Reading the summary of a book repeatedly will not change my opinion on purchasing that book.

The second area that could be improved would be the grouping of books. Often I want to reread a series, yet if I search for the series title I can’t determine which book is first. Imagine a kindle that automatically grouped books in a series together. I should be able to search “Harry Potter” have have the kindle show me the entire list of Harry Potter books, in order.

Speaking of grouping, I would love tags while searching my library. Imagine if books were intelligently tagged based on data from the Amazon web store. Oftentimes I know I’d like to read a science fiction book, but I often have a desire to read a specific type of science fiction book. Imagine if I could search for a phrase like “I’d love a science fiction book with aliens and spaceships, with a focus on world building.” That would cut down on the time spent browsing my library, and allow me to spend more time reading.2

Finally, I would love better interaction with authors. Amazon owns the indie book market, but seems to pay no attention to it. I have to follow authors’ blogs on my own, resulting in a tangled web of extra chapters available, various book release dates stored in my head, as well as any spin offs or other blog posts that could have book related information. Amazon could completely control this market if they could allow authors to post updates to individual series. Imagine opening up one’s kindle and receiving a notification:

Author X just put out a new sample chapter for the Great Book Series. Would you like to read it now? (In case you forgot, here’s a summary of the first three books that you read) It’s expected to come out on May 5th! Get excited, and don’t forget to preorder!

That would promote user engagement, earning more money for both Amazon and the authors. These updates don’t have to be limited to sample chapters of upcoming novels either; they can be promotions for other work, notifications about book sales from your favorite authors,3 or just general updates.

The potential for the Kindle remains high. It is already so good at being a book reader; however, Amazon could really take it into the stratosphere with a few simple changes. This product has a bright future, and I look forward to seeing what Amazon does with it next.

  1. I’d default to always show the first book in a series, or something like that. ↩︎

  2. To be fair, Amazon’s Recommended for You section has the basics in place. I can search for just science fiction books or non fiction books that Amazon suggests for me. I’d love it Amazon could take searching a step further, similar to how Netflix recommends movies. ↩︎

  3. I think a notification like “We saw you read X by this author; did you know his other series is on sale for 99 cents?” would be worth its weight in gold. ↩︎

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