Things that suck about Kindle

On the whole, while reading a book I’m more than happy with my Kindle. But I regularly find things that annoy me about the rest of the Kindle experience.

Kindle Keyboard:

Attempting to download more than a few archived books at once will make it lock up and require a reboot. You have to select perhaps ten books at a time, wait for them to download and then select ten more. If you have lots of books to download, this is painfully slow.

Search is useless. I have over 2,000 books on the Kindle and if I accidentally select search it will lock up and I have to reboot it. I’m guessing that if I left it for a year or two it might complete, but it won’t do so in any reasonable amount of time.

And who wants to search every single book on the Kindle anyway? The two things I most often want to search are author and title, and I can’t do that. There is no way I can find to search by either, and while I can go to the first author whose name starts with a specific letter, before I do so I have to switch from collection view to author view and then I have to go through two hundred or so books to find the actual one I was looking for.

The Kindle Keyboard I own comes with 4GB of flash memory. That’s enough for about 4,000 typical e-book novels. But if you even think of putting that many on the device it will run slow, lock up or start putting up messages saying it’s running out of RAM. So there’s no point in having that much in the first place.

At that point, when you decide you want to delete a lot of books there’s no easy way to do so. You can’t select five hundred books and delete them, you have to go through one by one selecting the book, going to the detail page, moving the selection cursor down to the bottom option on the page and deleting it. This is painfully slow.

When you add a book to a collection the collections are listed in no apparent order (perhaps the order they were created in?) If you want to add dozens of books to the same collection, it won’t move the most recently used collection to the top of the list, you have to scroll through the list every time until you get to the right one. This is painfully slow (are you noticing a common theme here yet?)

Wi-fi is next to useless. Connecting typically requires at least one reboot and sometimes a reboot of the wireless router. All while my laptop can happily communicate through the same wireless LAN.

USB isn’t much better. I typically have to plug it in several times before it’s available to the PC. That may be Linux issue as it seems to detect the device but not mount it; but the Kindle may also be refusing to act as a USB disk.

Disconnecting from USB also seems to cause the Kindle to completely rescan all files; that makes a certain amount of sense, but also prevents me from doing anything useful with it for a couple of minutes afterward even if I only added one new file.

The user interface lacks feedback. Often you’ll select something on the screen and nothing at all happens. Is it doing what you selected? Did it ignore the key you pressed? Has it locked up and is now waiting for you to reboot it? The only way to find out is to wait and see. Some of this is due to the e-ink screen, which is slow to update, but mostly it’s just poor interface design which sometimes gives you a spinning blob in the corner of the screen to indicate that something is happening… but usually doesn’t.

I have over 200 ‘pages’ in my book list, yet there’s no ‘go to last page’ option. There’s a ‘sort by most recently accessed’, but no ‘sort by least recently accessed’. There is apparently an undocumented method of jumping to a specific page, but why isn’t there an obvious method other than just repeatedly clicking on the buttons to go one page at a time?

If you’re reading a book and decide you want to delete it, there’s no obvious way to delete it while reading the book. So first you have to exit the book and then… tada… because it’s now the most recently accessed book it’s no longer in the place on the book list you’re currently at, it’s at the top of the list. So you now have to go back to the top of the list to find the book to delete it.

All the books I buy on Amazon are placed in categories there. Yet there’s no transfer of categories over to the Kindle. Instead of 800 SF novels, 400 horror novels, 20 cook-books and 200 thrillers I just have 1500 books with no information other than title and author.

Kindle for PC:

Kindle for PC shows a fancy library view with all the book covers. But the books seem to randomly move around and with thousands of books it’s painfully slow. The latest release claims to improve on that, but I haven’t risked installing it yet after an earlier upgrade trashed my installation.

There’s no way to see the full title in the archived books window.

If you’re five hundred books into your thousand-long archived books view and want to add a new collection to put that book into, the window switches to that collection, and when you go back to your archived books view it starts at the first book again. Then you have to scroll back to where you were.┬áIf you add a book to a collection by accident, you have to go to the collection to remove it.

If you’ve downloaded lots of books and forgotten what they’re about, there’s no way to view description or genre in the archived books view.

When you download a book everything jumps over in the archived books view so if you were just going to select the menu on the next book to download it you probably end up selecting the next book but one by mistake.

There’s no apparent option to select all archived books and download them. You have to manually select ‘Download’ on a menu for every single book. And that’s if you’re lucky: I just asked it to download nine books at the same time and it’s apparently not even trying to do so.

Even better, after it locked up while trying to download those books I had to kill it. Now it won’t start up again. Excellent.

So I had to uninstall it and reinstall it to get it to work again, and now none of the DRM-ed books will open and I can’t tell which ones have DRM so I’ve had to delete all the downloaded books and download them again.

One Comment

  1. ken anthony says:

    In 1981 I saw this problem which is because programmers do not actually use their programs… they hand them off to testers. I’ve been using the s/w I write in as close to real world situations as I could for all those decades and think I produced superior products as a result (I sure made the owners of the companies I worked for rich.)

    The h/w is usually not the problem. The s/w is only indirectly the problem. It’s kid’s programming w/o any real world experience that is the problem.

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