Annoyances Books iPad Reading

Dear Amazon, How You Can Fix Your Kindle iPad Store

So, I’ve had an iPad since the first day the iPad 1 came out. And I’ve been reading books in the Kindle reader for iPad almost that long. I am a long-time book reader. In fact, when I got the iPad I didn’t think that ebooks would hold that much of a draw for me. After all, I love the feel of a good book in my hand, the smell of the glue holding the perfect binding of the paperbacks together, the crispness of the pages, yes, even the jolt awake when the hardback falls into my face while reading in bed.

But in the two years since the iPad 1 has come out, I’ve changed. I like to think of it as growing. Now, I prefer to read books on my iPad, iPod, and in the cloud reader on my laptop. I love that when I get to page 110 on my iPad, I can open up my iPod and be right there on that page. This is better than when in Jr. High I learned how to almost subconsciously remember where I was in a book without bookmarks to combat the teasing people who would grab my books from me and move or remove the markers in an effort to thwart my knowing where I was. (I also learned the best hiding places for reading at my Jr. High—back in the library stacks on one of the lowest shelves where no books were stored was the best. No bullies ever venture into the library.)

When Apple changed the rules and removed the bookstore links from the apps, I quickly bookmarked your site in my mobile Safari and made sure that that bookmark was synched to all my devices. And when you announced the Kindle Store, I saved the location as an app on my iPad so I could always get to it quickly.

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The Kindle store “app” is nice. It’s flashy and feels much more like an app than a web page. It’s pretty and usable, but there are a number of things that are down right annoying about it.

  • Recommended for me? Why the heck are you recommending books to me that I’ve already bought from you? Sure, yes, I did read and enjoy all the Anita Blake vampire books, but seriously, I have already read them. I don’t want to read them again, much less buy them again. I wish there were some way for me to tell the Kindle store “thanks, I liked this, but I’ve already read this, please recommend something else.”
  • Is there any customization at all? The top 3 on the top 100 paid list has been the three Suzanne Collins Hunger Games novels for what seems like forever now. As an author, I’m happy for her. As a reader, and someone who has already read those books, I don’’t care! I’d love to see the 3 most popular SciFi or Fantasy novels, which you clearly know I read because of all the Anita Black recommendations in that first part. Even the Stieg Larsson books seem to have been in the Editors picks forever (and again, I’ve already read them). Please let me pick the sections to go here. At least that way I could blame myself if the lists end up being lame.
  • Why don’t your categories match the categories in most other bookstores? Sure, SciFi and Fantasy are different, but sometimes the difference is more subtle than my brain can handle, and I then can’t find the book I want to buy. So I don’t buy it. Is that really what you want? Make it easy to find what I want and what I’m looking for.
  • Speaking of which, why isn’t search “relevance” a default criteria? When I search for “Anne Bishop” and then change the sort option to see what is her most recent book, I don’t want to have to wade through other author’s books simply because someone in the comments mentioned Bishop’s name. I still want to see the most relevant searches before other searches even if the publication date for Patricia Brigg’s latest novel is newer than the novel Anne put out last year.
  • I like to know the author, know when it was published, and know or at least guess that it will be worth the money I plonk down to buy it. And it would be really helpful if there were some way to show that information right in the search results.
  • The sorting feature should remember my preferred sort option, and not constantly force me to change it back to my preference.
  • And don’t get me started on books in a series. Holy cow it’s hard to figure out which book is in what series and what order they come in. When I’m at the bookstore, it is a trivial matter to look at the cover and see that yes, this is book 3 in the Foreigner series, and I’m on book 7. I would rather not buy book 4 three times simply because you make it hard for me to tell. And while I have bought duplicates in the past, these days I am more likely to head to Overdrive and see if I can check it out from the library rather than buy a book I may have already read.
  • Which brings me to my last point. Can you make it possible for me to mark books as read? I know, this is the Kindle store but really, as I grow older I forget things. And just seeing a little icon that says that I’ve read the book I am looking at would make me a lot more tolerant of the issues I’ve mentioned above.

Thank you, Dear Amazon, for considering my suggestions. I want to like your bookstore as much as I do my local brick and mortar bookstore, but as you can see, you make it hard.

An avid eBook reader

P.S. Now, I love the jolt of waking up as the iPad falls on my face while I read in bed. So some things never change.—Jenn

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