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Top 10 problems with the Amazon Kindle

Amazon ebook reader is great, but not perfect

Article comments

I've have a Kindle 3 for a month or two now and I can confirm that it's a thing of beauty. The ebook revolution might not necessarily start here, but momentum is certainly building.

Alas, the Kindle 3 is not perfect. There are some clever design touches but if the designer had presented the Kindle to, say, Steve Jobs, then it would have been hurtled back in the direction of the designer's head. It's a good product, but it's not a great product. I find myself wishing things were just a little different here and there.

Here are my top 10 Kindle annoyances:

1. Only one user

The Kindle is a personal electronic device, just like a cell phone or an iPod. But it's far more sharable than either of those two. For example, my partner wants to read an ebook I'm just finishing off and I intend to lend her my Kindle when I'm done. I'll just switch to a dead tree book until she's finished. But it would be nice if she could have her own account on the Kindle, with her own bookmarks/last page read setting. This way, if she saw the Kindle lying about while I'm not at home, she could pick it up and read any ebooks on the device without messing up my reading.

Yes, Kindles are dirt cheap, but not yet cheap enough for every family member to have one.

2. Where are the apps?

A web browser is built-in, which is about as good as it can be, but I anticipated finding a calculator, a notepad application, maybe a simple calendar and perhaps a to-do list. None are present. None would stretch the Kindle either. The Kindle might have an e-ink display that prefers static rather than dynamic content, but I can easily imagine how these apps would function, even if there was occasional flashing and blanking of the screen. I could live with that.

Of course, the next question is: Where's the app store? I hear there's an SDK toolkit out there, making it easy for programmers to create new stuff, but where's the interface allowing users to put apps onto the Kindle and manage them?

3. Dictionary for single words only

Looking-up words in Kindle's built-in dictionary is stunningly useful for an illiterate such as myself. All the user needs to do is move the cursor to the word and a definition pops up instantly. However, it's impossible to look up phrases of two or more words without manually searching the dictionary, which involves temporarily closing the current book and opening the dictionary app.

For example, looking up the phrase "drawing room" is impossible; Kindle would simply give the definition for "drawing". Even hyphenated words are ignored, despite the fact the cursor jumps past the hyphenated phrase as if it's a single word.

4. Kindle hates covers

Buy an eBook or download your own from Gutenberg and, once you open it, you'll be taken to the first page of the first chapter (or the prologue, if there is one). Great! Or maybe not. I love books. Because of this, I want to see the cover art before getting started on the novel. I want to see who, if anybody, the book's dedicated to. I want to see how many chapters there are. Hell, I even want to take a look at the verso page (i.e. the copyright page).

Don't worry, Amazon, I'll skip through these if I want to. But don't assume I want to ignore them. Of course, I can get to them using the Go To option on the menu, but that's a pain. Show me the full majesty of a book as soon as I open it! And why aren't the covers displayed on the Home screen? Instead, all we get is a dull text list. The Home screen could be so much more beautiful.


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Kathy said: can anybody help Ive had my kindle for a long time butit now wont hold a charge Im having to charge it every other day now Ive only ever had to charge it every 5 - 6 weeks or so and thats using it every single day Its driving me mad

Dennis Garber said: These are not problems these are bitches about the design I have a problem I have three Kindles with screens that have gotten progressively lighter and are virtually unreadable now I am a heavy reader but I can usually only get a year out of a Kindle I am extremely disappointed with them so far Now I just got a new one the backlit paperwhitehoping it will last longer

corny said: my Kindle is deleting books mid read if I return to Home page or if at end I ask it to go to beginning three books have gone plus one I deliberately sacrificed to prove that it was really happening now afraid to go to home page no help from Kindle unless 65 paid upfront anyone got any advice apart from purchasing a new one Is there a contact number where you can speak to someone in Britain before paying out

Kraye said: So weird Can you send pics

Max said: Mine stopped working after a year and a half It was used often but was well cared for I tried going online to check possible ways to restart and none worked I contacted the company The support staff were very nice but I am not satisfied with the official response which was essentially - buy a replacement and return my one So they get the Kindle back and refurbish it to resell and I pay 65 for some replacement technology that one should expect to work for more than 18 months This is unacceptable I have bought many books for this device and right now I feel like just going back to paper - it doesnt break down and I can expect it to last longer than this Kindle Their customer service approach might consider ways to replace these when they break down WHEN THEY SHOULD NOT DOING SO THIS QUICKLY without charging 65 for what is in any other business a repair job otherwise why would they need the broken one backI am one upset customer as you can see I loved my Kindle as it meant I could carry a small library around with me wherever I went That was wonderful - but only if the thing actually works And one should expect that for a longer period of time than 18 months or even 2 years Otherwise it is a slab of plasticSome people have had good experiences with them working with no problems - as a previously enthusiastic and vocal advocate of Kindles to friends I think I too should be entitled to a device that still works That some technology might break down is not sufficient excuse from a company regarding a product it is pushing and hoping to establish as the future for reading A truly excellent product does not get essential to people if it has a percentage of unreliable units that require this many people writing online to complain and the companys best retort is to ask you to buy another and take another risk of a faulty productSorry for going on folks but I just feel this is not really good enough from Kindle

Captjack2292 said: Ive had my kindle since April of 2011 and love it The only problem is the black casing around the screen just above the keyboard has cracked 3 times Thank goodness Amazon has replaced it at no charge but I was wondering if anyone else has this problem I know this will be the last free one and conerned

Dearinger Lawton said: the warranty is crap the kindle we had died in a short period of time they replaced it but would not say if it was a refurbished kindle the replacement also died as did the warranty neither the kindle we bought nor the replacement lasted a year both were defective

Sarahvandeheyning said: Hye Im Sarah Van de Heyning I live in Belgium My english isnt very good but ill try to ask my questionI received my e-reader kindle 4 a week ago He had been used till he hasnt got any battery anymore Now I plugged him in my computer for a lot of hours definitly 10 hours so hell get new battery Now the light never turns green It stay orange When I plugged him out and try to start him up he stays out What did I do wrong Already thank you for the helpgreets Sarah

Me said: The K3 HAS a calculator Its one of the hidden features Just like the Internet browser which you clearly found and the MP3 player The only point I agree with you on is the losing your place issue You dont hate the things that come locked pre-registration Like the ability to name your Kindle change the time or create collections

manugw said: There is a high rate of sudden unexpected failure of the kindle screen with no reason Keep in mind that e ink is a prototype technology Fortunately Amazon send a new device in no time Seehttpwwwyoutubecomwatchv

Godan said: I agree with all the issues stated In fact I really dont like my Kindle but am stuck with it I prefer a book that I can flip through pages if I want Underline easily for future read Look at the cover as often as I wantIt is really difficult to do so with a KindleMy other big gripe is that the pages of the book arent clearly shown but a percentage progress and location is displayedWhy just show the page number

guest said: This may sound like a strange question but has anyone noticed after reading your kindle that mysterious holes are appearing in shirts at the bottom in the front where you hold the kindle when you are sitting Over the past three months 3 of my shirts have gotten these holes in the same spot and the material around it looks faded out I finally figured out that my kindle might be the cause Today I am wearing a shirt that I inspected carefully before putting it on and it showed no signs of wear but after reading my kindle for a while I can see faded areas starting to form Has anyone else noticed this

autumnbaby said: For 3 you dont have to exit the bookHighlight the hyphenated word or phrase you want to look up press the space bar and then move over to the right until you see dictionary you will also see options for Wikipedia and Google and select it Once your done press back and youre back to your book

Andrys said: Anonymous Good points and that was funny about the icecream but the free 3G is not available with the 114 model which is WiFi-only although you may be able to find free WiFi on vacation not very often in my case

AuH2O said: I must say that I dont regard any of the things listed in this article as real problems I mean the Menu button should be moved an inch Really Thats a real problem for you I have read some things people have complained about with the Kindle that seem to be real problems that need solutions but this list just didnt seem like the problems are that insurmountable--or real problemsIt read like somebody assigned the author to come up with 10 things wrong with the Kindle but he couldnt think of any

Glmarcus said: I have had a Kindle only since Saturday 9th April I find it a remarkable machine It is easy to read to download books and Amazon has an excellent library I find your comment rather nit-picking and if they are your only grouses the machine is obviously a superb e-book Well done Amazon

Anonymous said: Ten problems with caramel swirl ice cream1 The swirls arent always at the top when I scoop the ice cream into a bowl2 The swirls arent consistently clockwise or counterclockwise3 The user isnt allowed to pick the frequency of swirl encounters per pintetc etc etc My goodness This is the most incredible device I think I have ever purchased It is an e-reader and it is great for reading books If you want to play games with apps pretty pictures and so forth then by all means pay a few hundred more and get an iPad that will be far less pleasant to read dont get me wrong I have an iPad and love it but I find the screen much less suitable for reading Anyhow if anyone is considering a Kindle think about this 3500 books 1 month yes one month battery supply free wireless access surf the net if you want check email etc all over the world--transfer your books into the Kindle memory via USB lighter than a paperback and only 114 dollars now Its not perfect but it certainly doesnt have ten problems Jeez

Thamisgith said: I think that you worked pretty hard to come up with a list of 10 things wrong with the Kindle Overall its pretty good

Andrys said: 1 Re her own bookmarkslast page read settingHas Steve Jobs solved this problem for iBooks 2 Notepad 99c app Very popular httpamzntokindlenotepad Calendar 299 ap Just OK httpamzntokcalplanner Youre right that theyre not easy to find Usually listed under games and apps3 Dictionary When viewing the summary of a word press the Return key and youll get the full dictionary definition At that point you can search the dictionary for other words When youre through press BACK button below the 5-way button and youll be back at the book page you were reading4 Looking for beautiful covers on an e-Ink screen means asking for very long load-time I think you need an LCD unit actually Wont be as good for reading a novel but itll be prettier -7 Free 3G means free google wikipedia text versions of newspapers quite a bitYou know you can send docs to your Kindle for free so why insist on 3G that Amazon pays for After reading this I feel sorry for your partner You seem to focus on what isnt exactly to your specs rather than what works well to an unusual degree10 After a few hours you need to take a break to help fingers and the rest of the bod -

Blue_jeanz_baby said: Good point Kim This is my first Kindle 3g wifi wireless and Im a little surprised at how user-UNfriendly the program notesdirections can be Although I have to say Im sssooooo very glad I waited for the 3g wifi wireless came out before I gave in and bought mine Other than that so far Im LOVIN IT Just an FYI I did buy the the book on Amazon called Kindle Tips Tricks and Shortcuts by Michael Gallagher and its been somewhat helpful At any rate I absolutely think Kindle has the BEST ebook reader out there and Im excited that I got mine What a cool gadget for people on the go that like to read a lot

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