Why Amazon’s Kindle Software Sucks

By , March 20, 2012

Amazon has intentionally “crippled” its Kindle and Cloud Reader software for non-Kindle devices: the software doesn’t allow consumers to organize books in any way. As a result, enthusiastic readers who opt to acquire many dozens or hundreds of ebooks quickly find their collections to be completely unmanageable.

Below is a screen-capture of how books appear in Cloud Reader (note that this is just one screen capture, reflecting only a small fraction of the ebooks in my Amazon account).  I can view a list of books in alphabetic order by author or title, but not by genre.  And except for Kindle devices, Amazon provides no way for users to organize books themselves. Nor does Amazon allow users to search any Kindle (software or device) by genre.

Clearly, this is a business decision: Amazon hopes that by deliberately omitting this capability from Cloud Reader and other software for non-Kindle devices, consumers will opt instead to buy Kindle devices.

Update April 3, 2012: I’ve just installed the Kindle software on my new Acer Iconia Tab A200 10.1″ tablet, and I find it extremely frustrating — not just because of the inability to organize books, but there’s also no way to mark a book as “read” or “in progress” (nor to edit book titles or append keywords for this purpose).

Update 2015: Since writing this, I’ve purchased two Kindle devices: a Kindle PaperWhite and a Kindle Fire HD (7″), plus an Amazon Fire Phone.  Even on these genuine Kindle devices, the ability to organize and arrange content is severely limited.

 

9 Responses to “Why Amazon’s Kindle Software Sucks”

  1. Greg Bester says:

    I totally agree. I have almost 500 books and I can’t organize them at all. Alphabetical order would have at least bee nice. Way to go, Amazon.

    Cheers 🙂

  2. Gerd Gladstone says:

    Who talks about organizing – Amazon wants me to read now the new books in the cloud – I don’t get it delivered to my PC (but charged my credit card) and the complaint are answered to re-download Kindle……..

  3. Tom Smith says:

    I don’t understand why Amazon cannot innovate in this area. They have collections on kindle for pc and kindle devices, but the collections do not synchronize between devices and they are absent from cloud reader as mentioned in this article. Who wants to manage different collections on all their different devices? Answer, an idiot who has time to waste.

    I think it is something cultural at Amazon. They are really a retail store, and not a technology company. The lack of basic features in their software makes you wonder if the Jeff Bezos and his software programmers actually use kindle products at all or if the culture at Amazon is weighed down by some dysfunction which prevents innovation so simple a child can see it. Really amazon creates nothing except very basic kindle reading software. They do not make their devices or the operating systems those devices run on.

    They are not a technology innovator, but instead a service company. Bezos just had to vision take advantage of opportunities created by technology companies to sell consumer goods. They may provide technology services in web hosting, but they are no different than a web host who buys a bunch of servers and stores customer data and websites in databases written by software companies. that is called system administration.

    As long as the kindle sells books that is all they care about. There is no motivating factor for them to give you anything beyond getting invested and hooked into kindle as your ereader platform.

    I think they should hire a software company to write their software for them.

    You can’t even go to their website and find (or easily find) the latest version number of the kindle for pc software. You have to download it, and install it to see if your version number changed. They are so stupid sometimes.

    It has been like this forever, it is cultural, and they suck.

    If someone had not invented linux, eink, batteries, the screens they use, android, there would be no kindles.

    You can’t even find your last bookmark, without scrolling through all of your notes and marks – bookmarks suck.

    Whispersync has potential, but you can’t easily reset your last page read.

    I hate kindle more than I like it.

  4. Tom Smith says:

    still sucks!

  5. dgsinclair says:

    Still sucks. Won’t sync collections, collections listed in order created, can’t sort alpha on books or on collections. A teenager could build better software.

  6. Simon says:

    I agree.

    The Apple’s iBook format allows publisher’s to create a beautiful, media rich interactive book that can seamlessly incorporate video, animation and audio.

    Trying to publish a simple book on Amazon with text and audio is extremely difficult by comparison, and the user experience as express above encapsulates how screwy Amazon’s platform is.

    Unfortunately if you only have an Android device you are locked into Amazon’s mess.

  7. Debra says:

    I agree. Amazon had an opportunity by being a #1 bookseller, but aren’t translating it to the Kindle platform. There is zero effort being made to make the Kindle software user friendly, it’s absolutely unacceptable how poorly the whole thing functions and I hate the fact that you cannot organize your books. I cannot recommend Kindle to my friends, and steer them to Apple’s platform. It’s a real shame. Get it together Jeff Bezos.

  8. Annoyed Bibliophile says:

    Totally agree! The phone app is better–at least that carousel on the opening screen is fairly reliable about showing you books you’re reading and have recently dowloaded; the PC app, though is MADDENING. No way to sort, no meaningful (or accurate) statuses, date field is utterly inaccurate, footnote function is a pain (why don’t notes appear as a hover-over, for cripe’s sake?) and no ability to zoom on graphics. And they’ve been doing this for YEARS. I’m so exasperated!

    I don’t suppose there’s any alternate software I could use to read my Kindle books? That also has a phone app that syncs? Because Kindle acts like it was designed by people who have never actually read a book.

  9. Phart Alot says:

    The Cloud Reader is dysfunctional. The entire idea of the download feature is to be able to read your books offline. But here’s what happens, and it’s a known issue that has never been fixed. You can download your book, but there’s no way to read them offline in your browser once you exit or clear your cache because if you return to read.amazon.com you are instructed to log in and begin the entire process all over again. Oh your books will be in the cloud, but you CAN’T read them offline unless you download them. Again. It’s beyond pointless.

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