A Couple Quick Notes for Amazon

I have turned into an electronic reader. I almost exclusively read books on my iPhone and e-reader now1. I have a Kindle, therefore I use Amazon as my primary source for ebooks. Amazon makes it quick and easy2 to buy books and deliver them to your devices. But they’ve got some serious work to do if they want to be the leader in ebooks.

For one, here’s text from their help site, with my emphasis:

Loan a Kindle Book from Manage Your Kindle
You can loan eligible Kindle books to a friend from the Manage Your Kindle page.

In the Actions menu, select Loan this title. If Loan this title is not an option, lending is unavailable for the title.

So, I can loan books&ellip;unless I can’t.

That reminds me of this infographic about pirating movies vs. paying for them. If you don’t make it easy to use the property we just bought, we’ll just steal it.

So, instead of “loaning” this book through the Kindle library, I’ll probably strip the DRM from it and just email a mobi copy of the document to the friend to whom I want to loan it. Therefore you’re not doing your job, Amazon. Or, perhaps, you’re not doing your job, Random Publishers. This is my book and I will loan it to who I damn well please. By restricting my ability to do that, you’re just guaranteeing an additional uncontrolled electronic version out in the wild.

Another thing, Amazon, just as a quick improvement, please let us send the Kindle version of a purchased book to all devices with one button push. I hate having to do it three times for the iPhone, the Kindle, and the reader on my PC.

Thirdly, there’s a huge gap in the experience of readers that no one has addressed yet: The Browse.

I’m used to, and so is everyone else, going to a bookshelf and just running my eyes over the spines or covers and eventually selecting something. I do this at home, and at the bookstore3 but I can’t do it with my ebooks. The ability to do this would greatly enhance my ebook experience and I would pay for that. Off you go, whomever.

Anyway. Amazon, until you get your act together an put some usability analysis on your kindle site, I’ll keep using Calibre, and I think you know what that means.

  1. A few years ago I stated that I was making the transition but didn’t see me ending my paper book purchases. However having an entire library on my iPhone is just…awesome. There’s no other word for it. Whereever I go, I have books. []
  2. For some values of “easy” which I’m addressing here. []
  3. Although, see footnote 1 []
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