I have read a lot of reactions to 3.1. Some have been positive, some negative, some conflicted, and some apathetic. All these reactions are perfectly valid. However, please let Amazon know what you are thinking. 3.1 is not a completed release yet. There is still time to give Amazon feedback. If you do not communicate with Amazon, you cannot expect them to understand your needs and desires. If you want the Kindle to continue to fit you as a user, you have to talk to Amazon just as much as you talk to each other.
I just sent them this e-mail. Skip to the bottom if you don't care about it.
Please do not clutter the Kindle with lots of social networking and solicitations for book reviews.
The Kindle is beautiful because it is a piece of technology that gives readers a means of reading without all the clutter and intrusions that typically come with technology. Reading on a Kindle is a "better than traditional" experience. When any update takes that feeling away, there is suddenly no reason anymore for me not to just buy an Ipad. If I'm going to be exposed to social networking and solicitations, I might as well be able to do all the other silly things that other products can do. The Kindle is just as special for what it DOESN'T do as for what it does. Please never forget that. The Kindle is a relief from stuff like social networking and solicitations.
Currently, there is a lot of tension. Instead of being excited and looking forward to the 3.1 update, many Kindle owners are scared to death that they won't be able to AVOID the update once it is wirelessly pushed. That is the exact opposite reaction you are hoping for. You want users to be excited about changes to their kindles, or at least apathetic about them. You definitely don't want users trying to figure out how to avoid an update. Give us "On/Off" options for everything you add. Apathy isn't ideal, but it's better than anger.
3.1 appears to be a "feature" update. As such, please do not forget that new features are requested by some, possibly even most, but not ALL Kindle users. Please do not force new features on us compulsorily. Please remember that features are special extras, and so a user should be able to use them or ignore them at the user's discretion. Whenever you introduce a new feature that adds functionality to the Kindle, you should also add an "On/Off" option in the settings menu. Forcing a feature on users that do not want the feature is not a step forward, it is an annoying step backwards, an intrusion into the user's reading experience, and it will eventually cost you customers. If you add "On/Off" options, you can add all the features you want, which may bring in new customers, while also giving current customers the ability to opt out, which will keep you from driving your traditional users away from the Kindle. This way, you can retain your current customer base while attracting new customers. They call it "having your cake and eating it, too."
Give Kindle owners options and power. At least give us power over options.
Also, give us an entry in the settings to choose percentage, page numbers, or locations, or any or all combinations. If you are going to reserve a line for percentage, you might as well let us have the option of using the rest of that reserved line to display information that we may or may not find useful. I understand that the idea is to clean up the interface, but remember to make things options rather than hard-nosed, inflexible changes that are forced on users. Instead of trying to guess what the majority of users would prefer and risking a backlash, let each individual user make his or own choice. You can never go wrong with giving users choices. For people, having a choice is always an instant hit. Also, the progress bar at the bottom of the screen is useless to me. A percentage speaks for itself. Page X of XXX speaks for itself. Location XX-XX of XXXXXX speaks for itself. A progress bar adds no information to that at all. In fact, it is the least accurate method of observing progress or recording location. Many of us would rather have an extra line of book text there instead.
To summarize: Menu options, menu options, menu options!!
Thanks for listening,
Kindle 3 owner and Kindle book purchaser.
Regardless of how you feel about my personal e-mail, even if your views are entirely contradictory to my own, please communicate with Amazon. Prospective customers are important, but the current customer base is more important. All you Kindle owners are the people that made the Kindle a success, not the mass of "could-have-beens" that never dropped a dime on the Kindle. Let Amazon know what you want, whatever that may be.