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Old 06-16-2009, 08:31 PM   #1
Daithi
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Letter to Amazon's Feedback email address

My Kindle DX comes with an email address requesting feedback (kindledx-feedback@amazon.com), so this is what I'm sending Amazon. Yes, I know, it probably won't do any good, but if enough of us send them a similar email it just might and it certainly can't hurt.



To whom it may concern,

I have recently purchased a Kindle DX and although I am generally happy with my purchase I would like to suggest the following software improvements (all accomplishable with a software/firmware upgrade).

1. Fully integrated/implemented PDF support
The Kindle DX finally adds PDF support and this is wonderful. Unfortunately the PDF support is not fully integrated into the Kindle DX. You can't search for text, annotate, add notes, use the dictionary, go to specific PDF page numbers, or use hyperlinks within the PDF. This greatly reduces the usefulness of viewing PDFs on the Kindle. The metadata for PDFs is also not supported very well, so that titles and authors are not displaying properly. Students that need to use an ereader for PDF based documents may find that these issues make the Kindle DX unusable for this task.

It is also my understanding that Amazon has licensed the Adobe Reader Mobile 9 SDK. This standard supports Adobe Content Server 4, which allows PDFs with DRM to be viewed, but this was not implemented by Amazon. The ePub standard within the Adobe Reader Mobile technology is also not implemented, nor is the reflowable PDF standard implemented. Full PDF support would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly, other devices support a ZOOM feature that allows you to zoom in on a PDF. The landscape view of the Kindle DX is rather nice, but having full zoom capabilities like other devices would be outstanding. This is especially desired for images like maps or that otherwise contain fine detail.

2. Folders and/or Tags and/or Readlists
This has been a problem since the release of the Kindle 1. Once a Kindle user has acquired a couple hundred books he quickly learns that the Kindle does an awful job of managing those books. The Kindle only allows sorting by a small number of fields -- Author, Title, and Most Recent -- and navigating to a book you would like to read is done by paging through these sorted lists. Kindle users have been begging for a better system. Please listen to us!!!

There are several options available. A folder system that is managed through the USB cable that works like every the folder systems on a PC or any other computer than people have become familiar with over last couple decades. This type of system is simple to manage as dragging and dropping files is very easy. The user should then have the option of displaying a single directory or multiple directories by selecting a parent directory.

Another option is Tags. This system would allow users to add and remove tags to their files. For example, they could add the tag "mystery" to items that fall into the mystery genre, and add "read" to items they have already read. Then they could list items that contain the tags "read" and "mystery" and only items matching those tags would be displayed.

Another option is a Readlist, which would be similar to a Playlist for an iPod or iPhone. The user can create their own lists and add books to those lists. Then they could select a Readlist and the Kindle would only display books that are part of the selected list.

The best of all possible worlds would incorporate all three of the above suggestions. Furthermore, it is even more important to support some type of file management now that the Kindle supports PDFs. Imagine a physician's office that wanted to store and view patient charts on a Kindle, but was prevented from doing so because of a lack of file management/navigation.

3. Allow us to turn off sleep mode
I really like the "screensaver" images that are displayed when the Kindle goes into sleep mode, but sometimes this is not desirable. For example, if you are using the Kindle to display a textbook you may have it on a page that contains problems you must solve, and if it takes you longer than 10 minutes the Kindle goes into sleep mode. It would be rather annoying to have to wake it up to do each problem.

Other examples include using the Kindle for presentations, cookbooks, art books, and any other situation where having a page displayed for more than 10 minutes is required. Either having the ability to turn off "screensavers" or having the ability to set the interval before the Kindle goes into sleep mode, including an interval of zero (i.e. never), would be desirable.

4. Allow us to display our own pictures
The Kindle 1 allowed users to display their own pictures when the Kindle went into sleep mode. This was a really nice feature that allowed people to display pictures of family members or pictures of their own interests. It would be nice to allow users to perform this function once again. I can't think of why Amazon would want to prevent people from doing this.

5. ePub support
The ePub standard is far and away superior to Amazon's mobi file format. It is based on the same XML and CSS standards that drive the Internet. This allows far more control over layouts and better designed books than are currently possible on the Kindle. For example, many printed books currently use dropcaps or have text flow around an image (like the illustrations in Alice in Wonderland) but these tasks are not possible on the Kindle because of limitations in the AZW (or mobi) file format used by Amazon. Furthermore, the ePub standard is not only superior, but it is also an open standard that isn't tied in to any manufacturer. Supporting ePub is higher on many people's list than even supporting PDF.


There are two non-software related items that I'd also like to address --

1. Please add the buttons back on the left side of the page
Yes, you can orient the page with the keyboard on the top, but this solution isn't perfect. I read in bed quite often, and this necessitates turning the auto rotation off. Then I switch hands every few pages or so as my hand gets tired. This makes reading while lying down very difficult. Even reading while sitting, with auto rotation enabled, is not entirely enjoyable as I have to flip the Kindle around and wait for it to reorient itself every time I switch hands. This may not sound like a big deal, but its really annoying and buttons on the left would definitely be worth the extra expense. Furthermore, I'm not left handed, but if I was I don't think I'd be happy either.

2. Add an SD Card
The Kindle DX (and Kindle 2) doesn't support an SD Card. The Kindle DX comes with 4 Gig and 3.3 Gig is available to the user, and this may sound like a huge amount of storage but it really isn't. I loaded the Gadshill Edition of Charles Dickens work onto my Kindle DX and half my storage space was gone. This edition of Dickens' work contains all of the original illustrations and is quite nice but these PDFs take up 1.5 Gig of space. If I added a few more PDF works of classic literature than contain illustrations then I'd completely fill the available space. The same applies to files such as audio books or if I wanted to use my Kindle to store my music. One of the benefits of the Kindle is having the ability to hold an entire library in your hand. Not supporting SD Cards is a huge limitation.


Any consideration you give these items is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Daithi (ok, I didn't sign it Daithi)

Last edited by Daithi; 06-16-2009 at 09:22 PM. Reason: Fixed spelling errors that weren't in the email I sent
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:36 PM   #2
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Great letter. I was trying to give you Karma but it won't let me.
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:17 PM   #3
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On the Kindle 1, if you tweak the scroll wheel occasionally, it won't go to sleep. Maybe something similar with the 5-way controller will work on the K2 and DX?
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:20 PM   #4
Daithi
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Thanks Daffy. It's the thought that counts.
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:31 PM   #5
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I suggest also mentioning the lack of PDF ToC and internal links. These are also serious glitches. If you have a textbook in PDF you need these to work.
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:34 PM   #6
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Great letter. I was trying to give you Karma but it won't let me.
Did it for you.
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:37 PM   #7
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Did it for you.
Thank you!

I'm about to give you karma for the karma but I noticed you have a nice round number...28,000. Congratulations! (I'll hold off a bit before I ruin your number).
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:38 PM   #8
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Lack of ability to read pdf files is a major omission. There are so many documents in pdf format.
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:39 PM   #9
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Thank you!

I'm about to give you karma for the karma but I noticed you have a nice round number...28,000. Congratulations! (I'll hold off a bit before I ruin your number).
Please, none needed. He wrote a great letter.
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:48 PM   #10
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Very nice letter ... is there a way we can compile suggestions and then send them collectively from Mobileread to give them more weight? I.e., instead of a bunch of emails of individual suggestions, one collection of insightful suggestions from the most active ereader forums. Might be a more effective way to get done what we want?
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:52 PM   #11
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Lack of ability to read PDF files is a major omission. There are so many documents in PDF format.
The letter is for the issues with the DX. Since you have a K2, you should have known ahead of time that it did not natively handle PDF.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:00 AM   #12
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I recently sent this to the feedback address:

Dear Amazon Kindle creators,

My suggestion is to offer an option in Manage Your Kindle to "Hide this from the Archive on my Kindle" next to each item in the library.

If you look at any of the Kindle forums, you'll see that the desire to permanently delete items is a frequent question. We know why Amazon wouldn't want to do this -- in case the customer decides to re-download the book later. But a happy medium, to "hide" the item from the archive, should be an option. Yes, if the customer decides to redownload, they would need to enable that option, but that isn't really much to ask. Items would be visible by default, so the customer would have to take the affirmative step to "hide" the item, and it shouldn't cause much confusion.

Why is this desirable? I think it's possible that more than one of us has perhaps downloaded, say, one of those free Harlequin novels, and don't wish to be reminded of it every time we look at the archive for the rest of our Kindle lives. If we demo our Kindle for others (something I do quite a bit), those titles are visible in the Archive, even if we would rather they not be.

The fact that you can never completely get rid of a title does make me more careful about the stuff I choose to buy, free or not. If I'm not willing to have that romance novel or self-help book on my Kindle forever, I won't buy it. I recently decided to hold off on a self-help book for this very reason.

I hope you'll consider this for a future software update.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:06 AM   #13
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Nicely said.. I threw some karma in there too.

Which is good, cause I generally forget karma exists... except in a Buddhist causal sort of way..
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:15 AM   #14
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The ability to password protect individual documents and/or the entire device would be very helpful.

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Old 06-17-2009, 02:34 PM   #15
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Here was my feedback to Amazon:

As user of the Kindle 2, and more recently the Kindle DX, I have a few ideas and feedback I would like to share with you.

HW/Interface:
  1. I miss the left hand buttons for page changing that I have on my K2.
  2. Turning the DX upside down for accessing the buttons on the left is awkward, and leaves the keyboard, the Menu button, and 5-way controller in bad positions. It is also less convenient to put the Kindle on your stomach/lap, as the bottom portion of the screen then sinks into the shirt, blanket, pants, etc.
  3. I miss the dedicated number keys from the K2.
  4. I miss the ability to set the line spacing (using the Alt-Shift-# keys)
  5. I would like to be able to set the 5-way controller to turn pages when pushed left/right when reading.

PDF's:

The current PDF support is minimal at best.
  1. We need the ability to move through long documents easier.
  2. We need the ability to leverage document links -- e.g. table of contents, indices, page links.
  3. We need the ability to highlight and annotate the documents.
  4. It would be nice to be able to reflow documents.
  5. It would be nice to be able to zoom into documents.
  6. It would be nice to have word definitions pop up as we do in non-PDF documents.
Organization:

As Kindle users begin collecting larger libraries, the ability to manage them efficiently becomes quite important.
  1. We need a means of categorizing documents and subsequently to view document lists by those categories.
  2. I would prefer a folder-based organization method - which would be familiar and easy to leverage for most PC-literate people, and not too difficult for non-PC literate people.
  3. Some people would like to manage by keywords, though I personally would not find this as useful, as I would have to modify tags or metadata as re-organize, rather than just dragging documents among folders.
  4. I want the ability to permanently remove a document from the Kindle and online. For example, I purchased a book that had content I did not realize was in it, and that I do not want hanging around. I would like the ability to permanently remove it, which support says is not possible.

Subscriptions:
  1. Newspapers and Magazines should be shareable across members of the same account. When I get a magazine at home, I can let my wife or family members read it. I would not subscribe to the magazine two or three times, and don't expect to with the Kindle, either. So I don't subscribe to any instead. Same with newspapers.
  2. I was quite surprised how much of a newspaper (The NY Times) was not in the Kindle version. I will not suscribe to a Kindle newspaper until I get reasonably comparable content to the version I get at home or on the newstand. Put an ad at the bottom of each article if you have to - but give me the whole paper.
  3. The quantity of magazines and newspapers available has not grown much since launch. I was hoping for more options. Since there are rumors (from Jeff's interview a few days ago) that there will be more software-based readers available, I hope you are pursuing color subscriptions, which non-Kindle people would enjoy. I am guessing color is one reason magazines are not lining up yet.
  4. Best option: Buy Zinio and make their magazines and text books available on the Kindle and in Kindle software-based readers.

Other Things:
  1. Please provide software for a PC that allows viewing of Kindle content. Especially at work, we can't always have our Kindle with us, and this gives us a way to keep reading. It is particulary important for textbooks, cookbooks, or reference materials that we may want to view without a Kindle.
  2. Consider allowing the current page to be displayed instead of a picture during sleep mode. This would be good for cookbooks, textbooks, very slow readers(!), etc.
  3. Provide the ability to jump between books using a simple method (not Home, cursor-cursor, Select). Something like Alt-Q, Alt- W...Alt-Y for six documents.
  4. Provide a similar ability to jump between two or more locations in the current book.
  5. This document and location jumping should include PDF's as well.

Bonus Stuff:
  1. I would like a calendar (not appointments, just a calendar). Having a means of seeing a schedule would be ok, too!
  2. I would like to be able to customize the pictures that come on during sleep mode.
  3. Provide a program that acts as a printer on a PC that allows one to print a document to the Kindle. Drop the files in a selected location on the computer and/or email them directly to the Kindle - using the existing fee structure for @kindle.com
  4. I understand the Kindle 1 was able to location you on a Google map. That would be nice to have. Especially when in the city.

Longer Term:
  1. I look forward to the first color Kindle. In the mean time, a PC program would be great! And it may lead to better magazine/newspaper uptake, and better images in textbooks.
  2. Please keep the limitations of the Kindle in mind when pricing books. I can't give a Kindle book away or donate it, or even share it within the family unless we all have Kindles. There are of course lower production costs as well. Based on that, I feel a lower price point is called for. I find the original "promise" of $10 books an appealing one. And never do I expect the Kindle version to cost more than the current in-print prices. I realize that the publishers have a hand in the pricing, but perhaps some guidelines, and maybe a program that alerts you/them to inverse pricing (Kindle over print) so they can be addressed upfront.
  3. I think it would be great if the USB port on the Kindle could handle an accessory like a page turning remote. Set you Kindle down/in a stand/etc and turn the pages while sitting back. For that matter, duplicate all the existing keys on a little keyboard unit (as well - not instead of the simple one). That would be a boon to technical/student usage. Put the Kindle on a table beyond your notebooks (pads), laptop, etc yet still be able to turn pages, search, take notes, etc.
  4. A reading/docking station would not be bad, either.
  5. Please sell the Kindle "binder" piece so hobbyists can make their own cases.

Thank you for considering my input.
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