Top Kindle Wishes

The good folks over at the Good E Reader site asked a question this week. What would make you buy a new kindle? My white paperwhite is working well, but I’d trade it in for a new one if… Here are some of my ideas.


New Hardware

Here are my top-3 hardware feature requests!

USB-C

The kindle paperwhite I have is not the newest one, which is waterproof. That feature is worth quite a lot, but not enough to make me trade up. It would take at least one more improvement. And that’s switching from micro-USB to USB-C!

What’s the big deal about the charge port type? It’s that most of my other gadgets now use USB-C, so this is about convenience and simplifying the cables around my house. Less cable clutter!

So just adding USB-C to the current waterproof design would likely tip me over the edge to upgrade.

But the one single feature that would outdo all the others: Color e-ink!

Color e-ink

Of course, I’d still want black text on white pages. But color would bring to life book covers! It would also enable colored highlighting in e-ink fashion. And, while not much benefit to me, it would promote color e-ink comics!

7” screen

Amazon already makes this, but it’s only on the high-dollar Oasis. This bigger display would be nice to have in the paperwhite, but I would not want to sacrifice its size. Instead, make the bezels a little bit smaller. Optimize them for finger-grip and a bit more screen.

Extras

  • More color options for the outer housing (bring back the white paperwhite)
  • Faster CPU for speedier overall performance
  • Include a free case/cover for Prime members
  • Wireless charging

New Software

The kindle has great software features: built-in dictionary and word finder, vocabulary builder, goodreads integration(!), and X-ray. It’s quite a list; I’m not sure what else to add!

My top software request is for the display to show the cover of the last book I was reading when turned off! I read that was coming soon, but I’ve still not seen it.

How about a progress bar? Add this option at the bottom of a book with the location/time/percentage indicators. A progress bar would be a simple visual way to show how far you’ve read. It could be a skinny line, or if thicker it could show tick marks at quarter or third points in the book.

I’d like to also see new incentives for purchasing. For example, each kindle could include one free ebook of your choice. Or, for Prime members, drop the free Prime Reading option, which offers only 1,000 books to read. In its place, offer kindle Unlimited, with its full catalog, for $5/month instead of $10. That would be a great Prime perk.

Finally, every physical book you buy from Amazon could offer the ebook version for at least 50% off the normal price. And vice versa, every ebook you buy could offer the physical copy for half-off! Some books you just wanna collect on a real shelf.

kindle on ground
Photo by Jingda Chen on Unsplash

Conclusion

So I’ve listed several big-ticket items that I want in my next kindle. And I’m sure there are other good ideas out there – like cooperating with libraries for better ebook lending.

The kindle in its current form – 3 versions – is already a winsome ereader. I love my paperwhite! But Amazon shouldn’t rest on its laurels.

What ideas do you have? What would make you buy a new kindle?


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

Bookish Thoughts On No Filter

Who doesn’t like a book that’s unputdownable? I finished reading one (on my kindle paperwhite, of course) last week by Sarah Frier titled, No Filter. It is THE book about…Instagram! #reading #fortheloveofbooks This post is not a proper book review; I’m just sharing some things about the book.


The Story

I knew I’d enjoy the story behind Instagram; I wasn’t disappointed. If you’ve ever wondered about how Instagram came about, how it works, or if you just like social media or photography, you’ll be interested to read No Filter.

It might sound boring at first. How can reading about people sitting around typing computer code to build an app be interesting? Well, when you put it that way… But that’s not how Instagram (IG) went down.

In the book, you learn about the many influences that caused IG to come to life at the beginning and then grow into the 2nd biggest social network ever! You’ll understand just how that worked out.

One favorite tidbit of mine was how the whole concept developed. Without spoiling all the details (skip the rest of this paragraph if you want zero spoilers), Kevin Systrom, one of the co-founders of IG, enjoyed photography. On a trip, he was made to use an old low quality camera that only shot square photos, forcing him to be creative. Later, these constraints were applied to IG.

No Filter is interesting because there are many people involved, each with their own agendas, goals, biases, motivations, proclivities, affinities, flaws, and strengths. Like characters in any story, these cause plenty of drama. At play are the key factors of power, pride, principles, and personalities of two of the tech-sector’s most prominent leaders ever: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Kevin Systrom of Instagram.

It’s about Instagram versus Facebook, and versus Twitter, and versus SnapChat. The CEO’s of each company, along with their strategic decisions, interact for or against each other at different times. This was very interesting.

(Not an affiliate link.)

The story-arc I was most fascinated to learn was how IG tragically devolved from an aesthetic photo sharing service to a social-status popularity contest among influencers!

At the start, IG was nice because the built-in photo filters helped make pictures look good, even artistic, at a time when smartphone cameras were poor quality. But as the cameras improved, photo filters were less important.

Instead, there was a new way to use “filters.” These were not for pictures themselves; they were for the people taking the pictures. To gain followers and likes, and thus sponsored ads, people filtered their own lives, making them appear much nicer and cooler than reality. #fake.

Creativity and beauty – art – were not an end in themselves, something to be appreciated and enjoyed. They were used as a means to an end: fame and fortune. Regular users strove to appear as celebrities. With glitz and glam, or even shock value, they became known as “Influencers.”

It’s important to understand that IG’s degraded ethos had an adverse affect on our culture at large. Young teens, for example, suffered burdensome pressure to perform. Seeking ever more validation, some buckled under the induced anxiety. In fact, this harmful trend was a driving reason why SnapChat came into existence.

In sum, there was a lot more going on behind the scenes involving IG than you may realize. It’s this behind-the-curtain look in No Filter that I enjoyed. It’s apt to say the devil’s in the details.

The Book & The Writing

Sarah Frier’s work details the history of IG in a chronological narrative. It’s not dry. It reads like a piece of fiction told in the 3rd person, but the fact that this is a true story with real people – literally billions! – makes it all the more involving.

The length is neither too short nor too long. I’m kind of a slow reader, and it took me about two weeks to read this book in my spare time. I got through much of it on the weekends.

No Filter goes on the bookshelf with Steven Levy’s, Facebook: The Inside Story. It’s kind of remarkable to me that these two books were released so close together this year.

Reading the story of IG made me want to also read the story of Twitter! It’s called, Hatching Twitter, by Nick Bilton. So yeah, that’s on my to-read shelf now!

So, if you’re looking for a good read, I recommend No Filter by Sarah Frier.


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

eReaders Are Not Dead

Say what?

An intriguing question popped up from the Good E Reader site this week. It asked if tablets (the iPad…) killed eReaders. This, of course, piqued my interest. The iPad was my primary computer, and I love my kindle. But there’s a bigger question begged here. Are eReaders dead?


Who Dunnit?

The first question, did iPad kill eReaders, seems to suggest eReaders are dead and that now we’re just wondering who or what to blame. It also suggests there’s only one factor involved. I don’t think it’s meant to suggest either of those; things are not that simple. But it got my brain’s gears turning.

The eReader, like the tablet itself, is not dead. Their initial growth has dwindled, and compared to tablets their market share is smaller. But eReaders are not extinct. Like the tablet market itself, some say the tablet is dead, except for the iPad. While fewer companies still make eReaders, Amazon cranks out the kindle in various versions regularly. The kindle is to the eReader market as the iPad is to the tablet market; they are the market! Also, eReaders are very simple devices, so they last for years, which slows sales or upgrades.

I agree that the growth of the eReader market was stunted by tablets like the iPad. But it’s obvious that the thriving smartphone, specifically the phablet, is the true culprit that squelched eReaders. The omnipresence of the smartphone means you always have a device in your pocket to read eBooks. Plus you can read eBooks from multiple vendors or stores by using their respective apps.


Read On

No, the iPad did not kill the eReader. Nothing did. The iPad was my computer for over a year. I enjoyed Apple Books and its latest advancements too. For a while, I experimented with ditching my kindle to read only on my iPad (or iPhone). But in the end, I sold my iPad, and I later re-embraced the superb eReading pleasure of my kindle paperwhite.


Have you switched from an eReader to a phone or tablet instead? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

The Kindle Rekindled

eReader Reread

The kindle is back, baby! For months, it was discarded in a drawer like last year’s fashion. My beloved white Paperwhite is the right device for reading. It is the Jedi Master of eBooks. No, better yet, it is the Yoda. Much to read, I still have!


Kindle Rekindled

Back in April, I published a piece about being torn from my kindle. It was sort of an experiment to rely more on my iPad as eReader. While nice, I later ditched my iPad for a Chromebook in August. So then I switched to my iPhone being my eReader. I also flipped from using the Apple Books app to Google Play Books instead.

I had doubted that I would abandon my kindle for good though. My gut was right on that one. Over the weekend, while exploring new books to read, I reinstalled the kindle app on my phone. Then I found my Paperwhite, charged it up, and rediscovered how good it is!

I started reading a book that’s been on my To-Read shelf for a long time: Dune. It’s a 600-something page novel, no small thing. So I’m sure glad I’ve got the eBook version. And I can think of no better way to read it than on a kindle.

Pros and Cons

The only real downside to using my kindle is that I have yet one more device to manage. I know, “first-world problem.” But simplicity is a valuable virtue when we are inundated with tech and entertainment options. I’ve now gotta charge three devices with three separate cables! (My Chromebook has a USB-C plug. My iPhone uses the Lightning port. And my kindle is still recharged via Micro-USB.)

Thankfully, the kindle lasts forever on a single top-off from the wall outlet, which is one of the upsides. My iPhone’s battery will last longer since I’m not draining it from reading eBooks.

Other pluses that make me glad to be reunited with my kindle are its wider screen, the built-in store, and integration with my favorite book service, goodreads.

Most of all, the kindle’s eInk screen is still its top talent. Fall weather, Lord willing, is imminent. With cooler temps, I’ll be able to sit on our tree swing outside while I read on my kindle, escaping comfortably into other worlds.


Book It

If you don’t have a kindle, then after you finish reading this blog post, go to Amazon.com and pick one out. It’s okay, you have permission.

The newest kindle for less than 100 dollars now has a built-in light! But I still recommend the $120 Paperwhite because of the higher resolution text, which gives you a smoother reading experience.


Do you use an eReader, or does your phone or tablet make that obsolete for you? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Torn Between Two eReaders

I’m kinda stuck. On one hand, I’ve got my beloved kindle paperwhite. And on the other hand, I’ve got my iPad. Both have pros and cons. The weird thing is, I’ve been a stalwart kindle lover for a long time; it’s been no contest. But that started to change recently.


Kindle eReader

I still think the kindle is the best eReader. I’ve even had a blog post in draft for a while now, talking about how and why it’s such a great device for consuming book after book.

There’s the kindle’s gloriously no-glare eInk screen. And the awesome long battery life. And the superb 6″ one-hand friendly screen size. Plus, it is the epitome of a distraction-free, single-purpose focused book reading machine.

Those are shiny superlatives, don’t you think? And good reasons to keep loving my paperwhite.


iPad eReader

I would stick with my kindle, but the idea of my iPad becoming my eReader materialized in my brain the other day. It’s kinda crazy. Maybe it was inception. Read eBooks on my iPad instead of my kindle? What happened?

Well, first off, I love using my iPad. It does a lot and does it well. And lately I’ve been leaning towards relying on it more because it’s just that good. It is my primary computer. I’m iPad-first and iPad-mostly. I rarely use my Windows PC; I would like to be iPad-only.

This touches on a bigger debate I wrote about recently: single versus multi-purpose tech.


Books App

So I decided to try Apple’s Books app. It was updated with a new look and I had not checked it out. When I did, wow, I liked what I saw.

Browsing the Books app is really nice. It has nice typography or fonts, the layout and organization so far seems easier to navigate than the kindle, and all the book covers are in vivid color! That is super nice when you’re used to grayscale cover art.

It also has features akin to the combo of the kindle with goodreads, like To-Read, Reading, and Finished lists. It lets you rate and review books. And there’s even integrated audiobooks right in the app – something I might try.

Checking out the Books app, the cherry on top was a book sale where I found one of my top books To-Read marked down to $2.99! I bought it right then, so now I have an epic sci-fi to dive into on my iPad! It’s Dune.

As I thought about reading on my iPad more, an obvious feature escaped me at first: I can also read on my phone – bonus! This would let me read a book in a pinch anytime or anywhere because my phone is always with me.

What about the backlight and eye-strain issue from reading on a tablet versus the kindle? Honestly, it’s not a big deal to me. I read on my phone and tablet all the time. My eyes are either not hurt by it or are so used to it that it makes no real difference.

Kindle App

Next I tried the kindle app. As expected, it has all the basic features of my kindle paperwhite for organizing and reading books. The one thing it lacks software wise is the built-in ability to buy kindle books in the app (lame, but not a deal breaker).

With two great eBook apps on one device, it’s like shopping between competitors; I can buy books from either and avoid them being all in one basket.


Choosing One

I don’t know if I am willing to ditch my paperwhite. I’ll have to keep weighing the pros and cons of reading exclusively on my kindle or on my iPad.

The thing that seems to be pushing me towards my iPad is a desire to minimize the number of devices I have, to simplify.

It’s a bit of catch-22 though. While I may end up with fewer devices, it also means I will rely on my iPad to do more. It’s shifting complexity from one place to another. But physical clutter outweighs digital clutter I think, so it’s a net gain.

If my iPad also becomes my eReader, then I’m asking it to do one more thing. Yet that’s exactly what the iPad was designed for: doing certain computer-ish things really well. Overall, it’s still a simple device.

Being the tech-geek that I am, you can bet I’ll be trying out my iPad as my eReader for a while. Time will tell if I am willing and able to say good-bye to my kindle’s eInk screen.


What’s your favorite way to read books? Digital or real paperbacks? Do you rely on a tablet much? Comment below or email me. Thanks!