Top Kindle Owner Pain Points

This is a list of the issues bothering Kindle Owners based on the 1023 discussions currently going on in the Amazon Kindle forum.

This is NOT a list of features that would help Kindles sell more (that’s not the point of the post) – rather it’s things that would make Kindle owners happier.

At some point, will add links and/or tips for the more common issues.

Top Kindle Owner Pain Points – The Biggest Pain Points

  1. Using the Kindle outside of the US – This is mostly people in Canada, UK, Europe, South America asking how they can get kindle books outside the US. The simple answer is buying via the Kindle Store (via a kindle gift card if you don’t have a credit card issued in the US).
  2. Formats and Conversion Service – Mostly people asking how to get PDFs to work on the Kindle, using the conversion service and related questions. Check out the Kindle PDF conversion post.
  3. $9.99 Price Concerns – This might very well be the #1 issue (a lot of international kindle owners post multiple threads).
  4. Which Kindle to Buy? – Since these are people who will be Kindle Owners it’s worth including their troubles deciding on the right kindle. 
  5. Specific Book missing from Kindle Store – A lot of people have one or a few books they really want in Kindle format.  
  6. Recommendations – Lots of people asking for recommendations on what to read. This would be a top 3 issue if you include blog related questions.
  7. WhisperNet – People who either do not get WhisperNet where they live or are having temporary problems with it.
  8. Sharing Kindle Books – Lots and lots of people who would like to share their Kindle Books. Would be a top 5 issue if you include people who want to share snippets of books (listed separately below).

Kindle Owner Pain Points – The Relatively Big Issues  

  1. Archive Questions – Lots of people confused about how books go to the Archive, and how to delete books from the Archive. The simple answer – books you buy from Amazon are automatically archived. Books can’t really be deleted from the Archive (as far as I understand) and it’s a good thing (in case you want it later).
  2. Kindle Battery – Lots of owners concerned about their battery dying out and being stuck, asking about how best to recharge the kindle’s battery. Also Kindle 1 owners asking about replacement batteries. For Kindle 2 it’s best to recharge your battery when there’s close to 25% charge left – although recharging anytime there’s more than 25% and less than 75% left is OK too.
  3. Page Numbers – People were generally confused about the lack of pages and trying to find a way to relate physical book pages to Kindle book locations.
  4. Folders  – It was a surprise to see this not be a top 3 issue. However, across 1023 discussions this showed up very few times and some of the time people had resigned themselves to not having it.
  5. Kindle Flight Tips – People asking about precautions, whether you can keep Kindles turned on and so forth. Simple answer – You’re supposed to turn it off. Although turning off the wireless should be enough, the flight staff will usually make you turn it off. Hold the power button (slide it to the side) for 4-5 seconds to turn off the Kindle.
  6. Quality of Kindle Edition Books – People found a lot of typos, formatting issues and other concerns.  
  7. Wishlist – People who want to know how to add Kindle Books to their wish lists. Answer – you can’t and have to use the Amazon Universal Wishlist instead.

Kindle Owner Pain Points – Some Common Ones

  1. Kindle Freezing Up – A decent number of people had their Kindles freeze up on them. The problem was usually resolved with a restart – slide the Kindle power button and keep it pressed/slid for 14 seconds.
  2. Text To Speech Disabled – People who found TTS disabled for books that they wanted read to them. 
  3. Ability to mark books as Read and keep in a separate list – If we couple this with Folders and a few rare organization related issues we could make a case for Folders to be a Top 5 issue.
  4. Ability to share clippings from books via email and with other Kindle owners.
  5. Ability to access email from Kindle – This is obviously people who don’t know the tip to use mobile mail websites via their Kindle browser. However, an in-built solution would be very nice. To see how to use email from the Kindle check out Tip #11 of the Kindle Tips list
  6. Kindle Books on Sony – Interesting to see people trying to get Kindle Store books onto the Sony. It’s not possible.
  7. Kindle Screensaver options – people wanted to be able to set up their own screensavers and get information on the existing ones. Do a google search to find a hack that lets you change the screensavers (not recommended as its unofficial).

By this point we’ve covered the 20% of issues that cover 90% of customer happiness.

The remaining pain points are the ones that came up just a few times.

Kindle Owner Pain Points – The Lesser Evils

  1. Illegal Books – Some people were actually complaining about books being made available illegally in the Kindle Store.  
  2. DRM – There were very, very few complains about DRM. Just a few in 1023 forum discussions. 
  3. Kindle for BlackBerry, Pre – A few requests to get Kindle Apps for the Blackberry and the Palm Pre.  
  4. Lost/Stolen Kindle Help – People trying to figure out whether something can be done.
  5. Fonts – A few people had a good point i.e. let kindle owners choose fonts.
  6. Backlight – Again, it was surprising to see so few people ask about it.
  7. How to unsubscribe from Blogs – People were really confused by this. Check out the Manage My Kindle Guide – it shows you how to get to the ‘Manage My Kindle’ page which lets you cancel your subscriptions.
  8. Requests for an Auto-Scroll feature.
  9. How to share a Kindle – People wanted to be able to prevent purchases while they lent out their kindles. The answer is to go the ‘Manage My Kindle’ section and deregister your Kindle (you can also go to Home>Menu>Settings on your Kindle and choose ‘Desregister’). When you do this the person you loan your kindle to can’t make new purchases.
  10. Screen Contrast – Another big surprise was the lack of screen resolution complaints. This was a huge issue when the Kindle 2 first came out and it certainly seems like Amazon fixed it or perhaps new Kindle 2 owners have never seen the Kindle 1.
  11. PDF Annotations on Kindle DX – People seem unaware that the feature is unsupported. A workaround is to convert PDF files by emailing them to youremail@free.kindle.com and then annotating the converted file.
  12. Using Kindle on Cruises – Mostly about whether Kindle’s WhisperNet would work on cruise ships (usually not).

After this we get a lot of issues that were rare, strange or both. If you have an issue that is important to you, please do add it as a comment and will add a workaround if I know of one.

11 Responses

  1. I can’t believe that Folders aren’t the biggest complaint, especially with doubt about archives and the number of times you can retrieve from archive. I have a very hard time finding things. Whats the use of large memory for book storage in the device if you can’t find anything?

  2. One thing I would like to see is a way to permanently delete a book or at least flag it in some way so it doesn’t show up on my Kindle — even in the archived section.

    Cases in point:

    1. I inadvertently downloaded a patently pornographic novel when I first received the Kindle, and keep having to explain myself when showing the Kindle to my wife, kids, and friends.

    2. Some books are so bad, disappointing, or disturbing, that I would prefer never to be reminded of them again. To constantly run across them in my Archived Items list is frustrating.

    I can understand why Amazon doesn’t want to let me permanently delete books, but if I could “hide” them somehow through my Amazon account, that would be dandy.

    Thanks,

  3. Some of this issues are seen quite differently from a Kindle DX point of view. For example. I got the DX primarily because of PDF which makes my number one issue FOLDERS, and number 2 PDF ‘zooming’. (Annotations would be a plus but at least bookmarks work.)

    Also you may not be aware that the Amazon auto conversion (free version for sure, maybe the pay option also) will not convert PDF files for me, it keeps them in PDF format. I guess they realize that I have a DX which reads the PDF natively.

    For what its worth, I seem to get a lot of crashes related to looking up Wikipedia or at least using the browser. I also have a Kindle book (How to Solve it, by Polya) that seems difficult for the DX to render quickly. So perhaps that book is even related to crashes.

    I love the battery life. Perhaps I worry to much about the wireless drain but I almost always keep it off until I want to use wikipedia or let it synchronize.

  4. Yes I know about the free.kindle email address. I have not yet used the pay version. I haven’t tried since I first got my Kindle DX activated at the beginning of August. At that time when I sent a PDF document (to the free address) it was not converted but simply sent back to me as a PDF.

    I just tried again and it is still happening. In fact the MD5sum of the original and “converted” documents are the same. Amazon Kindle free document conversion will not convert PDF files for me. I assume this is because I have a Kindle DX.

  5. yes. the free address conversion used to work. Not sure how recently they turned off the PDF conversion ability – could i suggest using mobipocket to convert PDFs – http://ireaderreview.com/2008/01/18/how-to-view-pdf-files-on-the-kindle/

  6. Kindle 2 needs a way to make key presses silent. At least the Next Page keys can be quiet. Kindle is generally a good way to read without disturbing other people. So why does it have to make a sharp clicking noise to turn an electronic page?

    Maybe there already is a way to make button presses stop clicking. If so, please tell me.

    • No way that I know of. You could try a bit of a napkin below the page turn button – haven’t run into any way that works.

    • I noticed that if you put your thumb tip on the inside edge of the next page button and then press you can almost eliminate that problem. I personally get annoyed by the clicking although noone else around me seems to care when I ask them if that bothers them.

  7. Items I would like to see in my next Kindle. (currently use 1.2)

    The first 5 are *must have* items that will cause me to leave Amazon and go with BN or whoever gets these right first.

    1. better ergonomics including holding and buttons.
    2. a real book cover that perhaps includes paper and pen.
    3. better speed of paging through lists, page changes, mostly going from one text to some other function.
    4. an easy to use and highly effective folder structure for files.
    5. permit me to transfer or loan my books to others.
    6. better PDF conversion, formatting, and reading.
    7. configurability of buttons and menus and functions including having the time displayed.
    8. more configurability of sort order in document lists.
    9. more versatility in highlighting, book marking, note taking, and transfer of these to my computer.
    10. better and faster text searching along with more search configurability.
    11. better battery life.
    12. google-like searching on the Amazon site – fix my spelling in a search!
    13. loose the sound – not useful and adds to cost and complexity.

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