I often go to coffee shops to work in the summer, and I want to linger and read ebooks, too. I’d rather not lug my iPad with me, now that my Asus netbook is my primary travel machine. That mean using Kindle for Windows.
So how is the software’s latest version? In one word, dreadful. Kindle for Windows is a clunky kludge with limited capabilities.
The Kindle came out 10 years ago. I’m mystified why Amazon still haven’t figured out how to standardize the feature sets to operate the same across every platform. Here is a short list of some of the limitations of Kindle of Windows:
1) You cannot import personal content while you’re in the program itself, even if you can bring in files in other ways (such as by clicking while in your Web browser).
Yup, this puppy will directly load only Amazon-purchased books.
I know, that’s what they are trying to sell you. But people do use multiple vendors, and one of the ways Amazon achieved its dominance was by making this relatively easy (its ereading hardware and apps can’t read the ePub industry standard directly).
On every other device I own, including the irksome Fire tablet, which segregates out your personal stuff, but at least lets you view it, you can do this. On Windows? Nope.
I Googled high and low for the setting or tab or option, thinking I was missing something. Amazon’s own support threads confirmed that the personal documents feature is ‘not supported’ on Windows.
2) You cannot use your cloud collections. Cloud collections is another ‘unsupported’ feature for Windows. Again, why? What benefit is there to restricting this feature?
I have over 200 books and I don’t want to rifle through them all every time I open up the app. My standard procedure has been to add every new purchase to a collection called Unread Books and then, as I read them, shelve them into other collections by category. It works so well on my iOS and Android devices. When I am looking for something new to read, I just open up the Unread Books collection and download something. So why can’t I do this on the Windows reader? No reason, other than Amazon does not happen to support it for no good reason I can discern.
3) No integrated store. The store button sends you to the web browser. I don’t feel like that’s good UI—it’s not a fatal flaw to me, but it isn’t good UI.
So will I keep Kindle for Windows? I will, because I do have enough unread Kindle purchases to make it worthwhile, even if I can only read Amazon books with it. But the lack of collections on top of that is really sad to me. Why can’t I organize my books? Why would this be such a hard feature to implement in an app like this?
The more important issue for me is this whole ‘only supported on the following devices’ issue in the first place. Why do that? Why not just put out all your devices one day in an Amazon boardroom, let everyone try them out, and vote on the one with the best overall experience—and then standardize all the other ones to behave the same way? It shouldn’t take a customer half an hour of searching online, only to learn that something they can do on four other devices is seemingly not supported on the fifth one. Kindle should be Kindle. If I can do it on iOS, I should be able to do it on Windows too. Epic fail, Amazon. I’m disappointed.
Publisher’s note: Yep. Reminds me of how irrationally stubborn Amazon is in refusing to add an all-text bold option to Kindle hardware and apps. Customers like Joanna and me who’ve bought not only hardware but hundreds of books—that’s a screenshot from my Kindle for PC software—deserve better treatment. – D.R.