Kindle 2 Features I would love to see

Although I’m extremely happy with my Kindle 2 there are several features I would really like to have (even if only in Kindle 3) ordered by descending importance:

  • Full Unicode character support (Cyrillic, Asian, etc). Currently all you see instead of these characters are plain boxes. I realize that this is not high on Amazon’s priority list because there few if any books in the Kindle Store that use these… Still there are books downloadable from the Internet, personal converted documents, web-pages etc. It would be nice not to be limited to English here.
  • Ability to email clippings and highlights (even if only to myself)…. What makes Kindle great is that it’s not tethered to your computer and the only cord you need to plug in once in a while is the power cord. Yet this is not the case with clippings. Imagine, you are reading an article or a book and see a passage that would be very interesting to a friend of yours. Why not add a menu item that would allow you to email it right away using the WhisperNet connection?
  • Ability to cut and paste…. Real-life story: I’m in my car listening to “Book Notes” on NPR. They are running a piece about book by Daniyal Mueenuddin that really interests me so I try to look it up in Kindle Store – no matches… OK, I google for it using basic web and find the article on NPR website. I actually had to find a piece of paper and scribble the name on it so I could then type it in Kindle Store search-box because of my extremely poor memory for names and average spelling skills :) Wouldn’t it be nice I were able to just select the text on the web-page and then copy-paste it into search box. Same would go for book browsing – you can select a single word and it’s automatically put in the search-box but not entire phrase.
  • Better power management. There is no reason why my Kindle 2 should sustain more than 2 weeks of intensive reading on a single charge with wireless turned off and fully drain it in 4 days of hardly any reading at all with wireless turned on given that I only bought 2 or 3 books during this days and have one magazine subscription. I realize that it’s impossible for the device to know if it has something to download (book, magazine or update) without connecting to Amazon servers once in a while but right now it’s doing it way too often. It would be nice to have single menu item that would connect to WhisperNet, check for updates and download them and then turn off wireless automatically. As for magazine subscriptions, they come out on a regular schedule to it should be easy to turn the radio on just once a day and turn it off afterwards.
  • Password protection. It may be a minor thing but still… Kindle can be used to read personal documents that may be sensitive and browse the web (possibly storing authentication cookies). And of course there is a possibility that your 3-year-old would start pressing buttons and order one the $6,000+ books. Or someone may do it as an evil prank…
  • Hack-free custom screen-saver. I can imagine that I’m not the only one who would like to customize my Kindle 2 not only by the means of skins.

What I’m going to do now is email this list to [email protected]. If you feel that these or other features are important to you, you can do the same. From my past experience of working in large corporations I know that massive customer feedback does work sometimes.

What about you? What features would you like to see in your eBook readers?

15 thoughts on “Kindle 2 Features I would love to see”

  1. I have a few additions of my own:

    1) Beyond clippings being emailed to me, how about if they just appeared in an RSS feed?
    2) I wish there were simply a sync+check button on the unit. Click it once before you begin reading, it does what it’s supposed to do, then shuts off wireless, a really battery killer.
    3) I love the dictionary – I’m looking up words much more often now. But getting the cursor to those words takes TOO LONG.
    4) I’d like it if the screen were somewhat larger and had better contrast. It’s adequate now, but no question in my mind it could be better.
    5) Better graphics – and likely color – are going to be required before magazine subscriptions become as useful as books. For example, one of the great things about The New Yorker are those beautiful covers; you can forget that on the Kindle.
    6) For anything other than page-forward, page-back, I think the UI is somewhat confusing. Do I hit the previous page button or the back button?

  2. More important to me would be to add a custom sort field to the home page. This would allow us to correct author names incorrectly entered as first, last and allow us to sort by year of publication (important when reading a series of books by the same author).

    Also huge help would be the ability to categorize or create folders so books can be categorized by genre. Why have the ability to hold over 1,000 books if they can’t be organized?

  3. I absolutely agree with you on being able to email clippings. I’m always finding something in the Amazon Daily blog and in Fortune magazine that I want to email myself for later or email to a friend.

  4. A translation dictionary capability would be very nice. If I read French or Spanish books on the Kindle, I’d like a capability to translate words with which I’m not familiar.

  5. I bought a Kindle but am very disappointed in the product. The screen was grey on grey and unlike the visuals on the website, where the screen appeared the same color as the frame. I need much more light in the room to read the Kindle than to read a paper page. Adjustments on the contrast please. customer service said I could return it and get a replacement but if that one had the same issue, I wouldn’t be able to get a refund. So I returned it. I like the idea of it but I can’t read like this.

    A calendar that could be sync’d to an office calendar program would be welcome in a future model.

  6. A fixed-width font would be a good addition. This is one of the things which is keeping O’Reilly from releasing more of its computer books in Kindle format. Native PDF viewing would be nice too.

  7. It’s very important to me that I have the ability to share books with friends. When I share a book with another Kindle user I shouldn’t be able to read it myself (as with a physical book), but when they return it I should be able to lend it out to other friends with Kindle devices.

  8. That would be too complicated and prone to abuse. I don’t think that publishers will go with this.
    More realistic solution would be one similar to Microsoft Zune – you can share copies of the book with your friends but these copies are time-bombed or partial. So they may sample it and if they like it – they buy it for themselves.

    I’ll not be surprised if we’ll see more subscription based eBooks programs where you would just pay fixed monthly fee and have unlimited access (again similar to Zune Pass). Then lending wouldn’t matter.

  9. We’ve had our K2 for a few days. I’ve read one non-fiction book (good experience) and sampled the newspaper feed (NYT – OK for mobile device). I used the browser to test read some newspaper mobile web sites (clunky, slow, barely-bearable).

    On a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 as maximum:
    * I rate the device as a 4 for the reading text books. It fulfills the mission in a well lit reading environment. It rates a zero in environments with no light.
    * I rate the device as a 2 for interacting with text books, meaning highlighting, clipping sections, copying those sections to another device/environment, etc. The GUI is just too painfully unresponsive and slow to make those functions productively useful.
    * I rate the device as a 3 for reading subscription newspaper feeds that are formatted specifically for the K2, meaning they take advantage of the devices hardware UI controls to move through content.
    * I rate the device as a 1 for reading non-subscription newspaper feeds. The lag time of the GUI and the painfully slow process of moving the cursor to your desired location is more of a torture device than an user interface.
    * I rate the device a 4 as a business model and content delivery platform. However, I do not think the current business model will long survive competitive and other pressures. I agree with industry commentators that the platform could be an enduring and very sizable success if it became an open platform.

    We spent some time this AM discussing desired features, upgrades and changes to the Kindle. Some of these will be repeats of the above and they are not ranked.
    1) Larger screen for periodicals, which is reportedly on the way later in ’09.
    2) Faster CPU or whatever it takes to make the GUI responsive. The cursor response is so painfully slow with the K2 using it is marginal at best.
    3) Integral lighting for use in dark environments.
    4) Native PDF support, and this means exact reproduction and display of the original document.
    5) Password protection.
    6) Ability to quickly and easily highlight sections (see GUI performance issue, item #2) and save and/or email to any address.
    7) Home and End keys or shortcuts.
    8) Simple, non-tech way for users to customize the K2 experience, e.g. user “screen saver” images. The user should be able to easily download photos or create a text image using the K2 keyboard.
    9) Variable cost model content, such as free or very low cost content in conjunction with advertising.
    10) Secondary market for titles. Just as you can buy “new or used” books at, in order to be viable long-term, the Kindle paradigm must contain a secondary market for purchased titles. Users should have the ability to re-license their content to another Kindle owner, with Amazon charging a low transaction fee. Users should have the ability to re-sell their content, again with Amazon and the publisher charging a low fee. The re-sell market could be time-gated, meaning no re-sales would be allowed until a title had been on the market for 6, 9 or 12 months. If no official, legal secondary market is created, it is inevitable that a non-legal secondary market will be created and receive tacit cultural/social endorsement.

  10. 1) Password protection. I have books on mine I’d rather not share with others. Especially on iPhone app.

    2) Folders. Especially when looking at total library (Kindle plus Amazon), I have pages and pages of the Nation and Atlantic, I’d like not to have to page through them every time I’m in the library.

  11. I love my Kindle 2.

    I would love it even more if (1) there was a backlit option for reading in bed while my husband is sleeping (2) there was a clock (3) there was a general notes page and a calendar that can sync with my personal email calendar (yahoo). Sometimes when I read I remember things that I need to do and if I could store the notes and not interupt my reading it’d be great! I would also love to see a monthly billing option – so I can buy books throughout the month but only have to pay once. Folders would be nice (i.e. finshed books, samples, wish list, etc)

  12. It actually does have a clock. It’s displayed on the top line of the screen when you press “menu” button.

  13. SoftWare.

    All of the features everyone is mentioning here can be part of firmware & sold.

    Example: .PDF support, copy/paste. darker font — that can be a firmware update.
    eMail, a voice translator, casual games — that can be sold in the Kindle Store for, like,
    .99 cents & up in a new category: APPS.

  14. I love what people have mentioned here – reinforcing a few:
    – Folders or Ability to Sort Books and Media into “Sections”
    – A program to immediately translate pdfs into Kindle format
    – Ability to manage clippings in different categories (e.g. quotes, etc.)
    – Lighting for night reading

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