Thoughts on the Kindle

This is an email I sent to the feedback address that amazon provides for Kindle owners:

My story: I had been long wanting an e-Reader, and was drawn to the Sony one; However, the Sony was lacking a lot of features, and I was worried about the longevity of their e-book store. When Amazon announced the Kindle, I was very excited!

After now having it for a few weeks, I’m more excited than ever!

Here are a couple of thoughts for you:

1) You are already taking a lot of flack for the cover. In my case, the Kindle stays in the cover properly, but the elastic band is already stretched. This is a design that needs to be fixed. In the perfect world, perhaps something with a clasp will be made available. I don’t have a problem buying a new cover (I’d rather not spend the money, but I will), you just need to come out with something better, ASAP

2) There should be a way to organize content a bit. For example, on my Kindle I have two main types of books – personal reading and technical reading. I would like to be able to easily tag books with a type, and then filter on that type. I would also like to be able to mark a book as read and then have it not show when browsing except when I explicitly want to see items that I’ve read. You could argue that read books should be removed from the device, but given that currently memory isn’t a problem I would rather leave them in my “library” and just not see them.

3) Finally, regarding the actual design – it’s not as bad as many people make it out to be. The keyboard is workable. The large buttons do make it hard to pick up at times, but I’ve just made it a habit to “lock” it when I put it down, thus rendering it safe and easy to pick back up. I would like to see more contrast on the screen itself, but I know that is a limitation of the e-ink technology. Perhaps you can help drive advancement of it through a large volume of sales.

Thanks for listening! – Eric.

Overall I’m very happy with the Kindle, and I have to say that having a bunch of books on hand without needing to rifle through my library is pretty cool.  A few minutes ago I decided I needed to pick up a book on SQL Server Reporting Services 2005, and within two minutes I had purchased it and had it downloaded onto the Kindle.  Very cool, and very bad for retail book stores (and shipping companies).