Fuck you, Kindle

by Parker Dupris

As part of my day job I used to do a lot of nerd-stuff related to the internet, branding, and digital content. I didn’t write code, that is, actually “build” the screens/interfaces at that job ( though I have in the past. But I definitely designed screens for desktop/laptop, phone, and tablet. I did it for a long while and I was good at it, and my think tank helped groups of smart people who were stumped on problems along thee lines, solving their problems when they could not do it themselves.


Which brings me to “Fuck you, Kindle”.


There are teams of people at Amazon hq designing interfaces, for their website and for Kindle, and probably a few other things besides. That’s their whole job.


If you have a Kindle device, you can set up folders on it so that if you have a lot of books, they’re in easy-to-sort-through headings. This is a common design practice, used in many instances on the web and in life because it works. Got a lot of shit? Put it in folders and organize it a bit.


If you use the Kindle app for another device such as iPad, iPhone or Android, you can’t organize your books that way. That functionality, the ability to create headings or folders and stick for books in them, isn’t present. This sucks.


Why do I care?


First, I have a lot of ebooks on my iPad. A rough life, I know? But I want some way to organize them and I can’t, because Amazon didn’t put that ability on the iPad. It’s not because they “forgot”…  that’d be like your mom forgetting to tell you to wash your hands before dinner. And continuing to forget, every day, for four years. Someone made a conscious decision not to include the feature.


Another way of saying this: Amazon designers made a conscious decision to make something harder to use, almost certainly in hopes that you’d buy a kindle ( in addition to using that phone or iPad or whatever to read their books ). The industry term for this is “crippleware”, where you get a disabled or not-quite-functional version of some software that is meant to bug you enough so that you buy something else.


It’s shady, and frustrating in a First World kind of way, and I wanted to expose Amazon’s crimes to the world.


Fuck you, Kindle.