Thoughts on the Kindle Ecosystem

I read books using the Kindle ecosystem; having such quick access to books has changed my reading life and increased the quantity and quality of books I read each year. I love how I can start reading something at night on my (physical) Kindle and then use the Kindle app on my phone the next day waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and it saves me from having to carry around the ten books that I am (sort of) reading at any one time.

I occasionally use the iPad Kindle app as well, and the Mac app or online experience less often. While in the car I listen to Audible books about half of the time I’m in the car and gross hip-hop music the other half.

Being a software developer by trade, there are a few things that I notice from using all these apps to read about 100 books a year:

Please Learn About Me

There are exactly zero acceptable times in which any Kindle app should ever be “Learning my reading speed” given that it should have rough data on about 500 books of all forms and one person (me) reading them. I accept that I read some books faster than others, or that some types of books always slow down fast readers. I also understand that people might read faster on an iPad than a phone or computer, or at different speeds at different screen sizes or font configurations. I reject that you don’t have all the data behind this and that you couldn’t put something smarter in there than “Learning…”.

And Then Tell Me You Know Me

When you do know my reading speed, you should have a more accurate value for it. For some books (they seem to be ones with pictures in them or tables) the Kindle is off so much it is useless. I have read entire books in which the entire time the Kindle app says “1 minute left in chapter”. The entire book.  Other times the estimate is simply too high or low – I read a bit faster than average but am in the middle of the bell curve here.

Make all Products Seamless

Audible, GoodReads, and Kindle seem to be three completely separate products – with GoodReads integration only on the Kindle proper (I have the Paperwhite version). Audible is an Amazon company and GoodReads *should* be. Goodreads recommendations are better than Amazon’s. Full stop. Why? Because GoodReads reviews are easier to do, and who buys something versus who reads something (and then enjoys it) are completely different sets. I would love to change the “People also bought” to “People also bought, but we don’t know how it worked out” under a book on Amazon.

Relevant Ads for Books

The physical Kindle hardware is of high quality for readers: battery life, screen, durability, etc. The lock screen has an advertisement on it that changes every time you lock it. This means that every time I look at my Kindle to start reading you have my attention for a second. I have never, NEVER, seen a book that looks interesting to me there. Instead, somehow, ever since I have self-published a book I am served ads by self-published authors, most of which seem to not align with my interests. The Audible, Goodreads, and Amazon “Recommended for You” books seem to be much higher quality lists – why are these not used?

Upsell me on Audible More – I would buy more

The Audible and the Kindle experience are separate apps; Amazon seems to be spending a lot of money on Audible TV and VOD ads (I see them often), how about you encourage people like me to stop spending $10 on a Kindle book and spend $25 on an audible version instead?  I read about ten personal business productivity books a year, but hate reading them and would prefer to listen to the deep lovely baritone of someone reading them to me.  You should know this about me, and use it to take my money every year.

I’m writing a book about successfully working from home; click here if you want to know when it is complete.