Thoughts on Kindle Paperwhite

I recently bought a kindle paperwhite. Here are some things I’ve noticed:

  1. I buy a fair amount of books from places other than Amazon (often from Humble Bundle instead), for which you have to either “side load” via USB, or email to a address
    • If you email the book to your kindle, then you’re limited to 50MB and 15 attachments per email. Which doesn’t sound to bad, but with my email address, I’m limited to 12MB per email, and I have some ebooks with lots of pictures that easily exceed that limit.
    • If you side load, via USB, then the ebook is not synced to your other devices, which is total crap. It also doesn’t show up on your Amazon cloud drive.
    • You can’t use Amazon’s cloud drive to upload documents to your kindle. I think at one point in time this might have been possible. Seems like useful feature to me.
  2. The organization methods suck. Collections are available on the kindle, but they can only be managed on the kindle. Let’s face it, the kindle has a crap UI, primarily because the e-ink is slow. So, Amazon should provide a web interface to manage the device – similar to the way Apple and Google let you manage apps on your phone/tablet. But not only allow loading and deleting books from a device, but also organizing books into collections/categories. Ideally, Amazon would automatically organize device documents by genre, the same way they do with their website when buying books.
  3. I had hoped to be able to use the paperwhite for maps. Nope. The zooming for pdf/jpg just sucks too bad. Maybe if someone released an ebook with the appropriate links for scrolling/zooming it would work better? At any rate, I didn’t find anything readily available with  quick Amazon and Google searches. To me, maps for remote areas where you don’t have WiFi or cell coverage seems like an ideal use for an e-ink device. If I tried to just use my phone/tablet to look at maps all the time while on a long hike, I’d end up draining the batteries before too long. But a kindle with its approximately 1 month battery life should fit the bill, even if it is only grayscale. I’ve made some progress (after 6+ hours) at an experimental bash script to convert individual USGS quad PDFs into ePub/Mobi formats, with the maps split into multiple images. But honestly, why hasn’t this been done already?
  4. The experimental browser sucks. It especially seems to choke on javascript (maybe 70% of the sites I tried). Nor does it handle rss/atom/rdf feeds, like most modern browsers do.
  5. RSS support is nonexistant. This seems like a no-brainer to me. I use RSS feeds for almost all my news. I can tell from looking at the Amazon kindle store, that they believe they should get a revenue stream for providing other people’s (free RSS) content to my device, but that is utter BS.