How to improve the best e-readers

< type="image/webp"/>Kindle Paperwhite 2021 with text next to two books

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Amazon’s Kindle has established itself as the de facto choice for anyone looking for an e-book reader. Near global availability, a digital store that could rival Alexandria’s library, and modern conveniences like the ability to sync your books across multiple devices make it a no-brainer. Sure, there are alternatives like Nook or Kobo, but the Kindle is the biggest player in the business by a wide margin.

Unfortunately, Amazon’s overwhelming lead also means that the company has been quite slow with developing features and the lack of some of them is quite irritating to avid fans of the product. My goal is to keep a product simple and straightforward, but here are six additional features on my Amazon Kindle Feature Wish List that would go a long way toward improving the user experience.

A renewed notepad

< type="image/webp"/>Kindle Paperwhite 2021 showing clippings page of notes next to a notebook

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I’ve always been addicted to bookmarks and compulsive note-takers when reading non-fiction books. However, as I switched much of my reading to the Kindle over the past decade, I found myself messing with the e-book reader’s built-in note-taking solution. Unfortunately, Amazon hasn’t made much, if any, progress here over the years and I think the feature is seriously lacking. The Amazon implementation is essentially an endless list of additions to a text file. This works well enough for taking notes from time to time, but if the average user holds onto a reader for a few years, it is not a solution when it comes to notes from hundreds, if not thousands, of books.

The Amazon Notes implementation is essentially an endless list of additions to a text file.

In fact, the current system is so cumbersome that most of the time I end up taking notes in a separate journal or notepad. Again, it is not an ideal solution as it breaks away from the original text of the book. The ability to enable notes per book and an easy way to send them in printable format could be a much more elegant solution. Going one step further, today’s Kindles are powerful enough to generate a standard e-book file. How about an on-demand compilation of book notes with a clickable table of contents?

While we’re at it, the Letter panels in the latest generation of Kindles have a fast enough refresh rate that writing short sentences isn’t really a chore. I certainly wouldn’t mind a note-taking app to write down quick thoughts while enjoying a long reading session.

Looking for a new Kindle? Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Review (2021)

Improved collections

< type="image/webp"/>Kindle Paperwhite 2021 creating a new collection

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

I’m sure I’m not the only one to blame for loading my Kindle with more books than I could be reading at any one time. Collections are useful for managing an overwhelming collection of books. However, once again, the Kindle falls short of creating a truly convenient solution. As it is, the collections function as a series of folders and I have mine set up for the books I am currently reading, as well as the genres I am interested in.

Nested collections could be a possible solution for a long-lived series or digest.

However, the only feature at the top of my Amazon Kindle feature wish list is the ability to create nested collections. A single folder for fiction is useful, but a second folder would make it much easier to store an entire series of books in one place. This would be particularly convenient when reading long series such as The Wheel of Time, which is over 13 books and counting. Interestingly, Amazon seems to have implemented support for series grouping, but this is restricted to Amazon accounts based in the US and UK for now.

On the subject of collections, most readers would appreciate being able to classify books by genre. While Amazon happily advertises the ability to store thousands of books on a single device, browsing through them is an exercise in frustration. A drop-down filter to select a genre or even auto-generated collections would go a long way to better collection management and, more importantly, discovering books that you may already have in your library.

Better GoodReads integration

< type="image/webp"/>Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Reading Lists

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Amazon’s acquisition of GoodReads in 2013 promised deep integration between the Kindle and the excellent, if old-fashioned, social network for books. Eight years later, what we have is an applet that loads the website in the browser and a smorgasbord of hyperlinks scattered across the interface. It amazes the mind that the Kindle’s built-in reading list still doesn’t pull up my “want to read” list from GoodReads.

GoodReads must be a first-class citizen on the Kindle.

Meanwhile, it’s impossible to search for a GoodReads entry for a side-loading book. For a business that thrives on data collection, the metadata mismatch or even the ability to select the book from a list of possible options is appalling. Marking a book as “currently reading” or “completed” on GoodReads is also a tricky business that almost never works.

Also, it’s a shame that the Kindle doesn’t display GoodReads book recommendations on the home screen. I understand that the real benefit of Amazon is selling you books. However, GoodReads is a far superior product for managing an e-book and physical book library with much more information on my reading habit. Amazon could also boost purchases based on the recommendation of the social network if it makes GoodReads a first-class citizen in the e-book reader.

Related: What kindle do I have? A quick guide to identifying all Amazon e-readers

Built-in news reader

< type="image/webp"/>Feedly redesign

The Kindle’s e-ink display makes it a perfect device for reading long-form content. However, this need not be limited to books. Sure, Amazon will let you get a copy of The New York Times and a few select store publications, but the pocket-size form factor and convenient display are crying out for an RSS reader.

Related: Top 10 RSS reader apps for Android

Combine it with a website to easily manage your preferred s and a daily summary of stories to read, and it would be perfect. It’s a shame Amazon hasn’t enabled the feature yet.

Support for additional e-book formats

< type="image/webp"/>Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Amazon Book Recommendations

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

While Amazon would prefer you to buy all of your books from the Kindle e-book store, given the option, I prefer to choose them directly from the publisher. Considering that Amazon keeps 65% of the revenue from Kindle e-book sales, the outright purchase ensures that all money goes to the author or publisher. In the case of independent publishers like Grimscribe Press, this goes a long way toward encouraging future authors or hobbyists.

Read more: The best e-readers to spend your money on

However, in most cases, books from smaller publishers or public domain s are delivered via the open ePub format. Unfortunately, Amazon’s Kindle remains the only stumbling block among e-book readers that supports the open format, despite its popularity. While it is fairly trivial to convert books to a compatible Mobi or azw3 file, incorporating support for ePub files would make the device much more convenient for regular users, especially when downloading books via the built-in browser.

Supports personal files in WhisperSync

< type="image/webp"/>Amazon Kindle 2019 placed on top of older kindles

WhisperSync is, hands down, one of the best examples of deep integration between Amazon’s Kindle and Audible products. Start reading on your Kindle, continue on your phone, or sync the audiobook to where you are in the book, technology lets you focus on what really matters: literature.

While any content purchased from the Amazon webstore will sync seamlessly across various Kindles and even mobile apps, syncing your personally purchased books is a bit trickier. You’ll want to dig into the Kindle settings to find the e-reader’s email address. Any e-books emailed to that address will first be downloaded to the Kindle, but will also be available on any other Kindle device or app. Also, it allows you to sync your reading progress across multiple devices.

WhisperSync’s support for side-loaded content would make it much easier to get your books on all your reading devices.

Unfortunately, its scope is quite limited. For starters, any e-book emailed to the Kindle is labeled a document rather than a book, which is not ideal for managing a large collection. Amazon also restricts transfers to a book via email, which can make streaming in a large library quite cumbersome. Also, WhisperSync does not work with books loaded via USB.

Personally, I prefer to use desktop software like Caliber to catalog my library of e-books, then transfer them often via USB or using the web browser on the Kindle. This means giving up the ability to sync my books across multiple Kindle devices. I understand that there is a cost associated with running servers, but implementing support for downloaded content as a primary benefit or even as a separate subscription would be an easy win for Amazon.

Kindle Feature Wish List: What do you want to see?

< type="image/webp"/>Kindle Paperwhite 2021 placed on top of books showing book cover

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The Amazon Kindle is a product that has reached relative maturity. Barring a few nice additions, there isn’t much room for improvement from a hardware standpoint. The software, however, paints a different picture. The recent shakeup of Amazon’s interface shows that the company is still putting weight behind a product that practically sells itself. A few more quality-of-life improvements from our Amazon Kindle wish list are all that’s keeping you from being the best e-book reader.

What missing Kindle features are on your wish list? Let us know in the comments.

Above article first published by . We curated and re-published.

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