Kindles are the most popular dedicated reading devices by far. In fact a lot of people think all ebook readers are Kindles even when it’s a Kobo or a Nook.
As much as I like Kindles, they are far from perfect. Amazon is much slower to innovate that other brands, and they have a tendency to keep releasing the same devices over and over again with minor improvements.
If Amazon really wanted to they could make Kindles even more popular than they already are if they took more of a leadership role in the industry instead of sitting back and following what other companies do first.
That’s one of the negative side effects of being so popular. They take less risks and settle with what has worked in the past.
All things considered, I think Kindles are great for reading ebooks and I prefer the Kindle’s built-in reading app over most others, but there are some things that I hate about Kindles.
1. Lack of Innovation – Kindles are always a few years behind the competition in terms of new hardware features. Nook was the first to offer a frontlight (technically Sony was first with the sidelights on the PRS-700 but they quickly abandoned that idea before it ever took hold). Kobo was the first to offer a flush front screen and a frontlight with adjustable color temperature, they were the first to release an 8-inch device with a flexible E Ink screen for increased durability and lighter weight, and they were among the first to offer a waterproof ebook reader. Now a few ebook readers with color E Ink screens are hitting the market in 2020, but how many years will it take for Amazon to release a color Kindle?
2. No Large Screen Kindle – Considering the growing popularity of large-screen ereaders over the past few years, I still can’t believe that Amazon refuses to release a Kindle with a screen larger than 7-inches. It goes back to a lack of innovation and a failure to listen to what customers want.
3. No ePub Support – Amazon likes to pretend that the ePub format doesn’t exist, but it’s the most common non-Kindle ebook format out there. I don’t expect them to add DRM support for ePubs, but why can’t Kindles support DRM-free ePubs like literally every other ebook reader on the market? Amazon won’t even convert ePubs to Kindle format like they will with a number of other formats; you have to rely on Calibre instead. But you can trick Amazon into converting an ePub to Kindle format simply by changing the file extension to .png. That just goes to show they could easily support ePubs if they really wanted to, but they’d simply rather not.
4. Advertisements – I absolutely hate the advertisements, which Amazon calls Special Offers, on the Kindle’s homescreen and lockscreen. I don’t know how anybody can stand having to look at an ad every time they turn on their Kindle. At least they give you the option to remove them but you have to pay Amazon an extra $20 to get rid of the ads, and I think that’s just ridiculous. Amazon is the only company that does this.
So what about you? What do you hate most about Kindles?
Clifford V Fogle says
No Cover Image when sleeping…even if you bought out of Special Offers.
Just leave Amazon…
Epub is THE standard ebook file. There is no other one.
Amazon is just a big bad predator. There are so many other and better reading solutions than Kindles that you should just leave them.
Daphne Rojas says
Yeah, My glorious Nook Simple Touch is getting old. Search function is completely gone and now no new books appear on the menu after I load them. Time to get another one! I went to a store and saw the Kindle Paperwhite. Then I did some research about it: no epubs allowed! And I have a huge epub library. That would mean I would have to convert all of them via caliber. Boring! Guess I’ll go with a Pocketbook. Would like a Kobo but no one sells them near me.
k.s. nikula says
5. Wide margins.
Steve H. says
Agree, K.S. Nikula
Barry Marks says
I don’t think lack of innovation is a problem with devices that do what they’re supposed to do so very well. And that isn’t just Kindles; it’s also true of Nooks and Kobos. I own all 3 and it’s been a while since I’ve seen any need for improvement in any of them.
If anything they ought to leave them alone more. Fix the bugs, sure. Add new features when they feel the need. But we get used to the interface and where the controls are and what they do and how they work and they ought to just leave those be instead of changing them around all the time. I do agree that Kindle’s do more of this with firmware upgrades than the rest and I wish they wouldn’t.
The Kindle DX was the first larger ereader and, as I understand it, it was a marketing failure. So I’m not surprised Amazon is reluctant to do that again.
I guess I’d like to see epub support but Calibre makes that so easy that it’s hard for me to care. I get most of my books from Amazon anyway, which is probably why Kindle’s don’t have epub support.
As for the “special offers’, most people don’t seem to mind them. I would and I’m always surprised that people don’t care. But that means that for most people they’re getting a few dollars off if they put up with ads. Personally I buy mine without ads so I’m paying regular price. I don’t feel like I”m paying extra. I’m getting a lot for my money when I buy a Kindle.
I guess I don’t hate anything about Kindles. I like them just fine. I prefer them to my Kobos and, with the exception of my Glowlight 3 (6”) I’ve always preferred them to my Nooks. The Glowlight 3 is ideal for side-loaded books. Not many features but it has the features I care about so that’s fine.
Kevin Francis Burke says
While there is not radical innovation in the eReader space anywhere I disagree and would say Kobo innovates more than the Amazon Kindle. Also, Kobo pushes out new firmware every 1 to 2 months consistently fixing bugs and adding new features but not the Nook which is lucky to get a one year upgrade.
I think it’s not so much that the Kindle does what it is supposed to do very well, for the lack of innovation, as it is that American are anti-intellectual and don’t read books.
When the kindle first came out it was popular but that is only because it was a novel new thing. Now iPads etc.. are wildly more popular.
This is what Steve Jobs had to say about the Kindle :
Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader will fail, Steve Jobs said, because Americans simply don’t read. From The New York Times: “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read any more.”
So Amazon might even be subsidizing the kindle at this point and not making any money at all off it or not a significant amount.
Meanwhile Kobo’s main market is not anti-intellectual America so they sell to Europe and Canada etc… where people still read books and so they innovate because there is motivation to do so.
Anyway, the thing I hate the most about the Amazon Kindle is that it spies on everything you do. I hacked my Kobo not to spy on me at all which was relatively easy to do since the Kobo is a more open device than the Kindle.
I don’t care about innovation; Kindle’s _execution_ of these features tends to be better than everybody else’s when they do get around to it. My Oasis (2019) is fantastic and a pleasure to use; my Forma, its primary competitor, has the same features on the tin but falls down on a lot of it. Weird dark stripe on one side of the screen, mushy buttons, etc.
If I had to pick just one e-reader to keep forever, it would be a Kindle. The epub thing is annoying, but Calibre makes converting to .mobi trivial for me so I don’t really care about that.
I would like a new DX, for sure. Agree with you there.
I don’t like the touchscreen I really want a return to page turn buttons as I find it easier to hold 8f I xan use either hand which the touchscreen doesn’t allow for.
We loved our Kindle DX. My son wanted a replacement over any of the new models and so I bought a used one on eBay this past Christmas. He is 6’7” and holding and using puny 7” is not a great option.
I have a Kindle Voyage yet I find myself using my larger iPad with the Kindle app. I just said today to my son I like reading on my Kindle but again, I too prefer a larger screen with less page flipping.
And as an artist, give me color ink any day. At least give us a choice for color-ink so I might actually be able to see art photography in color!
Two reasons that match your‘s!
The innovation (or lack thereof) doesn’t really bother me. While I use my Kindle Paperwhite, my preferred ereader is still my Kindle Keyboard. It’s just feels better in my hand and I prefer the keyboard method of highlighting and note-taking (I invariably highlight the wrong things on my Paperwhite … are my fingers too fat? Am I too uncoordinated?).
I don’t mind the lack of conversion to epub. Calibre does it smoothly enough.
But I DO find it frustrating to not have a good conversation for PDF. Even Calibre doesn’t convert PDF to mobi very well.
If I want to read a book that’s in pdf format, I put it on one of my Sony ereaders, which has NO PROBLEM displaying the book for me, so that it’s readable. Kindle’s put the whole page on the screen, which usually makes the fonts too small to read.
Sportbike Mike says
Use the send to Kindle desktop app and make sure that concert PDF to Kindle format is selected in settings. This is how i handle most of my school reading.
I hate the limited ebook licensing that Amazon does. I own many different Kindle eReaders, also Nooks and tablets. I like to use different devices just for fun and for a change of pace regularly. Most of the time, Amazon will only let you download a particular ebook to only one or two devices at a time. They make you purchase another “copy” of the ebook, or deregister one or more of your devices if you want to have the ebook on more than one or two devices simultaneously. This is infuriating. I feel that if I have purchased an ebook, I should have the ability to download it to as many devices as I wish without having to purchase another “copy” or being forced to “deactivatie” a device from my Kindle account. In my experience Barnes and Noble never does this. I recently decided that I will not purchase new ebooks from Amazon anymore. I will give B&N all of my ebook business from now on.
I have started seeing in the book description at the end of the listing they are saying unlimited devices now. I haven’t seen any restrictions and I have two Kindles and two Fire tablets. My unread library is downloaded to them all. Might be worth you checking the full description when considering which seller to purchase from xx
Ok. Interesting. But I have over 15 devices. 3 Kindle e-readers, 5 Kindle tablets, 3 Android
Tablets, 2 Nook Colors, 1 Nook hd+ 7.9″ version., 1 2nd gen Nook ereader, 3 iPads, 3 windows 10 tablet, 3 smart phones (maybe even more. sometimes I forget about a device) So anyway, I want to be able to pick up any device at any given time and continue breading the same book without having to jump through hoops. I don’t think I will purchase from Amazon again athough that unlimited devices thing that you mentioned sounds interesting. I never noticed that. I will check it out.
The licensing limits are set by publishers, not Amazon.
Well. I guess the same publishers have different rules for Amazon vs B&N. I have tested the practices on the same exact books Amazon version against B&N version. B&N it seems , doesn’t accept the limitations or either publishers don’t set the same limited licensing restrictions that they do with Amazon. Anyway ,I have so many devices that I use and it is a annoyance operating under Amazon’s limitations. The Amazon devices themselves are great from a hardware and pure reading experience overall. I have no real complaints there. The EReders and reader tablets work great and last a very long time. I still have two Nook Color 7 inch ereader tablets that work perfectly after 12 years. Their build is excellent and they look as good as the day they were taken out of the box. To be fair, my Kindle DX is older than that and works great too. I normally just pay the 20 dollars to remove the special offers at the time of purchase. Actually, twice I was able to get the special offers removed for free by calling Amazon directly. It’s this licensing thing that bothers me. I have thousands of Kindle eBooks and around 300 B&N eBooks. I am switching over to B&N exclusively; Unless there is an eBbok that B&N doesn’t have. One thing that I have noticed recently about the Kindle tablets and e-readers is that the e-book synching doesn’t work much of the time now. If I go back to the same book on a different device, I have to find my latest reading spot manually. It’s not my wifi. Nook books are still synching just fine. This is a fairly recent issue- perhaps over that past two or three months.
B&N does do things a bit differently so who knows. With Adobe DRM ebooks I think the limit is usually 6.
Nathan. Everything is negotiable. If they wanted to, Amazon could make different licensing agreements with publishers. Amazon has the power to do that given their presence in the market space. I mean, would the publisher want to sell a handful of any given ebook or would they want to sell thousands or millions? Amazon could negotiate better licensing agreements with their customers in mind, if they so desired. As the seller of the ebook Amazon is under no obligation to sell an e- book just because it has been written or published in another format a priori. They have the power not to accept the publisher-imposed licensing terms. They could change their ebook puplishing practices and standards to offer more customer-friendly book licensing if they wanted to do so. Just because the publisher limits the licensing Amazon does not have to accept the terms. Amazon could say “well we want an increased number of copy licensing or even an unlimited number of device downloads after customer-purchase – licensing or we can’t sell your book.” Amazon could do that. If B&N can, then why can’t Amazon? They CAN negotiate different licensing terms if they wanted. Amazon is just greedy.
I think you give publishers too much credit to see things reasonably, especially when it comes to dealings with Amazon. 😀
Hey Nathan. Maybe your’re right! 👍🏾😀
But getting back to Amazom’s devices.I have no problem with them. Yes the innovation is slow but the devices all work well. I never had problems with front light shadowing or anything. The devices last a long time and are generally well-made. I love my Kindle Voyage, my Kindle Oasis 2 and my old Kindle DX is kicking. I only had to buy a new battery after a while. It wasn’t difficult to do after watching a how-to on You Tube. It’s working great. I have 5 of Amazon’s tablets. 3 of the 2017 versions and 2 of the 2019/2018 HD tablets in 8″ and 10″. I had the Kindle HDX 8..9 Inch but it died after a year. That’s the only Amazon reading or tablet device that let me down. That HDX screen was incredible. I couldn’t find a replacement , so I bought the 7″ HDX as a,replacement. It works great, and it has the same screen as the Kiindle HDX 8.9 only smaller. So in closing : I find the ereaders great from a hardware and reading experience perspective. It’s just some of Amazon’s business practices that bother me.
I use send to Kindle on my laptop. The programme lists all my devices. A tick box allows the user to tell send the output to multiple devices.
Shweta Karwa says
I don’t link the Micro USB charger. All my devices have moved to USB-C, kindle is the only device for which I need to keep track of my micro USB chargers.
Kobo Libra H20 still uses micro-USB too. It’s annoying, as it’s the only thing I have that still requires it
check amazon for usb c to micro usb adapter. they are small dongles and a 4 pack is $7.
Everything in the article, plus: my Sony PRS-750 allowed you to bookmark, of course, but the bookmarks (and notes) are, sorry, were available for a home screen drop down menu. If you get out of a book, download new ones, etc., you look at the menu, click on the bookmark or annotation, and you’re back in your last read book.
You don’t have to look through your 5,000 book library to find the last book you were reading. Drives me crazy. I found a work around, but I shouldn’t have to.
Sportbike Mike says
Why not sort by recent? Then the last thing you read is right at the top.
I personally like advertising on Kindle, so far the ads brought my attention to several books that I really enjoyed reading.
I don’t mind them either and like you, its thanks to those ads that I have discovered some really enjoyable books. The ads are just on the home page, its not like they are appearing in the middle of the book, that would be annoying.
Steve H. says
The lack of a large format reader pushed me to buy a Kobo Forma…a huge difference an inch makes. I have taken the time to email Jeff Bezos and Kindle Feedback several times to request a larger option than the Oasis (well made, just a little small for my taste).
The ads are just ridiculous. At one point Jeff Bezos claimed that most of the money was made on content. No way that is true now; there is enough margin to allow for substantial sales on the basic, Paperwhite AND Oasis. It is just a way to push content…I remove ads at once…no extra swipes.
Also wish content displayed generated page numbers and pages left in chapter like Kobo.
I do really like their indexing of content, allowing for easy whole device searching. Also like using alternate dictionaries(Webster’s Third New International is phenomenal…so much better than the standard Kindle and Kobo dictionaries). Additionally I actually like the bold control on sideloaded fonts.
1. The high price compared to other brands. It is the Apple tax applied to ereaders.
2. Making basic features premium features at a premium price. Do you want page turn buttons? That will cost you $250. Do you want an autolight sensor that the $50 Fire tablet has? Again that will cost you five times as much. Would you like to adjust the warmth of the light like the $100-130 Clara HD or the Nook Glowlight 3 has. Again that is a premium feature!
3. Applying DRM even to books the publishers didn’t want with DRM.
4. Locking in some font customization options to the kfx format with the publisher having to enable it when on any other brand ereader you can fully control font options on ANY ebook.
5. Having to wait anywhere from minutes to hours to days just for the book covers and page numbers to load on an ebook. Why!?!
6. Pushing their KU titles and indies on the store front over what I actually read.
7. Battery killing indexing that doesn’t appear on any other ereader. This is the OS equivalent of MS’s registry.
8. Can’t delete old newspapers.
9. Newspaper design is terrible and no attempt has been made to update it ever.
10. Feature creep: more and more features have been added causing the UI to become bloated. It might seem like nothing if you’ve been using Kindle continuously over several years but newbies find it highly non-intuitive and struggle even doing basic things like finding their bookmarks which was not difficult on older Kindles.
11. No control over wallpapers. The generic wallpapers are boring. Let me set the wallpaper to what I want on my device. At least make it book covers. I miss the old wallpapers which were way better.
12. Home screen is mostly dedicated to selling you junk.
13. It feels too much like a device meant to sell you more books than to be a reader.
14. Not enough progress on the basic line: yes Carta screen with a frontlight but at least match Kobo and up the resolution to 212 ppi and don’t have such hideous flashlighting on the frontlight.
15. Strange updates that add features that nobody asked for. Why do I need or even want to immediately start reading before a download that only takes a few seconds to finish?
16. Syncing to current page doesn’t consistently work unlike Kobo.
17. Super nitpick: I miss the progress bar and wish there was also a mode that shows percentage only.
18. They haven’t embraced Eink mobius, and they’ve put no pressure on Eink to improve in native contrast.
19. They killed Liquivista.
20. They don’t support older models nearly as well as Kobo does.
21. General sluggishness. By now even with low power cpus, these ereaders should be able to respond with a snap that older models could not… but nah.
22. Moving to a tablet like aesthetic. I don’t want my ereader to be cold metal, sharp angles and razor thin with hardly any bezel to grasp. This is more of a problem on premium Kindles.
This all boils down to one simple thing: stagnation. What always happens with a monopoly. There are outstanding issues that have never been fixed. And there is very little attempt to make the user experience better. And when it is done it is in an odd unsatisfying way or to add features that nobody asked for.
Steve H. says
I wonder if you missed anything..LOL.
Totally agree with your number 11. In an effort to push advertisements they block the implementation of displaying current book covers(although some readers may want to conceal what they are reading), this is so basic.
Also liked the progress bar.
The Old Kindle Keyboard had basic page turn button that were ok. No way a Paperwhite couldn’t have page buttons….even if it was a slightly more expensive variant.
rui no onna says
> 13. It feels too much like a device meant to sell you more books than to be a reader.
I expect this is exactly the Kindle’s raison d’être.
To sell Kindle ebooks and $9.99/mo ($120/yr) Kindle Unlimited subscriptions.
Todd Upchurch says
@tired…You took all the words right out of my mouth. If the Oasis is $249 but without ads it is $279 then tell me what does that $30 pay for. Pure profit. No effort or product is given or exerted. Just profit. Oh and did we go over what a horrible mess it is it organizing your books? Collections? Give me a break. And IF we have to get another program like Calibre (fine program) just to organize your books then something is wrong with the infrastructure of the system. The quality of the product is fine but I haven’t drank enough Kool-Aid to cloud my vision of the suckers Amazon thinks we are.
Agree about 1. Lack of Innovation and 2. No Large Screen Kindle but would add Software Re-design Needed.
While I like e-readers I tend to read on my iPad Mini using the Kindle app because the Mini is “just the right size” (although I would prefer page turn buttons like my old Kindle 3). Plus the Kindle app is just better on the iPad.
Friends and I are increasingly frustrated with the Kindle software, especially Collections. When you have a medium or large Kindle library the organization options are insufficient to say the least.
Without a doubt what frustrates me is their lack of font sizes, margins, and line spacing options. This makes for a limited reading experience.
Rick N says
I’ll admin, I fought it a long time. I bought the Nook Glowlight when it first came out, and felt smug in the having a backlight when the Kindles still had expensive cases with pop-out arms with lights on them (like a streetlight). Then, I replaced my Nook with a Kobo – beautiful screen and Pocket integration. Around that time, I discovered the terrors of getting books from the library with Adobe Digital Editions, which might as well be ransomware. I sort of figured out the pattern – the first book I put on my Kobo with the cable worked fine, but if I put another book on it, both would break.
Kobo decided to pull the same kind of fast one Amazon does, and they added library support to the $200+ One (I forget the exact model name) only, but left the older models stuck with ADE.
So, I got a Kindle Paperwhite 3 – it didn’t feel as nice as my couple year old Kobo, but I could put library books on it in 30 seconds, with nothing but my phone and WiFi. I fired Pocket and got Instapaper, which has pretty good Kindle support, and actually performs better than the native Pocket support in the Kobo.
I’ve now upgraded to a Kindle Oasis, which does cost a premium for hardware features you can get for less elsewhere, but Amazon’s size forces Overdrive to support them better than they supported their own readers (where Rakuten owned both Overdrive and Kobo), and Instapaper makes it easy to read news articles with eInk.
It is a bummer, but I’ve realized that the ecosystem is actually a positive, not a negative. And I’m reading everything I want to. I’d love to see some of the other eReaders compete for my use cases, but so far, I’m not seeing it, unfortunately.
I agree. Nobody should have to use Adobe Digital Editions for anything in this day and age. Adobe shouldn’t even be involved in ebooks anymore. All it is is a money grab to them. Their DRM is useless and completely ineffective. Publishers are paying them for doing nothing but making reading ebooks more of a hassle than it should be.
Nathaniel Howse says
I hate the fact that the new Kindle Paperwhite does not support immersion reading. Therefore it is impossible to listen to an audible book and read the text at the same time even on the newest Kindle Paperwhite. Immersion reading is available on my smartphone. When I enjoy audible books at home I prefer to use my smartphone and simply attach the charger to save the battery. There is a place for a Kindle but I’m using it less and less.
Absence of the new Paperwhite model in white color. That is why you have no other option than buying a basic Kindle with lower resolution just because you prefer white bezels and using bare devices (no skins/cases).
Elaine Williams says
HATE! Hate using PaperWhite. Hate the ads that Amazon wants $20 to remove. I have been using a Kindle since they first appeared. I hate this new one. It was a gift but it’s going back – despicable.
Neil Bachers says
I absolutely despise the controls on my Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. It’s always taking me somewhere I don’t want to go, and there’s some contrived and complex series of maneuvers you have to go through just to get to the home page; I’m incapable of figuring out how to do it. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Then there are the times when I try to get to the last place I left off at, and it takes me to some page 100 pages short of that, and I have no choice but to flip each page after page ’till I figure out where the last page I read is.
Yes, their refusal to make something bigger than a 7 inch mini smacks of “Who cares what you want??”
And trying to get to the book I’m looking for with all sorts of ads for books I don’t want getting in the way makes it even more frustrating and atrocious.
I’m at the point where I pick it up to read something; have to plow through all sorts of frustrating obstacles; makes me say, “Geez, not this again,” every time I pick the damn thing up. I hate this crap.