I’m preparing a blog post with a list of the latest books I’ve read, and in the process, I’ve been reminded of the awful Amazon experience.
For starters, I’d like to have better integration between my Kindle, goodreads, calibre, and this blog, so that I can automate the generation of reading lists and manage all my books. Why doesn’t Amazon make this easier out of the box? It would surely drive ebook sales. Instead, Amazon seem to delight in making life harder.
For example: Amazon used to list Kindle orders separately, and if you look under your account, they still have a menu item for “View Kindle Orders & Charges”:
But when you follow the link, instead of a custom list of all your Kindle purchases, Amazon now throws Kindle orders into the list of all other orders, with a banner message at the top:
This means that you have to search through all your Amazon orders to find the books. Perhaps you can get a list of your books by searching for “Kindle”:
That doesn’t seem too bad at first glance, so why doesn’t Amazon change the “View Kindle Orders & Charges” link to https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/css/order-history/search=kindle? It would be a better user experience. Let me tell you why: not all books are tagged “kindle”, and so you can’t search for all your kindle book orders. This is so brain-dead stupid. The only way you can track all of your books is through the “Manage Your Kindle” link, which provides a horribly-limited view onto your library (limited to 15 items at a time, no view of the book covers, and only a few columns of information on each book).
It’s strange that Amazon boasts that even the most basic kindle holds “up to 1,400 books – take your library wherever you go” whilst at the same time making the library management experience so awful.
I’d like to see future Kindles automatically organise books by author. I’d like to see the Kindle website provide a better library browsing experience. And right from the library, I’d like to see where other books from the same author are available to buy. If Amazon improved the experience just a little, I’m sure book sales would jump significantly. I guess the problem is they are selling well already, and no-one else in the marketplace is really challenging them and giving them a reason to innovate.
Speaking of user experience – there are a number of sites popping up that help discoverability of books. They don’t have quite the same feel as browsing through the sci-fi section of the local library, breathing in that slightly musty book smell, feeling the crackle of the plastic book covers, picking up books with cool-looking cover art. But they do allow you to do things like browse books based on the award they won, or see books your like-minded friends are reading. Of particular interest:
- GoodReads – recently acquired by Amazon, which is great as the GoodReads integration with Kindle is now going to happen. I can only hope GoodReads will replace the awful Amazon book management experience.
- BestSFBooks – serving one genre well.
- The SF Gateway – same genre, aiming at the classics.
Are there any better ways to manage Kindle content? Are there any better sites for book discovery?