Feb 17, 2008

a quick note to the kindle team

Dear Kindle team,

I just finished a week of travel with a new Kindle, and I'm well into reading my third book on it. So far so good -- the screen is very readable, even for long stretches of time; I don't have a problem with the next page / prev page button placement; the little e-ink flash when you turn pages isn't that annoying; and the battery life is great.

The UI for finding and buying books is pretty good, and it will be interesting to watch how you use the limited screen real estate and UI controls as a merchandising advantage as more and more titles come online. I can't imagine using the device for browsing the web or reading email -- the screen refresh is fast enough for reading books, but not for skimming web content.  And while I wish the keyboard were virtual (I only use it when searching the store), I get why it's there and appreciate the tradeoff decision re. price & touchscreen.

A key feature of the device is a simple and elegant way to highlight and clip sections of text -- and once you get the hang of it you find yourself doing it all the time. When reading real books I'm always marking pages or making notes in the margin; the Kindle makes this a quick click and scroll action. But I was surprised to learn that these highlights stay on the device, and don't sync up to your Amazon account. (You can download them with the included USB cable, but who wants to do that?)

So here's the feature request that must be on your roadmap: send my clippings back up into the cloud, where I can copy and paste them for future use. Bonus points for giving me the opportunity to connect my Kindle account to my blog, and have the service automatically post new clips via Atom or MetaWeblog. Extra bonus points for illustrating those with a cover thumbnail, and embedding my Associates code in the URL back to the store.