Monday, May 25, 2009

Kindle File Manager is Awful

Amazon desperately needs to come out with a better Kindle file manager. Every time I use it I feel like I'm stepping back into the 1980's. I'd say it's got all the functionality of MS-DOS but that would be an insult to anyone associated with that fine (but very old) operating system.

Am I the only one who wonders why there's no GUI interface for the Kindle? Haven't we all been using GUI's for at least the past 15 years? Just because the display is one color doesn't mean the operating system interface has to feel so outdated.

OK, maybe a GUI is asking too much. How about simply letting me arrange my books and other documents in whatever order I prefer? Why can't I customize it so that my main page features the books, magazines and newspapers I want to read that day? Why do I have to go hunting through screen after screen of listings just to find that book I'd like to read today? I may not have read from it for a couple of weeks but I'd like to have it front and center every time I wake up my Kindle.

I typically have enough entries on my Kindle to fill up 8 or 9 pages of screen listings. Some of these are books. Others are magazines or newspapers. Some are just book samples. One of the major problems I'm finding with the current Kindle file manager is that I forget about certain books/magazines/etc. Out of sight, out of mind. I'd really like to move all the important stuff to the first page but there's no option for this.

C'mon Amazon, can you at least bring this UI into the 1990's and let me dock my important stuff on the first screen?


Yondalla said...

I'm silently protesting by moving things back and forth from the whispernet.

What if we all did? would it make enough of a blip that Amazon would give us folders on the Kindle?

Joe Wikert said...

I love your thinking on this but I'm not sure I have the patience to follow your lead. You're right though...if everyone were to overload the Whispernet system like this I've got to believe Amazon would be forced to take action.

Gib Wallis said...

Until we have a GUI, try what I'm doing: type the author name or book title from the Home screen and flick the 5-way controller to search my items.

It's also possible to put a special character for the author name or title but typing special characters isn't fun on the Kindle (and takes you further away from your goal of a GUI in practice).

Borgel said...

I agree. Its pretty foolish that there cant be some sort of way to keep things on the home screen. Or 'playlists' of some sort for content.

I also tend to loose things that I am reading because I pause for a few days and then they get shuffled back. More often though, I sample 4 or 5 books at once, and then only read one because the others are removed from my field of vision.

Andrys said...

I've posted a workaround for this that actually works quite well until such time as they ever provide some kind of folder or tagging arrangement or a combo of the two.

Otherwise, re seeing only subscriptions, I do use that existing feature to see what is still showing at the top, since they move those to a folder specifically for that -- "periodicals" -- but even then you have to make sure that if you want to "keep" the issue you need to 5-way to the right (in the home listing and an easy way to do it), or use the Menu, to 'keep' it... otherwise you get a warning icon when it's older that it'll be deleted in 2 days -- but since it is buried in your Periodicals folder when an older issue, you may not see it. I ID my New Yorker and my NY Sunday Times as "Keep" the minute I get them as a result.

- Andrys

Anonymous said...

Every time I show my Kindle to someone the question of how are the "books" arranged comes up. It is completely absurd that the material on a Kindle cannot be organized like a bookshelf in a library. I also think that a top page that enabled folders for subscriptions, documents, samples, etc. would be invaluable.
While Amazon touts the new Kindle as being able to hold 2600 books, who would every carry that much material around without even a basic file management scheme?
I believe this issue is suprressing Kindle sales among second tier adopters more frequently than any other single issue.

Anonymous said...

I just want a way to be able to stack them (as I might do with real world books on my bedside "to be read" pile). I read books in series often and keeping track of which is the next book in the series isn't all that easy!

Bart said...

This is probably my #1 annoyance with my kindle. I don't like how messy the home screen is. Folders or tags/labels would be nice. I think it would also make a difference if each item had an icon so I can at least scan down and quickly tell the difference between kindle books and newspaper/magazine subscriptions, and things that I email to myself.

Andrys said...

Bart, did you read my earlier note? I'm asking because you said tags would be nice.

Like you I don't want to see all that stuff at my root. But the tag workaround helps for looking for categories you're interested in making (as you would folders if you had them).

Have you already tried the cursor up to top to choose (to the left)
only personal docs, or only subscriptions, or only books?

That helps get rid of the clutter for a bit as you get used to what the names are.

It's not good enough but I did find that many on the Amazon forum didn't know the options were up there.

I do like to choose only personal docs sometimes and weed through them. Same with periodicals, where I get rid of 3/5ths of them but keep the rest for reference for searches.

Apologies if this is old news.

John Wilker said...

thumbs up!

The file manager is atrocious. Folders, tags, something. Anything!

Andrys Basten said...

John Wilker, in case you didn't read earlier comments, there -is- a tags workaround, at least. Many of us use it.

And the Kindle programmers didn't make clear that at the top of the Home screen, there are some basic display options (inadequate for what is needed but I found that many didn't know those were there).

- Andrys