Why I Really Don’t like Kindle

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I really don’t like Kindle. I have friends who think it’s great. One friend in particular was an early adopter and still buys most of her books for her Kindle tablet. But not me.

But Kindle is Fantastic!

It’s not that I refuse to try it or that I don’t see some of its advantages. At the last school I worked for, about seven years ago now, we were recommending reading texts for advanced English. We needed to pre-read a lot of books before making our recommendations. So we bought them on Kindle. It was cheaper. It was also possible to get hold of books that were less easy to come by in Sweden.

Fantastic! I didn’t have a Kindle tablet, but I downloaded the app to my Android telephone. And discovered how very convenient it was, riding in to work on public transport, to dip into a book on the way. Carry a couple of books, a dozen, a a hundred – it all weighs the same. In this way I discovered Thursday’s Child by Sonya Hartnett, a book I enjoyed and enthusiastically recommended to my colleagues. Being a few years old, and Australian, it was extraordinarily difficult to get copies of on paper. But on Kindle, no problem.

In the end I had a collection of about a dozen books on my app. Some were classics (Anne of Green Gables and Richmal Crompton’s William books come to mind). But most were fairly recent novels. And then the phone died on me.

I bought a new phone, I installed the app, but could I access my Kindle account? No, I could not. Possibly I didn’t put in a great deal of effort. I just accepted the disappointment. I wasn’t wedded to using Kindle after all.

On the road to Damascus?

Fast forward six years and I suddenly find that I want to use Kindle again. I haven’t had a Road to Damascus moment. It’s just that, over the last year, I’ve realised there are books and magazines published electronically that are not available on paper. Or not immediately available. And some of them are things I want to read.

I don’t commute any more, so I don’t need the Kindle app on my telephone, but I downloaded it to my regular Android tablet. It’ll be easier to read, I thought. Then I started to look for my original login details. The ones I’d mislaid when I bought my new phone all those years back. To my surprise, I found them. (Which is why I think I didn’t perhaps put in a great deal of effort to look for them when I needed them before.)

I used the details to open my Kindle account on my PC. That worked. And all those books that I thought I’d lost was still available. Thumbs up for Kindle! But could I open that account in my tablet? No, I couldn’t.

An excess of Amazons

After much time wasted and a late-night chat with someone on the Amazon website, I realised the following. The Kindle app on my tablet is associated with my Amazon.co.uk account. My old Kindle account is associated with an old account at Amazon.com. More than this, because I don’t live in the UK, I cannot buy Kindle books from Amazon in the UK. I have to buy from Amazon in the USA.

Just this last month, Amazon has started to promote itself with an Amazon.se Swedish website. But as far as I can see I still need to have an Amazon.com account to buy Kindle books. And the Amazon.com account has to have a different e-mail account and a different verification telephone number from the Amazon.co.uk account. (Using the same address or phone number invalidates the other account.)

Under normal circumstances I would be delighted to discover a way in which to break up the hold that Amazon – or any big electronic retailer/social network – has on the unity of my Internet footprint. I should be celebrating that I need two distinct Amazon accounts for two distinct Amazon services. I’m telling myself this in the hope I will convince myself. What actually happened was screaming frustration. Why could I not combine all my Amazon accounts under one password? Why do I have to get a new telephone number for two-step verification of my Amazon.com account?

I’ll get over it.

I think I may have to erase the app from my tablet and reinstall it before I can access my old account.

I wonder if it’ll work?

[NEWS FLASH: It works – and I didn’t need to erase the app, just change the registration. But talk about time, sweat and tears. Three bloody days!]
Me under the Kindle tree
Me under the Kindle tree

Far Flung coming in print

One reason for wanting to access Kindle recently was the publication on 31st October of the electronic version of the Writers Abroad anthology Far Flung. I mentioned this in a post a few weeks ago. Among the 40-odd short stories, flash fictions, memoirs and poems the anthology contains, there are three pieces of my own writing.

I haven’t read most of my fellow contributors’ efforts and I want to. To pick out a few particularly good examples to share in a blog post mid-November. That’s when the paper print version is being published. [Available now, here!]

Of course I plan to buy a copy for myself, and I’ll probably get a few more to give away as Christmas presents. Since this represents the largest number of pages I’ve written that are coming out in print, I want to encourage you, gentle reader, to buy a copy too!

I thought, having the electronic version on my tablet would give me a head start. I wouldn’t have to wait until I received a copy of the print version before reviewing and promoting it. The idea was good, the execution – so far – a bit mediocre. But I’m still in with a chance.

Read more …

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4 thoughts on “Why I Really Don’t like Kindle”

  1. Well, John as a contributor you have had access to a PDF version of Far Flung, so every opportunity to read it as well as access to all submissions. What a shame you haven’t read it…

  2. Scroll forward to Jan. 2022…I am reading this post, John, because it’s on your list of most-read posts. Sorry you had so many complications sorting out your amazon kindle accounts. But as someone who lives in Germany and is now a member of an English Book Club, I am reading more and more on Kindle. I have never had any prejudice against it. I do not have a fetish for the feel and smell of paper books as some of my adamantly anti-kindle friends do. As our bookshelves have increased in number and swollen with content, it seems a reasonable solution to access new lit without having to add a room onto the house. Especially since the book club leads me to read books that are beyond my usual scope, meaning I don’t need a hard copy for posterity.
    I love the fact that I can underline portions of a text or make notes and am actually able to relocate them if/when I want them. In Italian class, we are working on a book with tons of new vocab (well, new to this learner). By simply touching the word, I can get the definition to appear in English, thus making my reading of the story more coherent. IMHO it’s a genuine boon to language learners.

    • Debbie, I just re-read my post. My, I was so very frustrated when I wrote it! I can see many advantages with Kindle, especially when you are looking for references, bookmarks or word definitions, as you describe. But I still prefer to buy my books on paper. Yes, they fill the shelves, but then you can do what I did just recently and thin them out. Fill a carrier bag and pass them one to someone else. (In my case just now, my thirty-something English teacher neighbour.)


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