I ve been a regular Kindle user for the last half year and have been depending on it to fulfil all of my literary cravings during my trips out of town. It is one of those devices that tends to polarize people – either they love it(usually in the case of bookworms) or hate it since it does little else. Recently, Amazon announced that their sales of Kindle books has overtaken sales of paper books. Personally, I like this, the convenience offered to any reader by a digital medium, like Kindle, far outweigh the nostalgia associated with paper books. However, as much as I love my Kindle, it has some shortcomings which I feel Amazon should address to make it truly ubiquitous.
First and foremost is getting updates for books you have already bought – yes, thats right, updates. I have a few books in my collection which have several typos and faulty typesettings. It would be great if there were some mechanism through which readers could point these out to Amazon to correct them. Amazon could, if required, pass on the typos to the publisher/author to verify before fixing them. This corrected book then serves as a new version which could then be silently passed on to those who already have it in their collection and also be made available to all new buyers in the Kindle Store.
There are complications abound, but surely Amazon could come out with a workable setup. There is nothing worse than plunking $15 on a book to simply find out that its not quite as good as the same book on paper. If ebooks are to truly replace paper books, the standards for proof-reading and typesetting must be just as high.
Another personal gripe of mine is that there are very few books of Indian authors available on the Kindle store. Earlier, Amazon used to offer a link for us to request for a Kindle version. Sadly this has gone now. It needs to come back.
Lastly, though not very high on my requirements list, Amazon needs to work out a way to loan bought books. I can do that with my paper books, why not let us do that with Kindle books? Sure, there will have to be restrictions like not being able to loan more than ‘x’ books at a time, not being able to loan a book for more than ‘x’ number of days or not being able to loan a book more than ‘x’ times etc. With all the DRM crap thats already built into Kindle books, this should be easy. Why not?