Paul McAleer

Kindle and I

Paul McAleer

One of the many free apps I downloaded for my iPad was Amazon’s Kindle app. Between Kindle, Instapaper and iBooks I felt I’d have the majority of my reading needs covered. The good news is that this has indeed been the case; the bad news is that Kindle initially left a bad taste in my mouth with a lousy first run experience.

I downloaded the app, installed it, and ran it. The splash screen was lovely and comforting. I was then presented with a list of available books, one of which was the Oxford English Dictionary. I hadn’t requested this book nor purchased it, so I attempted to stop the download. No dice. I quit the app and returned to it to find the dictionary downloading itself again. This was getting annoying. I couldn’t stop this download. I didn’t know why it was downloading. I didn’t want it. And the Kindle app gave me no indication as to what the hell it was doing.

I jogged over to Amazon’s website to review my Kindle purchases, even though there weren’t any yet, and sure enough the dictionary was there. I was able to successfully cancel the download there. Whew! Finally I could devote my precious bits to important books like Eat Pray Love.

I kid, but I really was glad. Then I was reading The Time Machine and came across a word I didn’t know. I touched the word to get its definition and was told that Kindle couldn’t define it without…ready?…The Oxford English Dictionary in my library. Doh!

I think I know the technical reasons behind this, but the way Kindle handled this was really subpar. Here’s how it should have gone down: when I first opened the app, Kindle should have asked me if I wanted to download the dictionary - and explain what would happen if I didn’t. Very easy.

Instead the Kindle app left me feeling out of control and helpless. What a terrible way to start a relationship!