Kindle Save for Later "feature"

tango-bookmark After using my Kindle for four days, one (admittedly small) thing is already bugging me. There is a feature of the Kindle store called “Save for Later”. As I’m browsing the store on my Kindle device and see something I might want to buy later, I can save it. Later, I can access my list of saved items and easily purchase any of them right from that list. Sounds generally useful, right?

The problem I have with this “feature” is that it doesn’t integrate in any way with Amazon’s already existing Wishlist feature. Items I add to my Save for Later list do not appear on my Amazon Wishlist and vice versa. Consequently, there’s no way to access or add items to my Amazon Wishlist from my Kindle, and no way to access or add items to my Save for Later list from Amazon’s website on my computer. This is frustrating for a number of obvious reasons, and I can’t help but feel that Amazon has made a major marketing blunder here. By not allowing me to see my own Wishlist on my Kindle or my Save for Later list on my computer, they’re actually decreasing my access to the things I’ve already decided I eventually want to buy from them. It’s as if the grocery store were to search my pockets at the door and steal any grocery lists they find. That’s an extreme analogy, to be fair, but not entirely far from the reality here.

Now, to cut Amazon some slack, a Kindle book is different from a physical book, and physical books and other items that exist on my Amazon Wishlist would not be very useful to me if I attempted to download them to my Kindle device, so I can see some rationale behind keeping the regular Amazon store and the Kindle store separate from one another. However, since I can browse the Kindle store on my computer and even purchase items and send samples to my Kindle device from my computer, is it really too much to ask for me to be able to add items to my Save for Later list and view that list on my computer? End mark

Update: In December 2009 Amazon enabled support for adding books to an Amazon Wishlist from the Kindle device, effectively merging the “Save for Later” feature with the true Wishlist feature on I still cannot view non-Kindle items on my Kindle, but I can now view my Kindle book wishlist either on my Kindle or on my Macbook and add/remove items from either place. This is of course much better than before, though I still question the marketing wisdom of not allowing a user to purchase physical items for shipping right from their Kindle. My credit card is on file, Amazon. Why not let me shop your entire catalog from wherever I am using a device I purchased from you?

Amazon Kindle unboxing experience

Amazon Kindle 2

My lovely wife, with help from my parents, her parents, and her Granny, bought me an Amazon Kindle 2 for my birthday. This is the best gift I’ve received in a long time (which is what Janene was going for, since, after all, this was a milestone birthday). Thanks, everybody!

One aspect of the unboxing experience impressed me. You know how most electronic devices come with a thin clear plastic film over the screen to protect it in transit? And you know how sometimes the manufacturer prints something on that film that approximates what the display might look like when turned on, or includes instructions for using the device the first time? Well, keep that in mind and check out this picture of a Kindle 2 fresh in the box (this is not my photo, just a random one I found so I could show you what I’m talking about).

Well, I started peeling the film off and noticed right away these helpful directions weren’t printed on that film! This gave me pause for a moment, wondering if there was a second film I needed to remove, or if Amazon had done something really stupid and printed permanent ink on my device before applying the film, but then I remembered an interesting aspect of e-ink displays: they don’t have to be continuously powered to keep something visible on the screen. Power is only needed to place the ink; whether the device is powered or not, the ink will remain until you replace it or clear it away. As a subtle but impressive touch, Amazon had placed these getting started instructions on the display before it was powered down in the factory. Brilliant! End mark