Kindle for iOS Updated with Collections (Sort Of)

I’ve been updating apps all day in preparation for an upgrade to iOS 7 (as soon as I can get onto the swamped server). I was delighted to read the changelog for the new Kindle for iOS app and see that we’re finally getting Collections.

I can’t think of another feature I see more on people’s wish list for the Kindle apps, and my first thought was “Hooray! Finally!”

Now I’ve updated the app and played around with them for a bit, and they aren’t quite what I was hoping for.

Yes, there are Collections. And yes, they do import Collections you’ve created on other devices (although give it some time–the screenshot below was taken right after update, and several more collections appeared a few minutes later).

Adding books to Collections is dead simple. Pull up the “Add to Collections” screen, and you can tap books to select them, as you can see below.

Observant readers may already have spotted the problem. Collections are global, meaning that when you view them, you are viewing books both on the device and in the cloud. The switch from Cloud to Device button is greyed out in the Collections screen. So it’s great if you’re one of those people who keeps everything on your device and less good for those of us who don’t.

When you look at books in the other views, like “Books,” you can select Cloud or Device, but not in Collections view. This makes the feature much less useful, in my opinion. Others may disagree.

As for other updates, they’ve adopted the flatter look of iOS 7, and it looks crisp and good. I do like the new look. I hope their next addition will be the “Time Until End of Chapter” like in the Android app.

So not everything I’d hoped for in Collections, but still, a worthwhile update.

4 Comments on Kindle for iOS Updated with Collections (Sort Of)

  1. Collections may be flawed, but Kindle 4.0 for iOS handles pictures much, much better. For weeks I’ve been complaining about how bad my latest, picture-rich book looks in the Kindle app compared to iBooks. Well, no more. The pictures look every bit is a good as that in iBooks and the text handling seems more attractive too.

    Three cheers for Amazon’s Kindle team!

    Now give us ePub 3 popup notes like iBooks.

    –Michael W. Perry, My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer

  2. This implementation of Collections is different than we’ve seen on KIndle. For the most part I think the implementation is superior.

    I think it is better that you can add anything to the Collection, even if it is not on the device. And in the same way it is better that you can see a list of all the items in the Collection, whether or not it is on the device. It is more logical. Please note that you’ll see a check mark icon on items which are on the device, so it is clear which are in Cloud and which aren’t. It is not ‘less useful’ it is more useful.

    I also like having the collections in their own view and not mixed into the other views as they are on Kindle. The clutter on the latter is one reason I don’t use Collections.

    Some people will appreciate the ability to manually order the items in the collection. However there’s no way to sort by title/author/recent.

    The main problem I see is that there is only a thumbnail cover image displayed. No list view showing Title/Author. And unlike Kindle where you can long tap to bring up a dialog showing Title/Author and (for ‘Books’) a link to the Kindle Store description, here you might have to download and open the item to figure out what it is if you cannot glean this from the thumbnail.

    We all have different ideas of what is missing from the iOS app; for me it is the lack of an NCX navigator (‘Active Table of Contents’). All ePub reading apps have this feature.

  3. What I’m getting from this, is that ‘Collections’ is going to be cloud-housed/stored? Maybe? So we may eventually have the transparent ability to use them on the Fire HD & other devices in the Kindle Fire arena?

    I’ve not synced my Kindle Keyboard in awhile, and that’s really where my collections reside.

    If that’s *not* what’s happening, my money’s on a Fire OS update right quick. Within the month, if not within the week.

    Thoughts?

  4. @Thorn, I think Collections are already cloud-based, at least in part. Once you set up a Collection on a device, it’s synced to other Kindles. I didn’t have to set up Collections in the app. It just grabbed the collections I’d already set up on other devices.

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