In the past at least, Paperwhite owners could install tweaks. But Amazon has thwarted them with evil upgrades, and that’s not the only hassle. Here’s a warning from dpbmobi, a MobileRead member who couldn’t use his PW 1 after the latest upgrade:
…Keep your Kindle setting to Airplane Mode ON – disable wireless.
Last night my Kindle Paperwhite 1 was connected to Wi-Fi and Amazon downloaded, without notification and without asking permission, an upgrade to Version 220.127.116.11. This version locks in bloatware and changes your reader settings. It also disables any jailbreaks or fixes you may have added on to your device. This upgrade cannot be reversed and cannot be circumvented as of this posting.
I am letting fellow members know what has happened because this upgrade has made it impossible for me to continue reading my legally purchased ePub books on Kindle using the software that the incredibly generous and inventive people on this site have developed. I want to prevent as many of you from making the same mistake I did.
I spent hours last night trying to fix this, more time today demanding that Amazon downgrade my version again, and filing a complain against their underhanded tactics, to no avail. My only hope is that some ingenious person out there will develop some sort of workaround.
The only hacks I used were to add extra fonts and have an ePub reader. Now I can’t even do those things. And I have all sorts of garbage loaded on my device. And some of my books have been deleted. I know there is software out there to prevent upgrades, so that might work for some of you. But it’s too late for me. I will probably have to try to sell my Kindle and buy a Kobo….
Imagine—first Amazon gives you a limited choice of fonts and restricts you to its proprietary formats. And then it punishes you if you try to fix these rather serious deficiencies.
Amazon’s controlling ways are one reason why I’m concerned about the company’s new dominance of the textbook scene in New York City schools. Think of students with learning disabilities and other special needs. I myself have begged, begged, and begged Amazon for the choice of all-bold text. Silence. I want text to speech in E Ink Kindles. Silence. We supposedly live in an era of expanded choices, thanks to the miracles of tech. But all too often, Amazon and its marketers seem to take us back to the old Henry Ford days of, "Any color as long as its black."
Look, I’m a huge fan of the Amazon’s e-reader hardware in other regards, and I’m a steady customer of Amazon Prime; I love Amazon’s positives. But if the company is as customer-centric as the press makes it out to be, then why can’t I have all-bold—not to mention ePub and other goodies that dpbmobi wanted? The e-reader market is big enough for Amazon to serve a number of niches. In fact, it would be bigger if Amazon did.
Detail: Dpbmobi may yet be able to rescue his PW. But his story should still serve as a warning.