I received the new Kindle Paperwhite update at some point yesterday. When I went to use it last night, there was an alert from Amazon—complete with explanatory e-guide—highlighting features of the new OS. Some of it didn’t interest me. We can’t use FreeTime in Canada. and the family sharing was a moot point since the Beloved does not have an Amazon account.
But I was interested to check out the ‘improved’ collection handling. The e-guide promised that, as people have often requested, Amazon has added some filters to make it easier to distinguish between Cloud and on-device content. Here was how this feature worked:
If you browse your collections in Cloud mode, you’ll be able to long-press on them to call up a context menu. One of the choices will be ‘add to device’ and if you opt to do this, the collection will get a star so you can see that it’s been added. Then, if you leave Cloud mode, and sort by collection on your device, you’ll see those collections listed.
It was a welcome change for me, but a somewhat flawed one. On the plus, the feature did ably distinguish between Cloud and Device content. I have a collection called ‘Unread Books’ for instance, for tagging all my unread Kindle purchases. But of course, I don’t have all those books loaded at once. I appreciated that I could switch to on-device mode, see the collection, and open it up to see only the installed books.
But it let me add several empty collections to the Kindle without warning me that I had not installed any of those books, and of course my numerous side-loaded books did not appear in the collections, so I kept having to switch back and forth between ‘all content’ and ‘collections’ modes to see everything. It didn’t work as smoothly as the pre-Cloud collections did for me, but of course, in those long-ago days, you could’t share collections across devices either, so I suppose this falls under the ‘win some, lose some’ category an comes out a wash.
I do think the new options will be especially useful for those who get most of their Kindle content via Amazon directly. But I think side-loaders like me are better served with the ‘all content’ mode which lets you see everything at once.