kindle paperwhite updateI 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.

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"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. Amazon seems to be making Kindles more and more complicated. That’s one reason I remain happy with my Kindle 3. It does the job without a lot of bother.

    One tragedy of all this featuritis is that Kindles (and epaper readers from others) remain something that’s too fragile, too costly, and too complicated for those who need most to be exposed to reading—grade school kids.

    Kids need epaper readers designed just for them.

  2. Have you tried side-loading your books using the email functionality in Calibre that I mentioned (with the setting tweak so it doesn’t take forever to transmit something)? I’m just wondering if that makes things easier, as I haven’t received the update on my Kindle yet.

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