Kindle for the iPad - something's been bugging me for years...
March 30, 2013 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Why hasn't Amazon implemented "collections" or "folders" in the kindle for the ipad application?

Let's assume that it isn't a matter of "just haven't gotten around to it" -- there is a ton of evidence (which I won't go into) that this is not the case -- it seems to be a choice on Amazon's part.

I assume it must have something to do with how they compete with Apple but for the life of me I can't figure out what would motivate this decision. Does anyone have any insight?

(Oh, unless you can really prove that this is the answer, let's assume that it has nothing to do with a technical barrier. )
posted by mscottveach to Technology (14 answers total)
If collections/folders are a feature on their own Kindle hardware, my cynical assumption would be that they're hoping you'll get fed up enough to buy a Kindle.
posted by usonian at 5:30 PM on March 30, 2013

Might be a legal issue - if there's something similar in Apple's own apps (iBooks or Newsstand), Apple could pull the ol' "Denied because it duplicates existing functionality" (or similar) card.

But yeah, what usonian said.
posted by slater at 5:32 PM on March 30, 2013

To attribute less ill-will, it's likely that the iPad Kindle app is a sort of "add on," that Amazon feels required to make available to capture that part of the market, but, since it's not their core market, and never will be, they don't see much point in converting every feature. I recently had a situation where a graphic novel series (Planetary from DC) had volumes 2 and 3 available for the IPad Kindle, but not volumes 1 and 4. I called customer service, and they were pretty bewildered by it, claiming that the publisher hadn't authorized it. While I suppose DC might have wanted the first and last volumes unavailable for some arcane reason, I figure it just slipped through the cracks, and Amazon had little reason to sort out the problem.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:52 PM on March 30, 2013

There is no such thing in the Kindle itself. Why would they put a feature in the iPad reader which isn't supported in Amazon's own product?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:16 PM on March 30, 2013

Chocolate Pickle, the Kindle does support collections. See this info at Amazon.

FWIW, the Kindle for Mac app does allow collections. In fact, there's an option to import/sync collections from your Kindle. So does Kindle for PC, so I don't think it's a decision from Amazon to boost Kindle sales. (I don't know about Kindle for Android.)

The Kindle iOS app is a weird exception. I sometimes upload PDFs to Evernote on my iPhone, then from Evernote send them to the Kindle app. These PDFs only ever reside in the Kindle app. They never sync to my Kindle or Kindle for Mac.
posted by Boxenmacher at 6:40 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

usonian: "If collections/folders are a feature on their own Kindle hardware, my cynical assumption would be that they're hoping you'll get fed up enough to buy a Kindle."

I have the same theory for why the iOS app doesn't let you easily make purchases within the app, which drives me nuts. The concern about competition makes sense; I have a Kindle, I abandoned it in favor of the iPad because of ease of use issues.
The Kindle app for OSX is better, and does have collections/folders, but then again, Macs aren't a rival product to the Kindle.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:40 PM on March 30, 2013

The iOS Kindle app doesn't allow in app purchases because Apple won't let them do it unless they give Apple a 30% cut of all sales. They aren't even allowed to provide a link to their web store.
posted by markr at 6:49 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

not to derail, but the kindle app for iOS to does not have in app purchasing because apple requires 30% of all transactions.
posted by phil at 6:50 PM on March 30, 2013

Dr. Zira: "I have the same theory for why the iOS app doesn't let you easily make purchases within the app, which drives me nuts."

As I understand it, it's not motivated by "let's make things annoying for the users", it's motivated by "let's not give in to Apple's demand for a 30% cut of in-app purchases".

They do seem to have made the process as seamless as possible, for not being in-app: switch to Safari, find the book I want, click "buy and deliver to [cloud/device of choice]", then click the conveniently-provided "purchase made — switch to Kindle app?" link and find myself in the Kindle app ready to read.

(On preview, markr beat me to it.)
posted by Lexica at 6:50 PM on March 30, 2013

Awesome, thanks for the tip!
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:59 PM on March 30, 2013

My kindle Keyboard (1-3, RIP flimsy POS) and the Kindle Touch (no deaths yet) support folders. The Kindle Fire did not, at least not a Amazon one. There was a downloadable ap, apparently. ALSO a major reason why I returned the Fire.
posted by Jacen at 7:35 PM on March 30, 2013

@unsonian This is a decent theory but other readers allow for folders. Stanza and, uh, what's the other one called? Of course, maybe there are other reasons why those apps are allowed to and the kindle isn't, but my knee jerk is the fact that the functionality exists in other e-readers means that it's unlikely to be a restriction from Apple.

@drzire exactly. it's the inclusion of collections in both the OSX and PC version that contribute to the mystery; and obviously in and of itself it's not that big of a deal, but I am curious about what is underlying it;

@genjiandproust I think when it comes to graphic novels things can get arbitrarily complicated very quickly. Especially ones printed before digital was the standard. Sometimes the deals publishers made with contributors need to be revisited and every once in a while there's a grumpy hold out... this happens every once in a while with music too... an entity might own the publishing on one song off an album and won't make a deal which is why you'll sometimes find the albums on iTunes but with one song mysteriously unavailable.... I don't know if this is the story with Planetary (great book, btw) or not.. FWIW, I'm pretty sure I downloaded 1 and 4 from Comixology so they are available on some online servcies.
posted by mscottveach at 9:45 PM on March 30, 2013

Amazon has not implemented folders or collections in all their Kindles. They seem to be on the readers like Touch and Paperwhite, but are not on the Kindle Fire. I'd very much like to know why (as well as why they haven't fixed that awful process for managing Kindle purchases and loans on the desktop).
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 12:39 PM on March 31, 2013

@still_wears_a_hat: huh, so weird...why the hell would they not have it implemented on the fire? it's such a basic, trivial piece of functionality, there are third party apps that'll do it for you on the fire--

--i mean as far as mysteries go, i know this isn't a sexy one but still, it really makes no sense
to me...and i buy a ton of books in a ton of different genres for my collections are all but essential.
posted by mscottveach at 5:51 PM on March 31, 2013

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