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February 14th 2014 8:48 am

How would you change Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite (2012)?

Gone are the days when, if you wanted to read a book in bed, you’d need to take a torch with you. Nowadays, as long as you’ve got a Kindle Paperwhite, the books will happily illuminate themselves. The device’s even front-lighting and engineering outshone the rival Nook, even if it had a slender 2GB of on-board storage and wasn’t as comfortable in the hand. But if you’ve been toting one of these around for the last year, why not tell your friends and colleagues what it’s been like?

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40 replies

We have 4 kindles in our house, my wife has the original 3g keyboard version to hit the uk, the kids have 2 different editions of the cut down non touch non keyboard version, and I have the 2012 paperwhite. All are increidbly good devices that non of us regret getting...

As the most recent, I can see how the device has changed and interface improved as time has gone on, with better software features and better hardware - my paperwhite is significantly faster at doing everything, from page turns, to searching, to experimental browsing... And after nearly 14 months has been charged 5 times, compared to my daughters (next most recent), which ends up being charged every fortnight.

As for what i'd change?

1) Bring back buttons. As much as I like the all touch stuff, I'd love page turn buttons on the side, a direction/select pad, and a home and menu button on the bottom

2) Audio. My wifes keyboard version can play audiobooks, mp3, and has the text to voice stuff that she uses a lot when studying.

3) Multi-select. I categorize my books into different folders based on the genre or series. I also tend to get my books on mass around payday. As such it then becomes a drag having to select a book, go into its menu, select change collection, find the collection, confirm, back out, wait a moment, rinse and repeat... The ability to select multiple books to move at once would be great.

4) Age filters on the store. Less so for my kindle than my kids, but I've had to parental block the whole of their stores in order to stop them getting access to the amount of poor quality adult literature on Amazon.

5) Epub support. On the occasions when I've been unable to find a book on Amazon, I've inevitably found it in epub format, and then had to convert this with Calibre, occasionally losing formatting or the cover in the process. Just let us load epubs...

6) Random Issues. Stuff like covers occasionally going missing, or them only having time to complete book rather than time to complete chapter info.
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Wholeheartedly agree with the page turn buttons needing to come back. The touchscreen is great for surfing the store or getting to the menu but page turns need physical buttons off the screen. Having owned an older Keyboard Kindle (that I forgot on a plane and replaced with the Whitepaper), I really miss the physical page turns. I love everything else about the physical Whitepaper except that.

To me it's all about getting comfortable and not wanting to move much after that while I read. With the buttons you could just get into a reading position and lightly press with your thumb just sitting in the right position to turn pages without ever moving your hand off the unit to press the screen or disturbing your view of the page with a finger. Also less smudging on the screen. The interface just felt natural and unintrusive. I miss that.

On the software side - sure multiple formal support would be nice but obviously Amazon likes us to buy from them... Caliber is the stop gap there.

As for collections - that is the single worst part of the whole software interface - almost an afterthought - and that's across at least 3 generations of Kindle I have had my hands on. The handling to sort stuff is clunky and a pain in the rear. I read across multiple devices at times (phone, tablet, computer and kindle) and the fact collections do not transfer across devices is annoying. I would have forgone all advancements on the Kindle hardware just to have a proper sorting system in place that is efficient and easy to use. If they told me that I could get an older pre Whitepaper Kindle with better collection handling and page turn buttons that might be enough to push me over the edge and forego the Whitepaper screen.
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NO, Please don't add back the physical button !!! I was always pushing them per mistake as holding the kindle one handed.... it was really annoying !!! At lease we should be able to de-activate them if really... but I am quite sure I was not the only one having this issue.
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Higher DPI. I love the physical size of the device, and the 1024x768 (212 dpi) is already a huge improvement over the previous 800x600 screen (167 dpi), but after having seen the Kobo Aura HD's 265 dpi, I'm spoiled.

Bumping that up to the rumored 300 dpi screen (1440x1080?) would be awesome. Especially this would allow reading A4/letter pages downscaled (like PDFs), which at the current resolution is... meh... not so great.

Then of course epub support, but I know it's not going to happen. Color would be incredible, but technology is just not there yet. Maybe in a few more years. And if they would do full-fidelity color at 300 dpi, I'd buy a bunch of them and put them in picture frames.
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The cloud library management function are really a plain at the moment. Why can't I remove more than one item at a time? And why can I only do it from a browser session, and not from within the Kindle interface?
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BRING BACK THE AUDIO FEATURE! That would be my only request to Amazon. I really enjoy the audiobook option on my current Kindle, and will not upgrade until it breaks.
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I love my PW, and have advanced ordered every Kindle released for the past 3 years. But can we please have a configuration in settings to support LEFT HANDED readers?
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Being a user for the past 6 months, I would thing of 2 small changes:

1 - Being able to temporarily disable the touch screen, so we can handle it more easily and avoid acidental touch commands;
2 - Bring back the 2 buttons for next and previous pages. Seems silly but I find it hard to hold and touch the screen with the same hand.

Everything else would turn it into a tablet, and it's not the intention. I love the battery life once I travel a lot.
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  1. Add EPUB support.
  2. Add “new” .mobi support.
  3. Eliminate the need for “old” .mobi files to be converted in the cloud before being delivered to the device.
  4. Add 3rd party AZW3 support.
  5. Improve support for large PDF files. Currently they crash the Paperwhite.
  6. Add multitouch zoom support.
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I've had the last four Kindle editions, including both Paperwhites. I think the update put out a few months ago was great! What is needed now is processor speed. Yes. Processor.




Make the thing work fluidly. I think a faster, considerably faster, processor will do the trick.
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I wonder if this is more of a function of the e-ink display? If they can decrease the response time on that, it'd be A LOT better I think!
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It is the best reading experience i can imagine. It fits my hand, my coat pocket. The battery lasts forever. I'm not distracted by color, sound or animation, and lose myself in the book. The front-lighting removed the only complaint I had. My only wish: I would like to have the ability to prop the kindle up and use a remote control to change the page. If that never gets done, I'll still love my Kindle Paperwhite.
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It's not heavy exactly, but I wouldn't mind it being lighter. The battery life could always be extended. Improve the speed and ppi. Customization to the UI (without flashing ROMs).

Some of these have already been done with the Paperwhite 2 (2013).
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It's a really nice device. I never owned an e-book reader, and when I got mine for christmas I asked if I could change it for a tablet. I'm so glad I didn't, the light and the ability to increase and reduce it makes it wonderful to read in the dark. The ability to touch a link in the book and it automatically goes to the footer note and the integrated dictionary and translator are very good features as well. I would only change the main UI, the recommended books at the bottom are not very useful, I know what I want to read, I don't need a big banner on the bottom telling me about other books, this space could be better used. I absolutely recommend this for everybody that likes reading.
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Id love to be able to fault the paperwhite 2 but I cant. I have no problems with it. I bought mine with the cover from amazon and I love that there are no buttons to press to turn it on or off either. I love propping it on the bedside table and tapping the screen to move through the pages. Front lighting, no distractions, no colour, no sound. The only issue I have is that kindle books should be a lot cheaper. Then again I can get my ebooks elsewhere and convert them so it isnt too much of a hassle. I even love that you can just email your ebooks and pick them up on your device.
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The ability to invert the light/dark areas to enable reading at night without the wash of blue light would be great. In addition to the fact that blue LED lighting is attributed to sleep deprivation, the backlight tends to flicker.
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  1. Improve library management on both client & server side
  2. A4 format version for reading technical documentation
  3. Color
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This Paperwhite has been amazing - I don't miss physical buttons and I've read so much more often now I don't have to switch on a bright light to see the screen.
Only one complaint:
I don't like the way 'WiFi on/off' is called 'Airplane mode'.
I want a simple option in the first drop-down menu saying 'Turn on WiFi' (if it's off) or 'Turn off WiFi' (if it's on). I don't appreciate having to press the menu button, THEN press settings, THEN tap on 'Airplane mode' to toggle this.
Also, I'm English and it's spelt Aeroplane....
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You can pinch to zoom to change the text size, so it understands multi-touch gestures. I would like to see a 2 finger swipe up/down to adjust the brightness.
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All e-readers have their own benefits, So far the main focus in them has been reading and all the other aspects have been extra. As long as e-reader can't handle other aspects better than other devices at home the thing what matters most is how good it is for reading experience.

1. Focus: User-face, Finding the books and reading should be the main thing. Everything else extra. Less is here more.

2. Weight: Kindle is heavier than many other e-readers. Maybe keeping the control that if getting more powerful it stays light or get more lighter.

3. Backlight/Frontlight: If user manual says that you can turn back-light totally off make it possible as well. So far we can't without hacking the device. The back light will stay always on even if its on a minimum.

4. Ergonomics: Yes the design is nice, but so seen around. If imagine we are in the future and we are looking back to this day for sure the device is a bit old stylish. For sure there will be improvements made and change to make the design even better & easier for the user to use. With one hand or with 2 hands on the same time... it doesn't matter

5. Notes options, think out of the box: For sure with apps option Amazon could create more use for the e-reader. Who knows maybe even a own PDF -formation for e-readers via apps etc.

Its great device but for sure in 15 years we cant understand why it was made only like this. Please make the good even better.
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While I don't currently own the Paperwhite I borrowed a friends Next Gen for a lunch break and the one thing that would absolutely have to go is the light. I get migraines super easy and after reading for only 20 minutes with the light at its lowest setting I was starting to feel it. So for my own personal health I will not purchase a Paperwhite until they give us the option to Turn The Light Off.
I also agree with several others about the usefulness of page turn buttons and would like those put back on.
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I would bring page turn buttons, have an option to switch between buttons and touch screen and finally be able to turn the light completely off
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The one main thing I would like to see is a completely seamless front without a sunken bezel that collects dirt - Now that the screen is capactive touch and not IR, there is no reason to have a sunken bezel
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Bring back audio capability. I was surprised and annoyed that the current paperwhite doesn't have it. I have the paperwhite and the keyboard, but really like the paperwhite better (with exception of the missing TTS). To get the TTS now, I need to use my iPad (or iPhone) in voice accessibility mode (which does a very good job btw). I wish the TTS was built directly in the app version of Kindle (or even make this an in app purchase)

Also, if the TTS capability was brought back, I hope they could use a better TTS engine to make it sound more human like.

The only other thing that would be nice is to make the screen a bit larger-- maybe by one inch..
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First i'll say the paperwhite 2nd gen is a night and day improvement on the lighting from the 1st gen. works amazing in the pitch dark...But. Changes?... Find a better way to display the light so you can have it without that extra clear layer covering the screen. completely gets in the way of reading integrity. like reading a book with a layer of glass or plastic over it. takes away from the authentic reading experience imo. the reader is still too thick (the kindle 4 69.00 one really seemed to nail format size perfectly) not unlike the difference from ipad 2 to ipad 3 (they got it right now with the air). because of that added layer, dust comes on and it and unlike the previous models, you can't just wipe it off cause it turns a page and it looks intrusive because of that extra layer. still tired of rooting in order to get simple screensavers of my choosing. the one that that really bothers me. how about an app like calibre which handles our books native on our laptops or phones so we don't have to cloud through kindles clumsy system.
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You can't actually update your reading status on Goodreads from the Goodreads menu option. What the hell, Amazon?
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I just realized this post is for the older Paperwhite. But still, my point stands!
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Easy! Color 7.9 inches screen... :-)
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I love my Paperwhite and wouldn't change much. I don't miss the physical buttons at all and definitely would not add any. I would make it easier to adjust the brightness of the display. Someone suggested a two-finger swipe for that. I like that idea, but would prefer a dynamic brightness setting that would adjust itself based on the ambient light in the room. I also like the suggestion for a seamless bezel. Finally, I'd do whatever possible to reduce the weight of the device. It's already fairly light, but it can never be light enough, IMHO.
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Ditto on all the button suggestions. I'd really like to see buttons again. I find that reading Kindle in the dark and reading Kindle in the cold go hand in hand, and it would be great to not have to pull your hands out from under the covers to change pages.
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Better pdf support:
1. more zooming options
2. doing something with a bug, that gives no way to see pdf text highlighted on computer-pdf-editors. It is very important for academic reading - we can not see the most important (highlighted) pieces of papers.
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We have two in our household and I love it. I owned a Kindle Touch before, so I can compare these as well.

What I dislike:
- The front-light has a little bleeding at the bottom with some batches. Personally I don't mind as much, but my wife finds it very distracting.
- The screen surface is not very scratch resistant and scratches light up if they're in the wrong places, or cast shadows on the reading surface in bright sunlight.
- The power button extends from the bottom of the device and when holding the device with one hand, it sometimes turns off accidentally.
- no music, audible, text-to-speech support.
- the fact that firmware upgrades stopped so quickly after release
- Lack of an SDK for custom apps

What I like:
- the front-light system provides enough light to read at night and enough contrast in daylight. Love it.
- Much higher contrast compared to Kindle Touch
- The rubberized back has a better hold than the Touch
- The screen is far less in-set than the Touch
- Auto-on cover to turn on the device when you open the cover.

What I'd change:
- Fix the dislikes :). I care about Audible support, but that would require much more storage space and probably a smaller battery
- Move the powerbutton to the top of the device
- Keep adding features. Where's GoodReads support for the first generation Kindle Paperwhite
- In the software: support for series/reading order. One all books from a series are on the device it's hard to find the correct reading order.
- Slightly enlarged screen (7" with slimmer borders?) so that tech pdf books are readable, When reading pdf's allow me to crop odd and even pages once to remove margins, headers and page numbers
- Bluetooth headset support for audio books (I read my books from the car)
- I'd love a back/forward button integrated on the back of the device. When holding the device in one hand, you can't advance the device without using your other hand or your nose. A touch button or gesture would be even better.
- Create an SDK for custom apps. I'd love a world map or technical docs (Microsoft MSDN documentation), or Google Translate support for paragraphs...
- Add pop-up support to the .mobi/awz# format (to show tables, graphs, maps, images without having to jump back and forth between pages in the "appendix" section)

What I don't care about:

- epub support, I use Calibre to convert these anyway.
- remove the web browser (except for wifi auth)
- physical keyboard
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I've had my Paperwhite (2012) version since first day. Preordered it as soon as they announced it and since I've made the conversion to all digital books, I haven't looked back. But I still have some small issues with it I would change:
  • Make the light less blue - I know this has been changed a little on the newer edition, but I can't help but feel sometimes that blue tint to the light is keeping me from getting to sleep. I normally fall right asleep when reading, but sometimes the light doesn't help.
  • Be able to turn the light completely off - If you turn the light all the way "off" in the dark, you notice that the light isn't actually off. I would want to turn it completely off for reading during the day to save some extra battery.
  • More organizational options - There are folders, and criteria to order your books by, but I can't help but feel that my main page screen is still too messy. Also, I wish there could be more then 3 books on my main page in cover mode.
  • Lighter - I don't mean much, but I leave mine in the cover case, and it makes it a tiny bit too heavy for holding comfortably in bed. It's usually ok without the case, but that thing is so darn hard to remove.
What I wouldn't change:
  • Audio - Don't need it, don't use it. I used to have an Audible subscription, I have plenty of audiobooks to listen to on my phone. If it means the Kindle Paperwhite is cheaper without audio, I'd rather have that.
  • Buttons - I liked having buttons on my Kindle Keyboard, but I'd honestly rather have a bigger screen then buttons. Leaving off buttons means more space for the screen.
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I am a big proponent of open software eco-systems. Amazon forking Android & converting it into an Apple-like walled garden is a deal-breaker for me.
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You should probably google "kindle paperwhite".
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Not sure I understand the point. I don't like being stuck with older versions of the Android OS and the lack of support for an open format like e-pub.

Don't know if we can share links, if not google "Kindle format ebooks are a big lock-in factor for Amazon"
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"Amazon forking Android & converting it into an Apple-like walled garden is a deal-breaker for me."

The paperwhite doesn't run android.
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My mistake, I had assumed it uses Android, just discovered it uses a forked version of Linux instead. My original objection based on their closed ecosystem and use of a proprietary book format still remains valid.
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Not actually. They allow sideloading books, they even give you 5 gigs of cloud storage and sync those books across all your devices. With 5 gigs, you can archive literally thousands of books and pull them down whenever you want. And you can start reading on one device, and continue on another one.

They even have software you can download for you computer to push books to your kindle. Here is more info:


They natively handle a bunch of different formats. The only caveat is epub books. You have to convert them to mobi before sideloading them. Which is really easy to do and takes around 30 seconds. I recommend calibre for this as you can batch convert hundreds of books at a time, and the software is free.

It's in no way a closed ecosystem. They even go out of their way to make it easy to use books that weren't purchased on amazon.

In the future I recommend you ask questions instead of spouting assumptions as if they were fact.
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Ok let me begin and its real simple. Colour and audio. Ebook readers should have colour now in 2014 and audio too for audio books. Black and white is fine for most books but magazines and some books need colour. As a person who is interested in languages audio would be great for language learning books. I could use a Tablet for these functions but with the resultant eyestrain I would much rather read E-ink.
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