Restricted highlighting on the Amazon Kindle

2016-11-06 2 min read

    I love to read so it took me a surprisingly long time to get a Kindle. Before then I felt fine either just grabbing a physical book or using a tablet or a phone. LCD displays never bothered me so I figured I might as well get the responsiveness and additional functionality of a tablet rather than a single-use device. But earlier this year I spent some time using my wife’s Kindle and loved the form factor as well as the battery life. I also started to buy a lot more ebooks so finally took the plunge and got myself a Kindle.

    If you’re not an avid reader you can get away with a tablet or phone. But if you enjoy reading the Kindle is great and makes it easy to fall into a reading addiction. I’m a bit odd in that I will refuse to write in a book; I remember having a half dozen SAT practice books and rather than circling the choices I would do it in a separate notebook. I don’t know how this habit stemmed but I won’t do any mutilation of the book, including folding a corner to save a spot. I like to think I value the sanctity of a book but I’m sure it’s due to a habit I picked up as a kid.

    With a Kindle I don’t have this aversion and get a kick out of highlighting interesting passages or just words I don’t know. I’m also reviewing the draft of a friend’s book and this made it incredibly easy to take notes. Unfortunately, since the book was a draft and was not purchased through Amazon my highlights aren’t accessible through the website which makes it difficult to actually go through and flesh them out.

    This seems like an opportunity for Amazon to improve the experience. It may be an anti-piracy decision which offers an inferior experience to pirated books but this seems misguided and ruins the experience for the majority in order to penalize the minority. Amazon is dominant in ebooks and digital publishing and has already won the space; they should be doing everything they can to encourage authors to write and a big part of that is giving them an easy way to get feedback on their drafts.