I’m switching back to the Kindle iPad app

So yesterday Amazon brought the Kindle Cloud Reader online for the first time, and everyone loved it. It's the sign of things to come; it's Amazon thumbing their noses at Apple; and it's the future of the web.

If that last one  is true then the future is bright for native apps. To put it simply, the native Kindle app on the iPad is simply better than the Kindle Cloud Reader.

It wasn't until I had a slow news day today that I really got a chance to try the Cloud Reader. So it wasn't until this morning that I noticed it's missing a basic ability I expect in apps. Never mind the limited annotation or missing audio/video support (I bet they're coming); I just want some basic things like the app running in the background.

I cannot queue up my ebooks to be downloaded, and that's a problem. I have hundreds of Kindle ebooks and I don't want to have to download them 1 at a time. That's a waste of my time. Right now I'm bypassing the problem by sending the ebooks to the cloud app from the Amazon website, and this does work. But if I'm going to be stuck with leaving the KCR to manage my library then why not just go back to the native app? It shares the same inconvenience but it has all those extra features that the KCR lacks.

The app is also noticeably slower than the native Kindle app. It takes longer to load as well as longer to open a book. And it also takes longer to open the Kindle store than if I visit it natively in the browser.

Web content was never designed to be natively installed on your local device and the Cloud Reader is proof of that. If you're going to make a faux app based in HTML5, it needs to act like an app. If you can't accomplish that then don't make it with faux app.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

5 Comments

  1. Ken Nickerson11 August, 2011

    Apple demanded this response. Content providers, (starting with book sellers) have no choice given the 30% “vig”. HTML5 is an open, bottom up phenomena that will mature to equal the App experience. app.ft.com (Financial Times) app on iPhone and iPad is the current leader with this execution.

    Reply
  2. Terje Hillesund12 August, 2011

    I guess HTML5 readers will improve, but being a heavy reader I always choose the Kindle reader over iPad. What I am waiting for is improved e-paper readers.

    Reply
  3. Anon12 August, 2011

    To your point:
    ” I just want some basic things like the app running in the background.”
    That’s an iPad limitation. No web app can currently run in the background.

    “I cannot queue up my ebooks to be downloaded, and that’s a problem.”
    Again this is an iPad limitation. On iPad, web app can only run one thread at a time (in other words more simply do one thing a time). Until iPad Safari implements Web Worker, the user experience would’ve been horrible.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder12 August, 2011

      True, but my complaint is still valid. The native Kindle app is better.

      Reply
  4. […] haven’t used the app since it launched, so I fired it up again to see if there were any improvements. Unfortunately, the […]

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