Friday, June 6, 2014

My Adventure with the Kindle Paperwhite Update

When Amazon came up with their new version of the Paperwhite, I was a little annoyed. Instead of doing what most companies do – provide an update for users to download – it made quite a bit of fun little things only available on that new Paperwhite, which made those of us with the "old" Paperwhite have only one option if we wanted the new stuff – buy a new one. The first thing I did was complain because there is nothing wrong with the one I have, so why should I be forced to buy another one? I assume that there were a lot more complaints besides just mine because Amazon made an update available for us as well.

To say I was excited when I found this out is an understatement (though I wish they would have emailed me about it – heck, they email me about everything else – or done some sort of promotion on it so that we all knew about it – it was not an easy thing to find; I actually found it by accident under their media section). I did a little research online, looked at what other people had to say about the update (which, sadly, wasn't much), and downloaded it.

They not only added things – Word building (when you look up a word in the dictionary, it saves all of those words in one place), Kindle free time (allows you to set reading times for kids, or even yourself, and when the time is up, it closes down), and Goodreads on Kindle – but they changed some of the things that were already on there – notes, bookmarks, dictionary & Wikipedia, the "sleep" button, and collections.

The collections part was a big deal to me. I had suggested time and time again to Amazon that they needed to find a way for us to organize our books on the Cloud. We had collections (folders) ON the Kindle, which allowed us to organize the books on there, but there is only so much room. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to people who only have a hundred or so books, but when you get up to a larger number, it makes things harder to find. (Plus, I'm super organized and if I am looking for a specific kind of book – i.e. mystery – I want to be able to easily find the mysteries I own.)
    NOW your collections are on both the Cloud and Kindle – and they hold items from both. So, let's say you have a collection for Sherlock Holmes books. You have a few in the Cloud, but you're reading one and you have another that you already read (when the book is in the Cloud, you can't tell if you've read it or not unless you download it, so I keep them on my Kindle, at least for now). One folder, all books there. You can have as many collections as you want, and there is no set amount of books that can go into each one. The only way you can see books that you have in the Cloud, without going to the Cloud, is if they are in folders. And, when you go to the Cloud, if you have the "Collections" choice selected, they are all there too.

The notes and bookmarks are one of the reasons that I love the Kindle. They are so easy to use and it means I use a lot less sticky notes (when I read a physical book, I take notes on the sticky notes and stick them on the inside of the cover – you know if I really liked the book, or learned a lot, when there are sticky notes inside the back cover too haha). They changed this around a little bit – bookmarks take two steps to use, there is a separate list of bookmarks and notes (makes it easier to find things), and typing in the notes has become easier.
    When you highlight a word, instead of having to go find Wikipedia on the list under "More," it's now listed in a column next to the definition (you just have to select that column). This works out a lot better, and the only issue that I've had is, when you go to delete a highlighted passage, "delete" is now under "More" (I forget and end up hitting the wrong thing, but I will soon get used to it).
    The "sleep" button is now actually helpful. Did anyone else hate that thing as much as I did before? You had to hold it down, while standing on your head, wearing a Superman cape, with all your toes and fingers crossed, hoping – HOPING!! – that THIS TIME it would restart the Kindle. Now, when you hold it for a few seconds, you have two options: Restart and Screen Off. (I don't use the Screen Off option because I have a cover that automatically puts it to sleep when I close the cover. LOVE that thing.)

I have been using this for about two months now and have played with everything the new update has to offer (I wanted to make sure I had all my ducks in a row before I wrote this post). I have some LOVES and I have some HATES.

First, you download the update on to your computer, then connect your Kindle via USB to put the update on. (Be forewarned: If you have too much on your Kindle, it will make you move things to the Cloud before it will allow you to do this.) It goes on to your Kindle rather quickly and shuts it off, then restarts it. Shortly after it restarts, it says it is ready to go.
    STOP! This is NOT true. I tried playing with it when it said it was done and it froze, wouldn't work, moved VERY slowly, didn't save things I had changed, etc. I ended up having to put it down for the night (which was really hard for me – it was like a new toy all over again), but everything was adjusted the next morning and I was able to play around with it.
    Any collection that you have created (even the ones you have deleted) will be on your screen, so you have to reorganize, delete collections, etc. – and it takes some time to get everything working properly. But the collections are VERY helpful. (If you have quite a few books on your Cloud, organizing will take a lot of time – I still am not done, but I am working on it.)

The frustrations: Sometimes it freezes in the middle of doing something (including reading, when you go to flip the page) and you have to restart the device (which is easier now – trying to be positive); occasionally I put something in a collection, only to find it back in that place later on (which means I have to move it AGAIN); my battery doesn't last near as long as it used to (no one can tell me why – and I have not increased how much I read).

Am I glad I updated my Kindle? YES!! I just hope that they take care of those smaller issues I mentioned as they "work to make our customers happy and our products the best on the market."

Did you download the update? Or purchase the new Paperwhite? Tell me what you think.


Spurts said...

You can get any updates just by holding the sleep/wake button long enough -- the screen will start showing a tree graphic with a progress bar underneath.

And beware of reporting a frozen paperwhite kindle to amazon customer support. They get to a point in the troubleshooting where they say you need a new one and offer a $10 coupon. (The older models had the reset hole like almost every other device in the world including cheap handheld games; not the paperwhite.). Before tossing or turning back into amazon for a new one -- deliberately drain the battery (which can lose downloaded samples because not in cloud.

Meghan H said...

Hi, Spurts. Thank you for your comments - and for visiting us here at The Gal.

The first item you spoke about - this works before you do the update. After you do the update, you can just choose the restart option (which is what you are describing). And this does not automatically update your device. This just starts it over. At least for the Paperwhite and the older Kindles (I am unfamiliar with the Kindle Fire as I have an iPad, having purchased my Kindles for JUST books).

I have never had that happen with Amazon (though, sadly, I have experienced some bad customer service there lately). Thank you for the warning. I have actually had a few people who were very helpful, but could not understand why it is doing what it is doing. It seems to just be a screen freeze because it allows me to pull up the restart/screen off option and is perfectly fine when it begins again. I have let it go all the way dead, but it has been some months and I will go ahead and try that again.

Thank you for your advice :) and come back anytime.