Friday, April 15, 2011

Kindle Features I Would Like To See!

I really like paper books. You can hold them, smell them and write in them. You can even use them to cover your eyes to take a nap. When my children gave me a Kindle for Christmas I was very appreciative and promised to use it.

My Kindle reader has grown on me.

In my other lives I am a history teacher, basketball coach, train enthusiast and a reader of theology and science fiction with some political works thrown in as well. At an early age I developed the habit of carrying a book with me to read during any spare moment, a habit that persists till this day. Given my varied interests and profession, I often carried a backpack full of books around with me. Now, I just carry my Kindle reader. Not only are many of the books I obtain now less expensive as a Kindle book, I don't have to carry them around.

Unfortunately, the ease with which I could markup a physical book is not the same with the Kindle. Yes, I could invest in one of those Apple devices and it would have more functions. Yet, since I have already adapted to the Kindle and its size, I hope Amazon will add some of the following suggested features.

The ability to insert media into a Kindle book. For example, a history of the Great Depression will mention FDR's famous fireside chats. Why not insert a video, or at least an audio file, of the very first fireside chat, the Bank Holiday speech. Books on coaching basketball would be well served by this feature, allowing the author to insert video clips demonstrating what is being described in the book.

Also, rather than using the current set-up to highlight books, I would rather Amazon develop a stylus where you can write in the Kindle book by writing on the screen of the Kindle. Ditto with highlighting. Develop a stylus that allows you to highlight by touching the screen. 

My high school students would flip if they could have a Kindle with these features. They are also the youtube generation and because I teach at a "laptop" school, they expect to see things as well as read about them. As soon as I bring up FDR's first fireside chat concerning the Bank Holiday, within 30 seconds a hand will go up saying they have found it on YouTube, can they show it to the class. I think this is great but what if the kids could have a Kindle reader and the text book already had the desired media embedded in the book? Now you have something teachers and students alike will really want to use.

The second feature would allow me to have the best of both kinds of books in the Kindle version. I could write, take notes and sketch ideas on my Kindle book just like I do a paper book. I would be able to carry 100+ history books in a two pound device instead of lugging them around and having them clutter up my car and classroom. It would help me further overcome my resistance to the Kindle reader as my primary source of reading books.

Now, if Amazon can just figure out a way to make a Kindle reader smell like a good book!