5 Features I Wish Amazon Would Add to the Kindle App for iPad

I use the Kindle App on my iPad extensively. I probably do 75% of my reading there. I do another 15% in the Zinio App and the remaining 10% or so in Reeder App. By day, I am an application software developer, and so I give a lot of thought to how things work and how to make them more usable. Combine these two items together and it is safe to say that I’ve given some thought to some functional improvements that would make the Kindle app even more useful (to me, anyway). Here are a few of them.

1. Ability to send notes and highlights to Evernote

Yesterday, Evernote announced the integration of Evernote with the Sony reader. I’ve been wanting this functionality for the Kindle App for a while now. I highlight and makes notes fairly extensively, especially on books that I am reviewing. I’ve always thought it would be convenient to pull the notes or highlight into Evernote. I’ve hacked functionality indirectly using Apple Script, but it is not ideal, and requires a couple of step. Being able to highlight a passage in the Kindle App and immediately have the ability to send that to Evernote would be very, very nice.

2. Better shelf organization on the Kindle App

On my Kindle device, I had the ability to create “shelves” and assign a book to one or more shelves. For some reason, this functionality it completely missing in the Kindle App. The best the application can do is break down the organization into Books, Magazines, and Documents. Allowing users to create and assign their own shelves cannot be an inherently difficult feature to implement and it would make the application so much more useful. I could toss some books into a “To Be Read” shelf. Others I can stick into a “For Review” shelf. You get the idea.

3. Allow highlighting and notes for magazines

For some reason, magazines on the Kindle do not allow highlighting and notes the same way that books do. You cannot select a passage in a magazine and highlight it. You cannot mark a piece of text and add a note to it. It is my understanding that there is nothing inherently different about the periodical format for Kindle than the ebook format. Nevertheless, highlighting is not allowed. Maybe it’s because the developers feel that periodicals are ephemeral and get thrown away once they’ve been read. But since I read AnalogAsimov’sApex Magazine, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and InterGalactic Medicine Show on the Kindle and often want to highlight or makes notes on a story that I read, I’d find the ability to do so very, very useful.

4. Reading “session” tracking

It would be nice if the Kindle App could track what you read during a “session” in the same way your browser tracks your browsing history. (Of course, the feature could be disabled if you didn’t want it.) I realize this isn’t something that everyone would use, but for someone like me, who has tracked everything I’ve read since January 1, 1996, it would be incredibly useful. Moreover, it would help give someone a better idea of just how much you read in a day. And I imagine it wouldn’t be hard for the application to provide you with an estimate of your reading speed by seeing how far you get in a session and how long it took you to get there.

5. More social networking integration–with Goodreads

The Kindle App has the ability to connect with Facebook and Twitter. All fine and good. But why on earth doesn’t the Kindle App integrate with Goodreads? When you start reading a book, you could have it add that book to Goodreads and mark it as “currently reading.” And when you reach the end of a book, it can mark it as “read.” This seems like a no-brainer.

So those are the five items at the top of my Kindle App feature wish list. Any items on your wish list?


  1. Jamie,

    I fully agree especially with regard to the shelf organization. Even more, I find it essential to have shelves within shelves available, e.g. “Henning Mankel” as sub-shelve of “Swedish Crime Literature”. As far as I know, this is not even possible for the Kindle device. How can I buy more than may be 100 ebooks, if I can’t organize them properly?

    Best from Germany

  2. I totally agree with you with regards to linking Kindle with Goodreads.
    It is very frustrating and labours to add quotes / highlighted text from a kindle book you’re reading to your status updated on Goodreads. This is something that I use a lot and it helps with jogging the memory when I have to write a review for the said book.
    iBooks let you copy and paste text (the only downfall is you have to remove the copyright data that tags automatically) onto Goodreads without any troubles…
    I know lots of Goodreads users update their reading status regularly and it’s a good tool for promoting the books you are reading.
    Maybe yourself as an application software developer could look at this?


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