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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After listening to  Ian Freed's, Amazon’s vice president for Kindle, interview on The Kindle Chronicles, I have a suggestion which I made to Amazon.  Ian was extremely hesitant when asked about folders and suggested that they have not been implemented because they have to make them easy and simple for the non-techy users.  Following was my emailed suggestion to Amazon. 
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To make folders easy for both technical and non-technical users. How about a very short list of default folders with one custom folder?
Samples
Read
Un-Read
Periodicals
Personal

When reading a book or in Content Manager, users could move to any folder and/or delete.  Using Show and Sort would allow viewing of any of the folders and include and All category.  Items emailed to the Kindle would appear in Personal but could be moved elsewhere.
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What do you think?  This would fulfill most of my personal folder needs while utilizing the K.I.S.S. theory.
 

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Sounds like a good way to implement folders on the Kindle. If not ideal for everyone, it would be much better than what we have now. (nothing) We'll hope for the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It would be nice to just open it up for anything, but I got the impression that Amazon was looking for a one-size fits all solution.
 

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intinst said:
Sounds like a good way to implement folders on the Kindle. If not ideal for everyone, it would be much better than what we have now. (nothing) We'll hope for the best.
I agree, just about anything is better than the current implementation (none). I think that as a general rule, people using the Kindle are more tech-savvy anyway.
 

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Why can't they put in a few basic categories (like the ones suggested) and then let people choose to make more folders if they want?

L.Canton said:
I agree, just about anything is better than the current implementation (none). I think that as a general rule, people using the Kindle are more tech-savvy anyway.
I am not so sure about this. I have heard many a story about kids buying their aging parents Kindles because of the font size options. Amazon has a decent number of reviews that are along the line of "I am awful with technology and I can use this thing". I would guess that a decent number of users are tech-savvy but would not be surprised to find out that 30% or so are not tech-savvy.
 

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Ummm...I'm not trying to be difficult or anything, but these categories wouldn't be very helpful to me. I want genres such as 'mystery,' 'science fiction,' and 'biographies.' Even something just as basic as 'fiction' and 'nonfiction' would be better in my opinion than 'read' and 'unread.' If I want to reread an old familar novel I don't want to have to search thru 1000 miscellaneous titles for a particular one. Maybe I'm more anal than the rest of you? (ah, please don't actually answer that)
 

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Wisteria Clematis said:
Ummm...I'm not trying to be difficult or anything, but these categories wouldn't be very helpful to me. I want genres such as 'mystery,' 'science fiction,' and 'biographies.' Even something just as basic as 'fiction' and 'nonfiction' would be better in my opinion than 'read' and 'unread.' If I want to reread an old familar novel I don't want to have to search thru 1000 miscellaneous titles for a particular one. Maybe I'm more anal than the rest of you? (ah, please don't actually answer that)
I think that the ideal world is that they give people the option of adding their own folders. The default is to show all the books and then people could add their own folders and use those if they want.
 

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Trekker said:
Tags are a better way to organize things, in my opinion. You can tag each book that you would normally put in a folder. For example, all of your sci-fi books can be assigned the tag of "Sci-fi" which is similar to putting them in a folder called "Sci-fi." Whenever you want to see all of your sci-fi books, you can show just those books with the sci-fi tag. This is similar to opening a folder with all your sci-fi books in it.

Folders are limited. You can put a book in just one single folder. With tags, you can assign multiple tags to each book. Example - you can assign a book a "Sci-fi" tag and you can also assign it a "read" or "unread" tag (or whichever you choose.) You can then show whichever tag you like. If you want to know which books are Sci-fi, you can show that tag. You can then show just "unread" books. It's similar to putting a book in more than one folder. With folders, you have just one way of organizing the book, with tags, you have unlimited ways to sort that book.

If you use Gmail, they use a tagging system called "labels" instead of using folders. When I first heard of tags, I didn't like them at all. I was so used to folders I didn't want to change. Now, having used tags, I see they are superior to folders and I prefer them over folders.

Hope that's not too confusing! ;D
Thank you! Not confusing at all. Tags sound like a fine option to me. I just want something that lets me sort my library easily.
 

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I understand the functionality that all of you want.  But as a software developer who has been designing systems for many years, folders aren't what you really want.

Folders, the way you think of them, would be very frustrating.  If you put it in an 'un-read' folder, what would you do if you wanted to then group things by genre?  It would be very limiting and very frustrating.

They could do tags, but that is more of a search function that an organization function. A tag is kind of like connecting a certain word with your book.  I could 'tag' my book with words like unread, 4star, romance.  And then I could search for all books with the romance tag.  It's a fairly good solution if you want to search instead of organize.

They could implement it by using attributes/properties.  For instance, each book would have a genre property where it could be set to sci-fi, history, romance, etc, and each book would have a read attribute where you could set it to read or unread.  Setting up properties like this would allow you to group your pictures by genre now and then by read/unread five minutes later with selecting a simple sort order (just like the current sort options).

Any option would be a usability nightmare.  Many people would not understand the concepts and it is a very difficult thing to do with a limited screen size in a simple way.  Even though I would really like to have this functionality, I completely understand why they haven't.    

 

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Trekker said:
Let me guess, you work for amazon, right? That's the same defeatist attitude they seem to have. We need "can do" people, not apologists.

Sorry, no intention of offending you but I absolutely disagree with your opinion.
No, I certainly don't work for Amazon. But I have designed software for PCs, internet, and mobile devices. And I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm saying it is very hard to get it friendly and usable. And it would have been a stupid decision on Amazon's part to try doing that on their first attempt of the Kindle. They needed it to be easy to use, if they didn't do it right and it was difficult to use, the Kindle would not have been a success. And before they do give that functionality, they need to be sure that they have the right solution so that they do not alienate the non-technical people.
 

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kim said:
No, I certainly don't work for Amazon. But I have designed software for PCs, internet, and mobile devices. And I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm saying it is very hard to get it friendly and usable. And it would have been a stupid decision on Amazon's part to try doing that on their first attempt of the Kindle. They needed it to be easy to use, if they didn't do it right and it was difficult to use, the Kindle would not have been a success. And before they do give that functionality, they need to be sure that they have the right solution so that they do not alienate the non-technical people.
I too, work with software developers. It is always best to nail your framework down and get the platform solid and stable. Only then should you start the feature creep. We don't have that luxury always in software development because there is a never-ending stream of enhancement requests. The risks you face, though, are never getting to a solid platform to build these new features on. While I think tags would be useful, I would much rather have a solid reading platform first. Not having touched a Kindle yet, I can't speak to that. However, from what I've read here, it would appear Kindle 1 just about nailed that. Incremental improvements were made to Kindle 2, to continue and improve on that platform (we hope).

Perhaps they can now start working on the software enhancements without putting the underlying platform at risk (which I think we could all agree on - is the most important thing - we want a solid reading device number 1).

Continuing with kim's thesis. Designing and building good software (and hardware) is an incredibly complex proposition. Changes and enhancements aren't to be taken lightly as they can have unforeseen consequences if not well thought out. In my position at my company I am bombarded daily with "enhancement requests," half of which I just let go in one ear and out the other as they won't ever happen in this century. We only have so many engineers to build stuff.

The other thing Amazon has to take in to consideration - assuming they would think a "folder-like" capability is something will do - is how to implement it. Tags, actual folders, or something else. They can effect them more than most applications due to searching, the tie-in to the back-end at amazon.com, etc.

Now, where is my Kindle 2??? Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggggggggg!!!!!!!!!!!!

:D
 

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Based on that interview, it sounds like they are trying to say that folders/tags won't happen because they are afraid that people will find them difficult to use. I don't doubt that programming them in would be a challenge, but that is not what they are saying.

I sent an email to Kindle Feedback asking for folders/tags. Maybe if they continue to get hit with the request they will start working on the problem.
 

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I think kim has a point about ease of use.  I think that what Amazon needs to figure out is how they can make sorting an option:  Kindle comes as is but the techier savvyer :)D) sort could download an optional add-on/widget that would allow them to use folders/tags/what-have-you to more organize their collection.  This way, the folks who Just Want To Read and don't want to have to think about the technology can do so.  And those who want to play with it can also do so.

Ann

 

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Now that K2 is coming out, Amazon will probably have more time to focus on enhancements to k1 and k2.

We have a software business, and our main focus is to make sure that our products are running properly before making any changes or enhancements.  Since we've followed this model, we hardly ever get tech support calls (most calls are user issues, not software).  Once we have time to make changes, we have to pick and choose what is going to be a benefit to all of our clients, not just the one client who requested a change, then figure out how to implement it without breaking what's already working.

I think we'll see an update similar to the k1 update sometime later this year, unless they are already working on k3......  
 

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I thought I just posted but it apparently didn't through....

I think they have 99% of what they need.  Why not just build on their search technology.  We could attach a note to the Table of Contents for instance.  In that note put *Scifi* *Read* *etc* and then just go to the global search and punch in the term we are looking for.  Then give us the option to return a list of titles where that term appears.  We would get a list of titles filter by a category... Done!!!!

I think the only option for them to add is to ask if we just want the titles returned from our search.

The beauty of this would be it is ALMOST DONE already and it would be transparent to users that don't want to use it.

Just a thought...

Chris
 

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Thanks, Kim, JMreader and Ogle.  I understand the issue a little better now.  I think it will happen; we just have to be patient. 
 

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The fact that he avoided the question in the interview doesn't mean it will never happen. They obviously know that people want a better way to organize, they just aren't ready with the answer yet. I would guess that they are working on it; as many of you have mentioned, you can't just throw 1500 books in a pile.

Trekker said:
They can set it up so that you can add tags to your books on Amazon's website, or your kindle, and then use their whispersynch function to keep them synchronized.

I've worked hand-in-hand with software developers for many years on missile systems. They could have done this in their sleep...and that was 15 to 20 years ago.
The functionality isn't hard, anybody right out of school should be able to do it in their sleep. The issue comes when you consider your user base. It has to make sense to your little grandma who has never heard of a tag.

I like your idea of being able to create tags on amazon.com. That would be good.
 
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