I apologize for the lack of updates lately... actually no, I don't, because I've been packing and moving and unpacking and fighting off swarms of killer bees. On my time off. I'll get back to irregular blogging, but you'll have to bear with me.
Right now I'm checking in to rant a little bit about Kindle on Android.
It's a brilliant idea on Amazon's part - Your phone is a Kindle! Buy books from us! - and for the most part it works fine. Great, in fact. It's an excellent backlit backup for my normal Kindle, when I'm in low light conditions or if I just want to pick up a book on the go. It even syncs between my devices so I can keep track of what page I'm up to.
If that was it: Superb. Fantastic. A five-star app for sure.
But there's more.
The Kindle only syncs books I buy through Amazon. If I buy through somebody else? No go. I have to use Calibre to convert them into a Kindle-sync-friendly format. But hey! My fault! No harm, no foul. Still a great app.
But it goes south with the covers.
A Kindle book on my phone consists of three files: the book, the cover image (JPEG format), and a little .opf file. All have the same name except for the extension. Dead simple to associate with each other.
Kindle shows your books by cover when you're browsing to read something. Full-color covers. Fantastic. I don't get these on the regular Kindle. I want to enjoy them. But this is where Kindle for Android goes DERRRRP!!!
It won't show me the goddamn covers.
Oh, yes, I get a little default blue book with the title in white text. Fuck that. I want my beautiful cover art.
It wasn't always like this. The covers used to display fine. Then there were software updates. Now they're gone. I don't know why.
I thought it was Calibre. I thought it was those off-market books I bought. Then I bought A Game of Thrones, and that was broken. And one of the books that was already broken? Suddenly the cover displays just fine. It just happened to two other books. I didn't do anything, but it started to work.
There is no fucking rhyme or reason to this. There is no tech support recommendation beyond "uninstall, reinstall, and reboot", and it doesn't work.
And as software problems go, this one is easy. Remember: book, cover, opf file. I could associate the three of them in code myself in about five minutes. Three if I'm showing off.
I've seen this problem reported at least two major versions ago. Amazon hasn't fixed it. I'm not sure they've even acknowledged it. Why should they? You're not buying your books from us, huh? Fuck you.
Meanwhile my buggy little device is awash in a sea of random blue.
Please note: I'm bitching about a very minor problem in an otherwise excellent program. It's parsing MOBI files, which is not easy, extremely well. It's clear, easy to read, and 90% of the time it just works.
But that 10% matters. Presentation matters. It's a minor polish issue, something that should be an easy fix. And it's not getting fixed.
I'm not going to stop using Kindle for Android. I sincerely hope I have to eat my words on the next software update. But until then, this five-star app?
I rate it at about two.