My Christmas present to myself this year was a Kindle Fire HDX. I’ve had a traditional Kindle for years, but found myself abandoning it in favor of my iPhone because frankly I just love the touch screen. Call me lazy, but I just didn’t like tabbing through pages with the little buttons on the sides and having to use the little keyboard at the bottom when searching for new books was downright annoying. My research told me that the Fire would be cool for the touch screen, rich colors for watching movies and robust parental controls. What I discovered after my purchase may make the Kindle Fire stand head and shoulders above its competitors.
Kindle Matchbook. If you own an e-reader, you know that the best feature is that it’s compact and gives you access to your entire reading library at the touch of a button. For those of us addicted to the Game of Thrones series and not wanting to lug around a 1000-page tome to the doctor’s office, this is a major plus. Yet when I already own a well-loved volume in print, I loathe the idea of having to “purchase” it again if I want access to it on my e-reader.
Kindle Matchbook has solved this problem. If you’ve ever purchased a hard-copy book from Amazon, Matchbook allows you to buy the Kindle edition for a fraction of the normal cost ($2.99 or less, a savings of at least 70%). At rollout, Amazon only offered about 70,000 titles in this way, so beware that you may not find what you’re looking for right away, but the program is meant to be expanded as publishers make more books available. Someday you may be able to walk through your home library, scan titles there, and have them available to you electronically, instantly. To see if any of your previously-purchased books qualify, head here.
The Mayday Button. Whenever I get a new device, I find myself perusing the help section and the tutorials to make sure I don’t miss anything. When I clicked on my new Kindle’s Help button, there was this little message telling me “revolutionary live video help – free.” What is this? Well it turns out to be pretty spectacular. Click the “connect” button and you’re talking with a customer service representative, right through your Kindle, in 15 seconds or less. You see video from their side, but they only hear your voice (so no worries if you happen to be in your pajamas) and they’re able to walk you through any feature or help you with anything you need for your Kindle device.
One of the reasons I bought Kindle Fire in the first place was the ability to set up user profiles for my kids, then add content to them so they did not have access to my books, movies and applications. Kindle comes with some books already stored on the device for kids, but I couldn’t figure out how to set up the feature so my kids would have access to the content I wanted them to.
Enter The Mayday Button. When I clicked on it, I was nearly-instantly connected with an Amazon employee who was able to completely walk me through the feature – Amazon’s goal is a response time of 15 seconds or less. She had access to my screen so she could see what I was looking at. She circled icons so I could see what she was referring to, drew arrows where necessary to draw my attention and scrolled through the features, explaining as she went. Brilliant!
The possibilities are nearly endless. For novice users that are fearful of buying a new piece of technology because they’re sure they won’t know how to use it, this feature is perfect.
The Mayday feature is unique to the Kindle. Simply for this feature alone I would be hard-pressed to recommend any other e-reader.
One word of caution: because the customer service rep has access to your screen, if you ask them for help setting up something like email, be aware that they may be able to see your password when you enter it. They can “pause” screen sharing from their end, so make sure to request that they do so before you enter your personal information. Or make sure you have the “hide password” button checked before you start typing.