My Kindle Paperwhite’s Cracked Screen Has Healed Itself

I couple of months ago, I cracked my Kindle Paperwhite’s screen. I tossed it on my bed, one day, and it landed on my iPhone, making a nasty crack with spidery lines extending a few inches. It wasn’t broken, but there was no way I could read on that device; it was too distracting.

So, I put it aside and bought a new one (in part, thanks to Amazon offering me a 20% discount, after I inquired whether the Kindle could be repaired). Today, I went to check it out, thinking that my partner, who is happy to read a non-backlit Kindle, might want to use it. The cracks only showed up when the light was on, so I thought that she might want to use it with the light off.

I charged it for a bit, entered my PIN, then, much to my surprise, the crack is gone. If I look really close, I can see a whitish spot where the contact point was, but the rest of the crack is gone. I don’t know why this happened, but my guess is that whatever liquid is in the screen filled the spaces, and did so seamlessly, hiding the crack. I don’t know how long it took for this to “heal,” but it’s been a couple of months. (I regret that I hadn’t taken any photos of the screen to be able to show before and after views…)

So, if you have a Kindle Paperwhite with a cracked screen, hold on to it. You may find, as I did, that it will self-heal after a while.

New Kindle Voyage Offers Higher Resolution; But Will It Have Better Fonts?

Kindle voyageAmazon has announced a new Kindle, the Kindle Voyage (odd name…) that is due to ship in November. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) A bit smaller than the Kindle Paperwhite, this device boasts a higher screen resolution (300 ppi compared to 212 pip for the Paperwhite), and an adaptive light, so the screen light will vary according to your ambient lighting. There are also page-turn buttons in the device’s frame, on either side of the page, which provide haptic feedback.

This device is a bit lighter than the Paperwhite, but also more expensive: at $199, that’s a big step up from the $119 Paperwhite. (The difference is less here in the UK; the Paperwhite is £109, and the Voyage £169.) It’s not clear whether many people will pay $200 for an ebook reader, but I’m pretty sure that there are enough die-hard Kindle users who will welcome the new device.

One question I have is this: will it have better fonts? I’ve written about how I’d like to see more fonts, and sizes, on the Kindle and in Kindle apps, and seeing the company making a screen with a much better resolution makes me think that this will, for the most part, be wasted if they continue using the same clunky fonts.

We won’t know for a month or so, but I sincerely hope that Amazon makes e-reading a better experience through improved fonts. It’s one of the things I dislike about the Kindle; the fact that the fonts just aren’t very book-like.

Discover your “Hidden” Kindle Books Page

If you’re a Kindle user, you know that you can manage your Kindle library on your Amazon account page. There’s a link that says Manage Your Kindle:

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This takes you to a page where you can see your content and your devices, and alter some settings related to your Kindle account page. From the Your Content section, you can choose to deliver a book to one of your devices, but you can just as easily download it from the device itself. You can also delete the book, clear the furthest page read, and more.

But there’s a secret, “hidden” Kindle page which is much more useful. Go to http://kindle.amazon.com/, sign in, and see how much more information you get.

Click Your Books, and see all your books, what your reading status is for each one (whether you’re currently reading, finished, etc.), rate books, and set whether you want your notes to be public.

One thing available from this page that you cannot access any other way is Your Highlights. This lists all the passages you’ve highlighted in all your books, and you can copy them. Since there’s no way to copy text from a Kindle book, this is a good way to get bits of text if you need them for, say, a report or article.

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You can also follow people from this page, but I’ve never really felt this to be useful. Perhaps you want to follow famous authors and read their notes and highlights, or just see what your friends are reading; as long is this information is made public.

While some of the information on this page is the same as that on the Manage Your Kindle page, the main attraction here is highlights. As far as I know, this is the only way to access them in copyable form. Check out this page; you might find it useful.

iPad mini vs. Kindle Paperwhite

I like the idea of the Kindle, and the idea of the Kindle Paperwhite even more. Offering the ability to read both outdoors in sunlight, and indoors with a backlight, it seems like the best of both worlds.

Alas, having received a Kindle Paperwhite yesterday, I’m very disappointed. Not only is the backlight not very bright – not really bright enough to read indoors if there’s a lot of light – but it’s very uneven, with dark spots around the edges, especially at the bottom.

Here’s a photo I took of the Kindle Paperwhite next to the iPad mini, the latter showing a book in the Kindle app. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

As you can see, even in this small photo, the lighting is uneven at the bottom of the Kindle, and there is a very large difference in brightness (both devices are set to maximal brightness in the photo above). While the iPad mini won’t work in bright light – such as outdoors – I have a Kindle Touch for that. So that Paperwhite is being returned. It’s a good idea, but it’s just a bit cheap and poorly designed. Amazon should really do better with a device like this.