The sudden removal of the “Kindle Store” button in Amazon’s iOS Kindle app is getting a surprising amount of coverage, given that Apple issued the infamous “our way or the highway” ultimatum months ago. Still, the reminder that such a button once existed prompted us to ask the following question on Twitter:
iOS Kindle users: How often do (did) you actually click the “buy” link to get to the Kindle store, anyway?
We’re certainly not going to argue that the response is scientific, or even statistically telling, but it does support our general hunch — and our own usage patterns — which is that not many people were actually making use of the button even when it was available:
Never. Normal for me: find a book on amazon.com, send sample to my Kindle 2, then (maybe) buy book from there. Add to iOS later.
I’ve never used it.
Never. I’ve also never bought a book from my Kindle. Browsing on my Mac is just a way better experience.
Maybe 20 times total in 2 years of using the app.
It never worked for me.
We did have one dissenting response:
In fairness, app store reviews for the new “buttonless” version of the iOS Kindle app are overwhelmingly negative, many falling in at one star. Given the publicity, though, that’s to be expected. App Store reviewers are a harsh mistress.
Amazon undoubtedly has click-through reports which would validate the presence of the now defunct button, assuming it was ever seeing a lot of use. Amazon didn’t put up much of a fight, though. Perhaps our hunch is correct and they can’t be bothered to defend a feature that no one was using?
SplatF’s Dan Frommer (formerly of Silicon Alley Insider) weighed in on the change:
This is a worse customer experience. Amazon’s service — and Apple’s devices — are now slightly harder and clumsier to use. And it’s Apple’s fault.
Anil Dash echoes that sentiment on Twitter:
Now that my Kindle and Kobo apps have lost their “buy” buttons, my reading experience is so much better! Thanks, Apple!
Is the experience now worse, though?
If anything, it seems inelegant to expect a user to launch the Kindle app in order to push a button which then launches Mobile Safari. Why not just launch Mobile Safari in the first place? Better yet, why not create a home screen bookmark that links directly to the Kindle Store? (Amazon even made an iOS friendly icon for this purpose.)
Kindle Store in Mobile Safari > Add to Home Screen > There is no step 3.