One option on the Amazon Kindle app I see getting little attention, at least on Android, is the green color for background choices. Open an ebook on your Kindle, hit the “Aa” text options button on the top right of the page, and your “Color” dropdown menu gives you White, Black, Sepia, and finally Green. The Kindle app that comes with the $50 Fire tablet as standard is the same, so I expect the same will apply to all Amazon tablets running Amazon’s Fire OS.
The Kindle app’s limited range of color background choices has never been one of its strong points. Other third party e-reading apps allow a whole range of different, even customizable, color choices. And I’m interested as to why Amazon should choose green as one of the few options the Kindle app does offer.
Some users do claim that green can provide a more comfortable onscreen reading experience, and even provide color contrast charts to substantiate this. Others claim that the human eye is most sensitive to green light, and so can still read with full sensitivity when the screen is turned down to low brightness. (And incidentally, dark backgrounds are claimed to be harder on the eyes for readers with astigmatism.) Personally, I’m not convinced that green is much easier on the eyes than sepia, but I’d welcome other readers’ views. Does anyone out there use the green option? And if so, why? This option has been around since at least 2014, so there must be some readers out there who use it.
I used to read on a green background all the time—when I used the Indiglo backlight function on on my old monochrome Palm and Visor PDAs. Between this and the Ember font, maybe Amazon really is going after the Palm nostalgia market. 🙂
I always use the green color in the Kindle app on my phone and on the Fire (before I got rid of it). I find it very comfortable to use. At the lowest setting for my eyes it gave a clearer screen for me than the sepia color. Also worked better for me with Amazon’s Blue shade.
Hospital surgeries often clad their staff in light green, the rationale being that under bright surgery lighting green creates less eye strain than bright white clothing would. In many hospitals, it also distinguishes them from other staff. Being in surgery is like working in the ER or ICU. it’s very macho.
Personally, I wish the Kindle app included a reddish background for reading late at night. I prefer red to green for lessening eyestrain.
Indeed, I wish all the mobile operating systems would build in a dark mode that developers could use. It’d shift the UI of apps to light characters on a dark background. That’s not only handy when waking up and using a smartphone in the middle of the night, it’d also be great when using it at theaters and the like where a bright smartphone screen distracts others. It could even be triggered by the ambient light sensor.
Of course, what I really want Amazon’s Audible and a host of other audiobooks apps to do is create a sleep timer that works right. The typical app sleep timer imitates that on a clock radio. Those who fall asleep with the radio playing music simply want the radio to shut off at some time in the future rather than play through the night. When it shuts off matters little. They are just listening to music.
Audiobook listeners have a different need. They need their audiobook playback to shut off shortly after they fall asleep, so they can more easily find their place the next day. Believe me, trying to fast-forward through a book, constantly stopping and asking yourself, “Did I hear this before I feel asleep?” is a pain.
Much better is a sleep function that can be set to some short segment of time, say five or ten minutes and easily reset for another five or ten minutes. If you fall asleep while listening, the next day you simply reset the playback back five or ten minutes and you are fine.
To my knowledge, only the Loyal Books player does that and that’s because I asked the developer for that feature. When it times out, on my iPhone I need only hit the play button on my earphones to restart the playback. When I fall asleep and don’t do that, the playback remains halted.
The other audiobooks apps I’ve checked out don’t work that way. When the sleep timer times out, you’re forced to reconfigure it again. Needless to say, doing that every five or ten minutes will keep you from falling asleep. A badly designed sleep timer is no better than no sleep timer.
Yesterday, I watched in chronological order 41 short slices from a marvelously well-done German series called Generation War (2013). It’s a grim and honest portrayal of what it was like on the German Eastern Front during WWII.
Near the end, one of the German soldiers finds himself with a last ditch stand of old men and boys who believe they should die for that fatherland. He essentially tells them, “I’ll attack the Russians and die, fulfilling your obligation. Then you surrender and live on. He does just that, moving forward and getting shredded by a Russian machine gun. Then they surrender.
We’ve got it easy with all our fretting about screen colors and the like. We don’t know how hard life can be.
“Open an ebook on your Kindle”
My Kindle has a grayscale screen. My Fire tablet, on the other hand, does not.
I hadn’t noticed this feature until today, but I wonder if it was a 1 April joke as a kind of throwback to early PDAs (like Chris mentions).