November 7, 2022. Happy to report that this bug has been fixed in 18.104.22.168
Nearly 2 months ago I noticed a bug on the Android Kindle app which both perplexed and angered me. I still have a hard time believing that this bug wasn’t spotted by the Kindle Software Q&A team (It’s called a “regression bug” which is a fancy way of saying that the feature worked perfectly and then suddenly failed to work). I have a hard time believing that it still has not been repaired.
Here is a longer description of the bug (which I also posted on the KDP Formatting forum, submitted feedback via the Kindle app, reported on the Google Play store and submitted through an Amazon ticket.
Let me define a few terms first:
Personal Docs. (Personal Documents) Consumers can import their own ebooks into the Kindle app. They can even import epub files (the universal standard for ebooks) using the Send to Kindle function. It’s supported when you send to your device an epub by email. These are not ebooks you buy through the Kindle store. Instead, they are ebooks which you obtained elsewhere — from Project Gutenberg, from another author or from a store which sells ebooks directly to consumer. Amazon also uses the term to refer to other kinds of imported files (such as PDF, MS Word, etc), but in this report I am referring to epubs imported into the Kindle reading system via email.
Internal hyperlinks (as opposed to external hyperlink). On the Internet we all know what a hyperlink means. It’s an underlined thingie which you click, and it takes you to another web page. An “internal hyperlink” is a link to another place within the same domain (or — in the case of ebooks — the same ebook). For example, an internal hyperlink in Chapter 2 of an ebook could link to chapter 4 or a subsection in chapter 6. Generally all epub reading systems (not just Kindle) have supported both internal and external hyperlinks when online. But even if the reading system is offline, internal hyperlinks have always functioned correctly.
INTERNAL LINKS DON’T WORK ON PERSONAL DOCS!! (Kindle App for Android)
Expected Behavior: When I click an internal hyperlink, the Kindle reading system should take me to the target of the internal hyperlink.
Actual Behavior: If you click on an internal hyperlink in an imported epub, it will NOT take you to the coded target. Instead, the Kindle reading system will bring up the bottom overlay (which is what normally happens if you click in the middle of the screen when reading).
Here is a screenshot that illustrates what happens when I try to click on an internal hyperlink. I used the links in the Table of Contents (TOC), but the same behavior is exhibited for any internal links in the ebook — including both links to a chapter and links to anchors midway down in a chapter.
SOLUTIONS TRIED. Here are steps I took to correct the problem. None of these actions made a difference.
- Close and restart the app.
- Close and restart the machine.
- Test with commercially purchased versions of the same ebooks and reopen epubs sent to Personal Docs.
Whom this bug affects: The bug was confirmed by several users on KDP forums. It affects only users of the Kindle android app, starting with 22.214.171.124 and persists on 126.96.36.199. (today) It does NOT affect ebooks which were purchased through the Amazon store. It does not affect imported epubs into Kindle-specific e-ink devices and (probably not the Kindle app for ios). It only affects ebooks which were imported by the user into the Kindle reading system.
I realize that bugs appear all the time in software, and that even if a problem is easily fixed, it may take time for the company to test it and deploy it to users. Maybe (hopefully) all I need is some patience. is happening.
But this bug raises an unsettling question:
How committed is Amazon to allowing imported epub files from the user to perform normally?