from xkcd (

Today I have discovered that the kindle is full of mysteries.  Well, I say full, but that isn’t what I mean.  What happened was I noticed a thing it was doing that I have no idea what it was talking about, and rather than googling it to find out I took photos to show you.

As you can see there’s a little message at the bottom of the screen intimating that it wants me to press the little button with a left pointing arrow on.  My reward for doing this is that kindle will then show me the number of highlighters, which sounds thrilling.

It doesn’t seem to take into account the fact that I might not want to know the number of highlighters.  Or indeed the fact that I’m not really sure what highlighters are in this context – other than not fluorescent pens used to mark less boring bits in the photocopied notes doled out by the Modern Studies department in High School.

However, being as how I am an obliging sort, I acquiesed in the pressing of the button, and got this in the middle of the page:

Which explains everything.  I think we’ve all learned a valuable lesson, don’t you?

Of course not.  So I googled it after all, and got a very boring page on the amazon website, the gist of which is that you can highlight bits you like in a book and then access them later on through the menu, without having to scroll back through.  This is probably quite handy if you’re reading a textbook, rather than a book for children about Tir Na Nog like what I am.

But why does the page photographed above have 3 highlighters?  I didn’t pick those myself, I didn’t even know what they were till now!  Why has it underlined this bit?

Quite simply, it is because Amazon likes to SPY ON YOU.  Chilling, isn’t it.

They take note of the bits other people have decided to highlight and collate them, in order to inform innocent bystanders like me of the reading preferences of total strangers.  Presumably 12 year old strangers, in the case of Shadowmagic.  12 year old strangers with no imagination, to boot – if I was of a mind to highlight bits of this book at random, there are several lines I’d choose that are much funnier and more interesting than that one.

Some things, it seems, are more mysterious even than the kindle.