Update: Amazon has released an update that fixes the issue described below.
Kindle app devotees will want to shy away from the Update All button in the App Store for the time being. Amazon recently released an update to the app, but unlucky upgraders discovered that the app update logged them out and wiped out their stored books.
The good news is, if you got bitten by the bug, you didn’t lose much but time and patience: All your Kindle ebook purchases remain available to you, and you can re-download them from within the app.
“There is a known issue with this update,” Amazon writes in the app’s current What’s New notes in the App Store. “If you are an existing Kindle for iOS user, we recommend you do not install this update at this time.”
Help, though, is on the way. “We have submitted an update fix for this issue and are working with Apple to release,” an Amazon spokesperson told Macworld via email.
But the update must still wait on Apple’s App Store review process to get the fix out to customers. Developers are allowed a finite number of “expedited review” requests, and there’s some suspicion that big companies like Amazon may get more such attention from Apple than typical developers. But any expedited process is at Apple’s discretion.
The issue exposes two flaws in Apple’s handling of the App Store. First, there’s no easy way for developers to “roll back” updates that they discover to be flawed after release. In theory, a single button mechanism for developers to revert to a previously-approved version of an app would help a lot in situations like this. Instead, Amazon had to update its message in the App Store, and hope that customers would see it before they tapped to update.
The second App Store flaw Amazon’s Kindle woes expose is that there’s no option for users to “Skip this version” of an app. Now, users with many app updates to install must remember to stay away from the Update All button, lest they unintentionally grab the Kindle update and wipe out their books. With a Skip option, users could tell the App Store they’d sit out this version of an app, and get nudged again when a new new version of the Kindle app was available.
Updated at 7:24 a.m. PT with comment from Amazon, and at 10:26 p.m. PT when Amazon released a fixed version of the app.