Kindle's update brought page numbers AND...

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Summary: A lot of talk went around about the new Kindle update bringing page numbers. It also brought a new feature, a 'Before You Go', that I've yet to hear mentioned much.

BLOT: (23 Mar 2011 - 12:31:21 PM)

Kindle's update brought page numbers AND...

The Kindle had a recent update that added "page numbers" to some/most books. This is an ok feature. A lot of "I just LOOOOVE John Grisham!" type readers are ecstatic about it, but I think for most forms of reading, not having a page count is a neutral loss. We have taught ourselves to go "I read 50 pages today!" but that's artificial. A page is a unit derived from geometry, layout [kerning, line-space], font, and word-saturation. A page in the hardcover Twilight has about as many words or less than a third of a page in the hardcover Cryptonomicon. "I read 50 pages!" is, basically, an estimation. The Kindle's use of "locations" (roughly a paragraph, but not always) is actually more accurate, but many readers did not like it. They wanted pages, and now they have pages. As much of a neutral loss as it was, it is also a neutral gain. Just another added metric. I have but three more general statements:

  1. Without great care, versioning issues (which edition do these page counts link up, and how open will Amazon be in telling us?) will crop up.
  2. If done well, it will provide one significant gain, it will be a boost to scholarly reading because it will enable you to reference specific pages in ebook citations, though presumably location would also work (and, as said above, be more specific); but this will allow citation across type.
  3. My relationship to the update started out soured, because the Kindle for Mac app that I use to read about half the time required me to reregister and redownload my books. Not only do most books have a download limit on devices (about 6) but it was time consuming. Bah.

Enough of that, though, apparently there was another feature added. A "Before You Go" page that presumably shows up on the physical Kindles themselves (I have a Kindle 2 and an updated Kindle for Mac, but no Kindle 3). It is a final page that goes "Before you should Tweet/share about this book and you should take a look at these other books. Fairly innocuous, but I can't help but think that it's a test run for an extended version of such things, and, cranky old billy goat that I am or whatever, I can't say that I like it. I wonder if they are static, generated at time of download, or if they are generated whenever you connect your Kindle online?

At any rate, let's see what the Amazon manipulators (those who do things like make lists with their books and popular best sellers, just to confuse the algorithms to think they are on the same topic, and et cetera) do with this.

LABEL(s): Ebooks


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