Page Numbers in Kindle


Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

This week I ordered the new Kindle, upgrading from the original Kindle that I bought a few years ago. My new Kindle arrived in the mail today. I’ve already enjoyed its improved features.

Amazon has recently created a new firmware version that includes several new features. The most welcome feature is the possibility of determining the page numbers in hard copy for the Kindle ebook version of a book you happen to be reading. This is critical to readers like me who write and lecture and need to be able to document references to the reading we site.

There are things to know about this new feature and its availability:

  1. Even my brand new Kindle came with version 3.0.2 of the firmware. This was superseded by 3.0.3. Why my new Kindle is loaded with the older firmware is unclear to me. But more important, my new Kindle should have the very latest firmware—3.1. Why doesn’t it?
  2. Amazon provides a page of instructions about how to upgrade your Kindle firmware to version 3.1. But I found today that the link for downloading the software is not working. So for the time being, I’m not able to upgrade to 3.1. (This may have something to do with the browser I’m using, which is Firefox. I’ll try this download with a different browser later.)
  3. Not every book purchased for Kindle makes use of the page numbers feature.
  4. When you use the page numbers feature with your Kindle, the way to be sure which physical copy it corresponds with is to go to the product detail page for that book at Amazon and scroll down to find a line that gives the “Page Numbers Source ISBN” under the “Product Details” section of the page.

For Amazon’s own information about the page numbers feature on the Kindle, go here and here.

 

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From the Kindle to the iPad?


various e-book readers. From right to left iPa...

Image via Wikipedia

I have a first-generation Kindle and have written about it here before. I bought it when I was about to travel overseas and wanted the convenience of carrying lots of interesting reading without packing any books.

Things have changed pretty dramatically since then. The $400 Kindle of that day has been superseded by the $139 basic Kindle of today. And now there are other models to choose from, featuring 3G and a choice of screen sizes. For details, click here.

Kindle stills rules the world of e-Book technology. But it’s met with vigorous competition. Its greatest competition is the Apple iPad. And the main reason for that is that the iPad is so much more than an e-Book reader.

So I’ve come to the point where I’m tempted to upgrade my Kindle, or else switch over to the iPad. Now’s a good time since Kindle has improved its device, lowered the price point, and garnered my support based on a happy experience. On the other hand, Apple is about to release its iPad 2, and there are rumors of a September release of an iPad 3. (I’ve learned to wait for 2nd-generation products from Apple.) One way or the other, I feel ready to retire my original Kindle—though there’s nothing wrong with it.

If I’ve settled the question of whether to upgrade, I’m not yet settled about which upgrade to go with. I truly like the Kindle and I know I’d like the new versions even better. But what about the iPad? I’m an Apple fan who uses a Powerbook Pro, an iMac, and an iPhone. Why not an iPad, then? It’s far more versatile than a Kindle, and is nearly as compact.

Here’s the best case I can make for sticking with the Kindle and simply upgrading to its latest model:

  1. It has a more attractive price point.
  2. For reading books and documents, the Kindle is still a superior experience. It uses electronic ink technology that is easy on the eyes under all reading conditions.
  3. The iPad is no use for outdoors. The bright natural light washes out the screen. Not so for the Kindle.
  4. The Kindle is very light-weight and compact.
  5. The Kindle battery will hold a charge for an impressive length of time. Not so for the iPad.

Here’s the case for an iPad instead:

  1. For a few more dollars than it costs for the 9-inch Kindle, you get the full versatility of the iPad, with all of its countless apps.
  2. The iPad is good for reading at night, since it’s backlit.
  3. E-books on the iPad can be marked more quickly and conveniently.

Here are the reasons why I lean toward getting both, a new Kindle and the iPad (when it’s been refreshed):

  1. For most reading, I would prefer the Kindle. I do a lot of reading, and I like the convenience of being able to read while on the go. For regular reading that doesn’t require extensive note-taking and highlighting, the kindle is my first choice.
  2. For reading that requires mark-ups, the iPad seems the obvious choice.
  3. While I don’t actually need all the features of an iPad, it would be an improvement over my iPhone for on-the-go email, internet look-ups, working on presentations, etc. I might be able to leave my laptop at home when I travel.
  4. I could justify the added cost of an iPad if Dianne would be interested in using it, too.

The outlay of cash would be greater, of course. So the advantages of a dual approach have to be weighed against the combined price of a new Kindle and an iPad.

But which iPad? If iPad 2 is about to come out in the next few weeks, but an iPad 3 is slated for release as early as September, should I wait it out?

Here are some reasons to jump into the iPad with version 2:

  1. There’s really no telling for sure whether an iPad 3 will come out so soon.
  2. There’s no telling what an iPad 3 will cost if and when it’s released. The iPad 2 is supposed to be priced about like the current iPad.
  3. iPad 2 features may be perfectly adequate for my purposes.
  4. Technology becomes obsolete so quickly that waiting for the iPad 3 probably wouldn’t mean that I would be using a device with a longer shelf life if I waited and got the 3.

Maybe you can help me with this decision. Have you decided between a Kindle and an iPad? How did you make up your mind? Are you happy with your decision? Do you have both? If so, do you use both?

Kindle 2.0


You know I’m a big fan of the Amazon Kindle. I bought my Kindle nearly a year ago in preparation for a trip to Europe. It worked like a dream. And in those days, it was a dream. Now Amazon has released a new version, the Kindle 2.

Amazon owns the turf when it comes to portable reading devices. Downloads are easy. Storage space is incredible. The interface and hardware are simple to use. And Amazon is publishing Kindle versions of everything under the sun . . . for a much lower price than hard copy. They’ve even got my book Faith, Film, and Philosophy in a Kindle version.

With the hoopla over the Kindle 2, I’ve been getting questions about my experience and whether I still recommend the device. Yes. Unequivocally, yes. My Kindle goes where I go—or, rather, I go wherever my Kindle goes. I wouldn’t be without it. So, will I now be buying the Kindle 2?

I would be if I didn’t already have a Kindle. K2 has longer battery life, a more streamlined profile, and some additional storage space. I guess it works a little faster, too. There weren’t a lot of pre-Kindle 2 kinks to work out, so the Kindle 2 isn’t a major upgrade for previous users. The “read-to-me” feature is new, but I wouldn’t pay extra for it. Turns out, though, you don’t have to. Some may have hoped that Kindle 2 would cost less than Kindle 1. Who wouldn’t? But it could hardly be expected. Amazon has sold tons of these devices. The best evidence for that is the increase in Kindle versions of books in their massive catalog. And when you calculate how much books cost, the savings of Kindle versions, and the exotic utility of the Kindle 2, the price should be easy enough to swallow.

At the same price as the original device, Kindle 2 is still a bargain. I mean that. I carry around dozens of books, many of them reference works, and have my portable library on hand for every occasion.

My students know about my Kindle zeal, so they might be thinking they could buy a Kindle and use it in class. They’d probably be right. First, they could be reading anything, including my own publications, and I would never know it. Second, in one year, Amazon has made an amazing number of philosophy texts available in Kindle versions. And if Amazon is publishing that much stuff in technical philosophy, you can be sure they’ve got what most of the real people in the world want in a good read!

If you don’t know much about the Kindle, then start here for more information.

Later I’ll be posting more suggestions about the Kindle. Meanwhile, you may want to search my blog for other articles with tips about using the Kindle.

If you’re a Kindle user, let me know in the comments box for this post. What do you like most about having a Kindle? If you don’t have a Kindle, try to explain that to me in the comments box!

Kindle 2 Released Today


Kindle. It’s the ebook reader I’ve recommended here before. I’ve owned mine since May 2008, when I used it for a trip to Europe and wanted to pack lightly. It was the perfect solution to a problem I’ve always had as an avid reader: how to manage the number and variety of books I like to have with me for spare reading moments. With the Kindle I discovered I could keep kindle-2-capturea whole library with me, and download current issues of major magazines and newspapers on the road. No connection to a computer is required to download ebooks, magazines, and newspapers. The Kindle has a built-in wireless that enables orders and downloads through Amazon simply and immediately. I can stand in line at my bank in southern California and download The Boston Blobe and The New York Times for the day and have the cover stories digested before I see the teller. And nobody will know I’m reading a newspaper because it fits in my hands like a book.

Amazon isn’t saying how many Kindles they’ve sold. But I imagine it’s quite a lot. Why? Because today they announced the Kindle 2, scheduled for release soon enough to ship by February 24.

Amazon.com, Inc. today introduced Amazon Kindle 2, the new reading device that offers Kindle’s revolutionary wireless delivery of content in a new slim design with longer battery life, faster page turns, over seven times more storage, sharper images, and a new read-to-me feature. Kindle 2 is purpose-built for reading with a high-resolution 6-inch electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, which lets users read for hours without the eyestrain caused by reading on a backlit display. More than 230,000 books are now available in the Kindle Store, including 103 of 110 current New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases, which are typically $9.99. Top U.S. and international magazines and newspapers plus more than 1,200 different blogs are also available. Kindle 2 is available for pre-order starting today for $359 at and will ship February 24.

The new Kindle is an improvement over the first model. Do I regret that I didn’t wait for this new generation Kindle? Not at all. Will I buy the Kindle 2 and sell my current Kindle on eBay? Maybe so.

Here are other posts I’ve made to this blog about the Kindle:

kindle-2

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #4


For all of you Kindle users who like to keep up with favorite blog feeds, the Kindle will help you do that through its Whispernet technology. The Kindle offers several advantages over cell phones and Blackberrys.

  • The Kindle screen is much more reader friendly, with its window size, ink technology, and scrolling features.
  • All feeds that you download remain on your Kindle as long as you like, and there’s plenty of room (especially with the card slot that allows unlimited storage in small format).
  • Bookmarking, highlighting, and note-taking are conveniently available.

So how do you use your Kindle to access your favorite blogs? It all starts with a Google Reader account—which you should have anyway. You can access your Google Reader blog feeds directly through your Kindle.

For clear, step-by-step guidelines, check out the post at The Puget News, titled “Using Google Reader on the Amazon Kindle.”

* * *

Special thanks to David, a regular reader and commentator at this blog, for letting me know about the Puget News post.

* * *

New to Kindle? Check it out here.

Related Posts:

Kindle Your Reading Habits

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #1

How To Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #2

How To Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #3

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #3


Is it even possible to document references to works researched using your Kindle?

Sure. But the technique isn’t conventional. While there are no page numbers, there are location numbers for every line of text. These appear at the bottom of each Kindle page. And they remain constant regardless of the font size you adopt for reading.

So the only thing you have to do differently when documenting a quotation from the Kindle edition of a book is give the location number where you would indicate the page number of a standard book.

This issue has been thoroughly discussed at various sites, including Amazon’s own Kindle blog. Many who write about this seem to be ill-informed.

Some books exist only in e-book format; indeed, some exist only in Kindle format. E-books are legitimate sources of information. It ought to be possible to cite them and to do so accurately and clearly. Even an academic paper evaluating e-books and reporting research about their contents would have to include specific documentation, even if the researcher was arguing that they are not a legitimate form of information dissemination.

There are e-books aplenty, and scads of formats among them. The Kindle has a proprietary format. Amazon’s well-known presence and general reputation worldwide should ensure that this format comes to be widely accepted.

Kindle and the Purpose of Citations

Let’s remember why citations are required in the first place. First, and foremost, they give credit to whom credit is due. This is not merely a matter of paying respects. It is a matter of protecting someone else’s intellectual property.

A secondary reason for documentation is that it is an aid to readers who might wish to chase down the reference and study the larger context of what is cited.

Both of these objectives are easily accommodated by using location numbers for Kindle citations.

A Possible Liability and Its Remedy

One liability of referencing material as it appears in an e-book rather than a traditional book has directly to do with the variability of formats from one e-book publisher to another. Readers of material that cites an e-book will often have more difficulty finding the specific source.

A partial remedy is to be sure to indicate that the source you cite is the Kindle edition of a book. This will prevent confusion about which e-book is cited. But the Kindle is not yet ubiquitous. A majority of readers may not yet have access to one. So they’re a bit stuck until the Kindle becomes more widely used—as it surely will. They’re only a bit stuck, though, because they may not have much trouble following up on a citation within a traditional book version of the material.

What about Citing a Kindle Book for a Term Paper?

Some have advised students to take care to consult their teachers before citing a Kindle book in a research paper with footnotes and a bibliography. That’s not a bad idea.

I must say that if one of my students submitted a paper with Kindle book citations, and without first confirming my approval, I would be very reluctant to deprive her of that option. There’s nothing irresponsible about what she’s done. But the student should be certain that her teacher’s syllabus does not explicitly prohibit the citation of Kindle books.

What about Citing a Kindle Book in a Book or Article for Publication?

There should be no concern that an author risks being accused of plagiarism if he cites a Kindle book, as long as he provides all the information needed to confirm his source.

Publishers themselves often have special citation requirements, a standard way they handle each kind of citation for their books, journals, or magazines. It’s an author’s responsibility to provide all the necessary bibliographical details when submitting a manuscript for publication. It’s recommended that he use the publisher’s guidelines for formatting. If a publisher doesn’t address the question of formatting e-books, the author has two choices, enter the data in a format that can be understood and revised by the copy editor, or consult the publisher for guidelines about the matter.

If a publisher refuses to allow Kindle book citations, get another publisher. Alternatively, if there’s a good chance you’ll wish to cite a Kindle book in what you’ll be writing for a specific publisher, discuss it with the publisher before signing a contract. A publisher will most likely accommodate you, and even express their approval in the contract for publication.

A Future for Kindle Books Among Scholars

Every time I see my high school daughter leave for school with a book bag loaded with heavy textbooks I wonder how she manages. Wouldn’t it be great if she could get those same books on a Kindle and just carry that in a shoulder bag or something? All it would take would be for Amazon to perpare Kindle versions of those books.

I can assure you that Amazon is pursuing this avenue. As it is, they already have a growing list of textbooks available in Kindle version. I’ve been surprised to see many philosophical texts used at the university level available in this format. The day may come when a student can get every textbook on a Kindle . . . and get a substantial discount to boot.

Here’s an advantage that hits closer to home for me. If I wish to conduct sabbatical research at a remote location, it would be unrealistic if I had to ship all the books I think I might wish to consult. I have friends who have done this, but time and cost would be prohibitive for me.

What I might do, though, is browse the Kindle inventory at Amazon for books related to my research. I could download these before I leave on sabbatical, or on location while on sabbatical. The crucial thing for me would be to be able to quote accurately from a source of valuable material. A Kindle version would make that possible. After returning from sabbatical, I could, if I felt the need to, check my Kindle citations against traditional book editions and convert the documentation. (Or I could assign this to a research assistant.)

New to Kindle? Check it out here.

For a good resource on electronic documentation, see Diana Hacker’s book Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age

Related Posts:

Kindle Your Reading Habits

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #1

How To Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #2

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #4

Getting the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #2


Sarah Palin was a newsmaker when her selection as John McCain’s running-mate was announced. Suppose you wanted to read prominent newpaper coverage of her convention speech the following day—in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, or even The Times of London or Germany’s Allgemeinde. Suppose you wanted to sample editorials from all of these papers.

You could have your dog fetch them from the front driveway (if he hasn’t been retired because of illegal immigration). You could make a special trip to your local bookstore and pick up copies of each of these papers. Or you might go online and scan the web editions.

But have you considered using your Kindle? You can subscribe to all of these papers, and more, to be downloaded automatically to your Kindle as soon as they are off the press. But you don’t have to subscribe to several papers, or any papers. Why not just purchase each of these papers for that day only, and read the bits you like? Kindle gives you that option.

Sure, you could go the laptop route and be more or less portable. But you’d need an internet connection, and you’d have something larger and heavier to carry around—unless you have one of those fancy cell “phones” that does it all. What you wouldn’t have, even with the cell phone, is the possibility of reading on a screen more than half the size of an iPhone screen, wi-fi uploads wherever you go, the freedom to read offline with no extra effort, portability when you travel on airplanes, bookmarking wherever you’ve left off in your reading. You wouldn’t be able to mark passages or make notes with ease. You wouldn’t be able to adjust font size to accommodate your reading environment. You wouldn’t have hours or days of battery power.

Use your Kindle to read the newspaper. You’ll be glad you did.

Related Posts:

Kindle Your Reading Habits

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #1

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #3

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #4

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