Kindle Paging

Apparently lots of folks were annoyed by the lack of Kindle ebook displays that referenced only something called ‘locations’ rather than the page numbers of the corresponding print edition. I’m sympathetic with the notion that page numbers are a relic of now-outmoded print books, and something new and better might take their place. But ‘locations’? The percentage complete bar is nice, but instead of locations, why not just display the number of words? (E.g., 15,000 out of 120,000.) That would have been something lots of folks, at least writers and publishers, were already familiar with.

In any case Amazon has bowed to consumer demand and installed page number displays in the latest version of Kindle software, which I installed last night. It works, sorta. But you have to press the menu button in order to see the page numbers (and location numbers) for any given screen display. Otherwise is just displays the percentage complete bar. It should be an option — display them all the time, or hide until pressing Menu, etc. Should be easy to implement. Maybe next update.

4 Responses to Kindle Paging

  1. I think it’s a good first try. Doesn’t work for all, but I’m sure the numbers will grow. I can now participate – with my Kindle – with this book club I belong to.

    It should be noted that you need to make sure you have the same ebook version as the printed book.

    Can’t wait for the next updates for page numbers!

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  3. I agree that page numbers are a relic of the past in the eBook world but Amazon’s alternative was just terrible. Page numbers are crucial when you are citing a source. Amazon’s location system just wasn’t up to task because it was so proprietary. Trying to find “Location 28″ on say a Nook copy of an eBook is a difficult task.

    But, I do not blame Amazon for this. Amazon’s system works for the Kindle ecosystem. I do blame the publishing world. This sort of feature needs to be a standardized component of an eBook. It seems like nearly every aspect of a traditional book is standardized in someway…why can we not have this logical behavior extend to eBooks.

  4. Page numbers may some day be a relic of the past… but until academia agrees with you, they’ll remain necessary. There’s an increasing trend in higher education to have students read various electronic editions, but they can’t write papers and properly cite quotations (etc.) without uniform pagination.

    And the less said about the obsessions of the legal community with pagination, the better.

    My point isn’t that page numbers are here to stay; it’s that the world isn’t quite ready for them to go.