Flash! A Kindle book with locations AND page numbers

Flash! A Kindle book with locations AND page numbers

A lot of people find it hard to adjust to the Kindle using locations rather than page numbers

I actually prefer the locations.  They are a smaller unit, and therefore a better locator. 

However, people correctly point out that it is harder for people with Kindles and people with paperbooks to find the same place in the book.  That particularly comes up with book clubs and in academic settings.

I’ve heard a lot of solutions suggested.  Here are a couple:

  • One way is to have the page number appear in the Kindle in the same place it appears in the paperbook…which might mean right in the middle of the screen
  • Another one is to have the page number appear as it does on some other EBRs (E-Book Readers)…say, at the top or the bottom.  However, since you can change the text size, that means you might be on the same page number for several screens.  I would find that confusing, personally

Well, I recently finished

Curious Folks Ask: 162 Real Answers on Amazing Inventions, Fascinating Products, and Medical Mysteries

by Sherry Seethaler

It’s the kind of book that I read a bit at a time.  I’d gotten it as a freebie some time back, and it’s been free again since then (but it’s not now).

The nice (and surprising) thing was in the back of the book. 

Apparently, they had the index from the paperbook.  This will give you the idea:

vitellogenin, 190
vitreous fluid, 146–147
voice, age–related changes to, 75–76
voltage standards, 25–26

The nice thing?

Those page numbers were hyperlinks to the same place in the e-book file!

So, that actually works quite well for me.  When I’m reading, I’m not seeing those irrelevant page numbers.   Irrelevant?  Well, as I like to say:

“How many pages does an e-book have?”

“Zero…e-books don’t have pages.”


Then, if I want to go to a particular page equivalent, I can go to the index and do that.  A publisher could easily set up a “page jump”.  They could have a table something like this:

Page Location
1 1
2 30
3 60
4 65
5 95

I just made up those numbers, by the way.  The numbers could be hyperlinks to the spot in the book.

That wouldn’t satisfy everybody, of course…it seems like nothing does.  😉 

Still, I like it.  It’s simple, and will help people transition, while still letting them communicate with people still using paper.

For books that were never on paper, we can figure a page every 250 words.  We could figure out a way to show that.

What do you think?  Would that work for you, or do you still want page numbers while you are reading?  Feel free to let me know.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

9 Responses to “Flash! A Kindle book with locations AND page numbers”

  1. Sara Says:

    I love the index idea! I’m buying a non-fiction book for my history class in a few days and it’ll be interesting to see if it has it too…

    I talked to a guy on the Kindle Team and he said that they’re working on incorporating page numbers into books! I wouldn’t be surprised if they announced this anytime soon.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Sara!

      Thanks for that information! I don’t need them personally, but if they added page numbers it would certainly clear up one of the complaints that has been around since the Kindle 1. 🙂

  2. Karin Says:

    I happen to like the locations as well. Does this mean that the Kindle will slow down to accomodate the page numbers?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Karin!

      That would depend on how it was implemented. It would slow down (and use more battery charge) if it has to be calculated and displayed on each page.

      However, with the technique the Curious Folks Ask used, or the “page jump” I suggested, there is no on the fly calculation. Similarly, if the page number was only available on demand (as a menu choice, for example), then the calculation would only occur when requested.

      The page jump and index methods do require more preparation, though.

  3. Ray Says:

    I still want page numbers. In addition to my DX, I also have a JBL. It has page numbers and does it by keeping the same number for multiple page turns depending on the type size. I find this easier to navagate than locations. It is easier to remember 1,2,or 3 digits than a location number.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Ray!

      I appreciate it being easier to remember. I am curious about when you feel like you need to remember them, though. It’s not to get back to your place in the book, since the Kindle remembers that automatically. It’s not to get back to a bookmark, highlight, or note: those are done through menus. It woud be easier when you had to tell someone else where to go in the book…that’s one reason why I like what Curious Folks Ask did.

      I think it would take me some adjusting to get used to hitting a Next Page button and seeing the same page number. Next Page is actually “Next Screen”, of course, but I can see why that wouldn’t have been clear to people who were used to reading paperbooks, which have pages.

  4. Philip E. Jackson Says:

    I may not entirely understand the problem but couldn’t you just dictate
    one of the Kindle fonts as “standard” (probably the 1st or 2nd from the left). When you were in that font pages numbers at the bottom of the Kindle screen would correspond with the written book. This would allow you to orinitate yourself with the written book and then you could change to your usual font and be within a few pages of where you want to be.
    Maybe? I’m just saying.

  5. trek Says:

    I think that this is an issue which will come up again and again and in the end, not everyone can nor will be satisfied.

    I downloaded bu thaven’t yet finished the Curious Folks Ask book but I like their implementation of the index. Hyperlinkig the references by page number make an awful lot of sense. An idea to enhance this concept even more? Put the Kindle location in parens (or curly braces?) next to the page number say:

    voltage standards, 25–26 {212-268}

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