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Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Kindle Issue

Don't get me wrong, I heart my Kindle! But I was recently reading Inside of a Dog and saw that the author said she had fed her dog raisins. Since raisins are known to be toxic to dogs, I found this upsetting and actually e-mailed her (a first for me). She answered almost immediately saying that I wasn't the only one to have remarked on this and she was surprised because there was a footnote right there saying that more recently raisins had been found to be dangerous for dogs. I looked again, and the note wasn't there. Turns out that on the Kindle all notes are given at the end of the book, and since you can't flip around the way you do the pages of a book, you don't really see them until you've finished reading the whole thing. Even more problematic, because there are no page numbers, it's almost impossible to go back and find out what each of the notes refers to.

This is not going to cause me to give up my Kindle, but it seems like a technological issue that would be relatively easy to fix--Amazon, are you listening?


  1. I love my Kindle, too, but a recent purchase of a guidebook to Rome proved to me that there are some books for which Kindles are not user-friendly -- yet. The impossibility of using an index means that guidebooks and other reference-type books are not navigable with this mostly marvelous electronic device.

    I also read the brilliant A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD on my Kindle, and couldn't decipher the graphics the author used toward the end of the novel. Frustrating!

    E-readers are still a work-in-progress. One day we'll look back and laugh at how primitive they were back in the year 2011.

  2. Your posts make me wonder how scholarship will change if researchers who need page numbers for footnote/endnote citations and who use book indexes to facilitate their research process can't get this info via e-readers. That might sound incredibly stodgy, but headlines about plagiarism aren't uncommon. Making it hard or impossible to properly document sources doesn't make prevention/discovery easier.

    It also compromises the ability of later scholars to retrace the steps of those who've gone before to find the original ideas in the original text. That part isn't only about ownership, but about accurately telling the human story to those who come after us.

    While I'm on a mild technorant, there's also the need to pay for access to archived articles from certain newspapers and periodicals. It used to be that archival material was freely accessible to anyone, from scholars to ninth-graders, motivated enough to find it. Is research as we've known it going to become the province of those who can pay?

  3. Never mind kindles, I have been giving Charley, my golden retriever, raisins as snacks for the last six months. Thought I was being holistic (not biscuits nor rawhide).

    Read a great self published book titled LOVE LIKE A DOG, love story between boy and pit bull, available on Amazon, as good as THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. I am hoping a literary agent picks it up and sells it--truly special. This is the problem with Indies--how would you know about it if I hadn't told you?
    Like Kindles, still primitive, but we're working on it.