Wulf's Webden

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I have now finished several books on my Kindle and am at various stages with numerous others. This “eReading” is distinctly different to engaging with the written word in printed form. Some things are advantageous, such as the fact an eBook has the same light weight no matter how many volumes it contains, but others could do with some tweaks.

The deficiency that most stands out to me is a lack of context to the stream of words. There is a bar along the bottom that shows how far through a book you have reached. In theory it should also show chapter markings but actual implementation of this seems very patchy, even in books sold by Amazon let alone classics freely downloaded from sites like Project Gutenberg.

That is a shame because, with dead-tree books, I often flick forward a few pages to establish if there is a convenient break to read to. I wish there were some way of zooming out to get an overview of where I sit in the stream of the text and to have the option of moving across the page to jump around. That could also be applied to searches: it is fantastic being able to look up any word in the text but would be greatly enhanced if it was possible to see how those results are clustered through the text rather than rely on “locations” (which, for the time being, are still too unfamiliar to be useful markers).

There is a lot of value in context which lets you scan through a large body of information and I think eReaders (and other digital information devices, such as satnavs) have some way still to go in exploiting that.

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