Top positive review
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Excellent electronic version of an excellent book
on November 7, 2012
Note: this review is for the Kindle version of this book (which I'll call PASNA).
I already owned the hardcover version of PASNA when I bought the kindle version for my iPad. The book is excellent. It uses photos, rather than painted illustrations. Photos can be problematical since they show an instantaneous view of a single bird while a bird can look different depending on its age, molt, the lighting conditions, etc. PASNA largely overcomes this problem by using multiple photos. The photos are used to compare the appearance of a particular species under different lighting conditions and to compare different species so the differences can be shown.
One problem with the hardcover book is that it is rather big, heavy and expensive to use on a boat (which, after all, is the best place to observe the seabirds which are the subject of this book). I was happy to see a Kindle version of the book was available. My iPad is smaller and lighter than the hardcover version of PASNA itself and I can view other books on the same iPad without it becoming any bigger and heavier. All that wouldn't be much help if the Kindle version of the book wasn't any good. Fortunately, the Kindle version works very nicely on the iPad. If you want to look up a particular species, just go to the TABLE OF CONTENTS, touch 'List of Species Covered'. then touch the name of the species of interest. The photos and range maps are embedded within the species accounts. This works out much better for an electronic book than the arrangement where the species accounts, the illustrations and the range maps are grouped separately. Since this book is quite recent, perhaps the author and publisher planned from the beginning how to make the book work in an electronic version.
The resolution of the photos is adequate, but iPad users may be spoiled by the superb views of higher resolution photos they are used to on the wonderfully sharp iPad display. it is easy to magnify the PASNA photos on iPad by double-tapping on them. When the photos are magnified, they look a bit blurry. I have had access to some of the original photos used in PASNA, and it is a bit disappointing to see the same photos as they appear in the Kindle version on iPad. Still, the photos are sharp enough for their intended use.
I highly recommend either the paper or electronic versions of this book. The Kindle version is by far the best electronic version of a field guide for birds that I have ever used.