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Page Numbers vs. Locations = Decision to Buy Kindle or Not

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Initial post: Oct 6, 2010 12:05:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 7, 2010 12:29:31 PM PDT
T.E. Smith says:
Kindle's use of "locations" instead of actual page numbers is really bothering me.

I am currently buying Kindle eBooks to read on my computer to start off. And I discovered that there are no page numbers on Kindle books, just "locations". What the heck??? Why???

I am a huge tech fan and consumer. And I would like to purchase the Kindle device and tell everyone to buy one, but the lack of simple, fundamental page numbers in the books is going to be the deciding and breaking factor for me to buy one or not.

Dear Amazon and Jeff Bezos,

Please simplify things and give ebooks normal page numbers. With locations, we have to do math calculations to find a reference page or citations.

** This is not really user "intuitive" and takes away from the user experience of ease and enjoyment.

This is why Apple products have been so successful. Everything is simple, intuitive and easy to use, so that the user can focus on the content.

If you do not want to give books simple page numbers, then I will be buying a new Nook or iPad instead. I just want simplicity and ease of use.

I have been a big fan of Amazon and Jeff Bezos, but this feature of the Kindle has been a big disappointment. Please consider customers' input.


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2010 12:15:33 PM PDT
Sylvie B. says:
The reason is since you can change the font size, the "page" number couldn't be the same. That's why they use locations instead.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:17:58 PM PDT
Bixillarla says:
Which book would you base the numbers off the hardback or the paperback how about the mass paperback or the first print? What if the Ebook had no print book how would you determine page numbers?

Then you come to the Kindle with the various formatting such as 7 point this may show more on the kindle page than the actual book and how about the 40 point size that shows a few words, how would you do page numbers for that?

Page numbers on a ereader does not make sense, there are too many variables ranging from which paper edition to use to the the adjustable font sizes and page formatting features on the Kindle.

Locations are the answer, the location is the same no matter what font size and page formatting you use.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:18:40 PM PDT
Well, it's like this. The Kindle allows you to chose the font size for the page-also the number of words per line and the line spacing. Page numbers work when you have fixed pages. Note that the page numbers in a hardcover will not match the page numbers in a paperback if the books are different sizes and have different fonts. So, when you can change all of the parameters of the page layout with a simple click, page numbers become irrelevant. The only time it matters is if you are in a class for example, that uses dead tree books and the teacher assigns reading by pages. Then you have a problem.

For general reading it is no big deal. The locations are place markers that are measured in character increments. There is also a scale on the bottom of the screen that shows the progress in the book. Finally, many books have a table of contents that you can go to and click on a particular chapter.

So page numbers are not all that important in an e-reader like Kindle.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2010 12:19:13 PM PDT
Malachi says:
What does a 'page number' mean with regard to an ebook? It doesn't mean anything at all. As the previous poster has already stated, changing the font size changes the number of 'pages'.

You could probably force it to match up with a printed version, but which printed version? The hardback? The paperback?

Locations are actually more expressive than simple page numbers.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:20:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2010 12:24:11 PM PDT
I'm pretty sure you won't get regular pages on the Nook or iPad either...
The locations take some getting used to, but I actually find it easier now then page numbers. If you want to reference a specific quote for example, you can now just name the location instead of page#, line or paragraph#

Here's hoping you'll give the kindle a change. Before I got my kindle I WAS worried about the page numbers/collections too. Now, they are just one of the many things that make me love my Kindle. Don't forget, if you do order a Kindle you've got 30 days to try it, if you don't like it in the end you can still return it.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:22:54 PM PDT
Cathy R. says:
If you're just trying to get a general sense of how long the book is, just divide the locations by 10 (ignore the last digit). This gives a rough (though a bit high) estimate of the number of pages.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:38:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 7, 2010 12:31:15 PM PDT
T.E. Smith says:
I just spoke to Apple and Barnes & Nobles reps. Both the iPad and Nook give users normal page numbers. It's a no-brainer.

Kindle "locations number" to find your place as you're reading or for citation (for example, my location for a Kindle nutrition book I'm reading, is 4,503-4, versus page 235) is an absolute epic fail!!

Amazon, why have you made the user experience more complicated than seriously necessary???

When I spoke to the Apple rep, and asked do the books on the iPad have page numbers? He said, "Yep." Sold.

I am no longer going to buy anymore Kindle ebooks until Amazon and Jeff Bezos listens to customer's experience and just simplifies this bad idea of "location numbers". Maybe on paper "location numbers" may have been a more efficient Tech idea, but in actual use for us customers, it is horrible.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:41:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2010 12:46:28 PM PDT
rackoflamb says:
Why can't Amazon come up with a simple option to display locations divided by 15 as rough "page numbers"?

I liken it to the difference between 12-hour time and 24-hour time. Yes, you can convert from one to another with simple arithmetic but people are used processing the info displayed in a certain way.

[Edit: I do understand that rough "page numbers" would be useless for cross-referencing, and would not relate to the page count of any actual physical book.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2010 12:43:24 PM PDT
T.E. Smith says:
The Nook and iPad has actual page numbers. The font size has not affected the page number. It's really, really that simple.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:45:00 PM PDT
Apple and B&N may call them page numbers, but they don't map to the physical book. They just call their number a page number. When you see "location", just think "small page". Problem solved.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2010 12:45:36 PM PDT
Papi says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:46:07 PM PDT
I totally agree. I understand you can change font etc. etc. but if they are going to change that give us a way to CITE it. PLEASE. I am a university student and I have no way to cite these texts, did I just waste $200.00? Please somebody come up with citations, at least.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:46:08 PM PDT
Renee says:
umm.. sorry, I am also a kindle customer and don't find locations horrible. And I am not a "techie." I haven't found them a problem at all. So please don't express your opinion as if you're speaking for all customers. Maybe you think it would be horrible, but that's your own opinion. That's why I'm glad that there are several choices out there for e-readers; although the i-pad is not an e-reader, but a tablet. To me, to use the i-pad as an e-reader seems like it would be horrible. But to you, that's not true. See how that works?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2010 12:49:05 PM PDT
Carbonbased says:
So, how do the pages in the iBook work? Say Chapter 6 begins on page 60 in one font size, what happens when you double the font size?

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:49:57 PM PDT
T.E. - No it's not that easy. However, I understand your initial displeasure as I also was perplexed by this. Over time, I have realized that page numbers and locations work the same way. Each let you know how far along in a book you are. You DO get used to it.

I disagree that it's that easy to accomplish your request though. If I increase my font size, the number of words on my kindle "page" decreases thus changing/increasing the total number of "pages" in the ebook.

I'm not sure how iPad and Nook could work around this. Sorry, I understand your frustration but still disagree with you.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2010 12:50:21 PM PDT
@ T.E. Smith, it really, really, isn't that simple. I read my Kindle with the second smallest font. My husband reads with the third largest. There are now eight font sizes. His page eight is only a few "pages" into any edition of a paper version of the books, whereas mine is many more -- more than where page eight would be in a paper version. However, if he tells me he's at location 121, I'll easily be able to find where he is.

Until you've used an ereader with changeable font sizes, you won't understand.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2010 12:50:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2010 12:58:28 PM PDT
Paxton says:
T.E. Smith - buy an iPad. You will be much happier, and the logic of locations need not be explained.

And when you buy that iPad and are writing a term paper, could you show us an example of the reference note you would put in a footnote? Would it be something like,
"Book XYZ, by Smith, John. Page 421 on the iPad, using font #8 with line spacing of ALT-3"?

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:51:07 PM PDT
rackoflamb says:
Another possibility (this one requires a lot of cooperation from publishers, and may not be feasible right now): Reader pays $0.25 extra to have their ebook display page breaks equivalent to their choice of physical book - hardcover, paperpack, etc.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:51:19 PM PDT
Cathy R. says:
I guess I just don't know why you need a made-up, arbitrary number (page numbers). What do you want to happen if you make the text bigger? Suddenly what was on page 100 is now on page 140? If so, those numbers are useless and arbitrary (you wouldn't be able to tell another kindle reader to go to a certain page because they might have a different font size or line spacing). OR, the other alternative which they do on some devices, is you're on, say, page 10, you go to the next "page" (click the next page button), it's still page 10 (because all of that text is on page 10 in the printed book). Then you go to the next "page" and it will say something like "10-11" because some of that text is on page 10 in the printed book and some is on page 11. That seems bizarre to me, and no better than Amazon's solution of locations.

All the people who want page numbers, I want to know if you've actually read a book on a device WITH page numbers, and how you liked it. There is no perfect, simple, elegant solution. An iPad rep telling you they have page numbers means nothing if they implement it in a strange way.

T.E., you say you want page numbers to "find your as you're reading". I'm not sure what you want. To find your place? The kindle remembers where you left off reading in every book. To be able to go back and find something? Kindle does a great job with bookmarks and notes to find things. What exactly do you want page number for?

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:51:22 PM PDT
Coach D says:
T.E. Smith,

Man, I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill on this page number issue. As a new kindle owner I am having no problems dealing with locations. The kindle remembers where I left off and I like the % read indicator on the lower left of the kindle. Do the Nook and the I Pad have adjustable fonts? With the Ipad the screen is backlit so you are getting what you are seeing: reading off a computer screen. Think of the glare and the effect on your eyes after a long reading session.

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:51:50 PM PDT
Mr. Fixit says:
I personally do not think it is a problem unless you need to refer to a specific page # for a class. The page # is there to help you find your place. As long as I can use it to refer back to a place I am happy regardless of what it is called.

I was much more concerned about usability, book selection, battery life and pricing than page numbers vs locations. On every count that mattered the kindle imo easily beat out the competition on every aspect that really counted.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2010 12:52:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2010 12:56:17 PM PDT
@ Jade, you cite the location -- that has already been established. I'm sorry, I don't have the link for you; perhaps I can search and pull it up for you. I'll come back and edit to add it here if I do.

Edit: The second post in this thread is helpful:

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 12:52:41 PM PDT
If lack of page numbers is the only thing preventing the OP from buying the Kindle, I'm surprised he/she is moving in the direction of technology at all. Once I understood the location idea when I first bought my Kindle, it was the simplest thing in the world to make the transition. When I'm reading a 1200 page hardbound book, that's a very long book. When I'm reading a 19,000 location book on my Kindle, that's a very long book. That's pretty much all I have to know. Why anyone could possibly want page numbers (especially in a non-research context) is beyond me. Read the book until you're finished with it, and then stop.
I can just hear the OP if he/she lived when mankind was making the switch from parchment scrolls to bound books: "What do you mean 'page numbers'? What's a page number!? That's a ridiculous notion. The 'Epic of Gilgamesh' is on seventeen scrolls. I'm familiar with that. This page number stuff is absurd. I'm going back to parchment, and when Gutenberg comes to his senses, I might consider buying one of his so-called books."

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2010 12:53:20 PM PDT
T.E. Smith says:
It does not matter whether the page numbers are based off of the hardback or paperback. The publishers can decide what is best for their reader. Or they can flip a coin. If the eBook has no hard copy or paper print, they can still create page numbers. I have read plenty of "no-print" publications. They ALL still have page numbers.

In terms of various font sizes, the Nook and iPad, have tackled this factor EFFORTLESSLY. Each ebook has regular, simple finite page numbers -- whether you are reading it at large or small font sizes. No problem.

My problem with Kindle is that, when I'm reading a nutrition book, cook book, anatomy book, yoga, fiction, tech book, etc., I will have to find location # 4,471-90, rather than just flip to find page 192. (I'm looking at my Kindle book right now and feel completely frustrated.)
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  306
Total posts:  1235
Initial post:  Oct 6, 2010
Latest post:  10 days ago

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