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No page numbers?

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Showing 1-25 of 127 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 2, 2009 3:06:18 PM PST
sr says:
We've owned the Kindle latest generation for about a month and really enjoy it, it's a great reading device.

The only thing which we don't care for is that when we're reading books, other than no internal light for night reading, is that the e-books no longer have page numbers, there's just something not right about that.

Yes, there's location numbers to use as markers, as well as bookmarks, to say nothing about the percentage of the book read in the lower left corner, but it's just bothersome not to have page numbers in the display.

Anyone else find this somewhat off putting?

Posted on Dec 2, 2009 3:18:48 PM PST
LynnL says:
You get used to it.

There's no way to use absolute page numbers on a device where you can change the font. The page number would change every time you changed the font, making it meaningless. Locations stay consistent no matter what size you have set the font. And the percentage marker lets you know how far along you are in the book, which to me is the most important thing.

(And an "internal light" wouldn't work with e-ink -- it's opaque, like paper.)

Posted on Dec 2, 2009 3:26:14 PM PST
Bufo Calvin says:
sr, I greatly prefer the location system, personally. There are no pages, of course...only screens. The content on the screen varies, depending on the text size used. The location is constant, and actually measures a smaller amount of the book than a page.

When you are reading an unconverted pdf, it does show you page numbers...since you can't change the text size.

Some e-books do end up showing you the page numbers from the paperbook, but the page number may be in the middle of the screen or even in the middle of a sentence.

I understand that it's kind of a hard adjustment for some people.

You may find this thread helpful:

(Amazon thread relevant to the discussion)

Bufo Calvin
Amazon Author Central page:

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 12:09:05 AM PST
You know, maybe Amazon should just have an option buried away somewhere to turn on "page numbers," one to a "page," at whatever font settings you have. We could just direct people complaining about it there, and let them discover for themselves how the whole concept is meaningless on an e-book.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2009 1:12:12 AM PST
Mary Lotshaw says:
I think it mint useful to people that own book on kindle and the book. but I don't find it bothersome that it does not. I got use to it. because i can't own book (allergy) I could use that page number to locate something important for book club.It would allow that own book read with kindle read and know where they are.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 1:33:52 AM PST
I quickly adapted to not having page numbers.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 2:49:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 3, 2009 2:49:51 AM PST
Paxton says:
sr - an external option for night reading is the Mighty Bright Black TravelFlex LED Book Light (or the silver version) which is quite bright and a handy accessory.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2009 4:12:34 AM PST
Pammy says:
Agree with the page number. Also, a back light would be useful. Would love to be able to download other screen savers as well!

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 4:39:56 AM PST
Page numbers to a kindle are like a buggy whip holder on an automobile.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 4:54:09 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 3, 2009 4:54:48 AM PST
Norwenna says:
I didn't have to get used to the lack of page numbers on the Kindle. With ordinary books, I've always mentally converted page numbers into percentages anyway - now with the Kindle, I don't have to convert.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2009 5:53:05 AM PST
J. Gatie says:
Page numbers and backlights are impossible. Page numbers are font dependent and would mean nothing on a variable font device, and e-ink screens are opaque, so any backlighting would not be able to shine through.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 11:22:02 AM PST
sr says:
Thanks for the feedback. No page numbers is just something we're going to have to deal with, just something to adapt to, it doesn't retract from the great experience the Kindle provides.

The 'back light' would be nice, I understand why it's not possible, it's just it would have been a nice feature, but again, not really a major issue.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 11:51:28 AM PST
S. Dunham says:
the other issue, forget for a moment that we all know you can't backlite a eInk screen, but reading from a backlit screen for longer periods of time causes eye fatigue. it may or may not 'bother' a person, but staring at a light does fatigue the eyes. Just ask someone that sits a a computer screen all day. Same thing. I had been reading on my laptop more often before I got my Kindle. What a difference it made not having the backlite. The other thing was that the Sony 700 had a built in book light. It caused so much glare that a lot of people didn't like it. So it's not on any models since that time. It was kind of weird not having page numbers at first, but I don't even notice them anymore.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 12:00:20 PM PST
MeganB says:
If you want to be able to find a page later, just add bookmarks! It is a bit difficult to go back to a certain section of a book without a page number. This is one of the reasons that this device should not be used for textbooks were you need to go back and reference certain pages. In physical books you can visually see how far through the book you are, making it easier to locate information.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 12:11:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 3, 2009 12:13:56 PM PST
Aikane Kai says:
I really don't think page numbers would have been all that difficult to implement, and I'm disappointed no one seemed think of it or to think it was a good idea.

First set your baseline as to what constitutes a page, then indicate it plus the offset on the screen.
If you base a page on a kindle font size 1, then any larger font would display the pages as 'page: 123a' or 'page: 123c'. The user should then have the option to choose whether to break the display at the end of a page or to flow the next page onto the same screen. If we choose option two, the page display could be something similar to: 'page: 123c - 124a'. The kindle could even be set to show a faint dotted line between pages if desired.

All this does is ensure that fellow kindle readers will be able to reference the same general area in a book as we can today, but in a much friendlier way than the locations currently do. It means far more to me to tell someone I'm on page 172 than to say I'm at location 177-78.

The other way I can think of to set the baseline as to what constitutes a page, is to base it on the original published DTB. In that way referencing a page number actually means something to kindle readers and to readers of the DTB. Apply the same options as above and I don't see any real issues. This has the added advantage of allowing indices to work.

Am I missing something obvious as to why this wouldn't have worked?

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 12:28:45 PM PST
Jwb52z says:
2x, the answer is that page numbers are MEANINGLESS in a variable font format of a non-physical book. They are a convention that ebooks can do without if everyone would just get used to it. Locations are stable no matter what.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2009 12:29:47 PM PST
ShirleyKat says:
<<The 'back light' would be nice, I understand why it's not possible, it's just it would have been a nice feature, but again, not really a major issue.>>

If you want a backlight, the solution is a notebook or tablet computer. There is no harm in choosing LCD technology over e-ink if your eyes are OK with that. Both can be e-readers.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2009 12:35:32 PM PST
Brent says:
2x: I think our point is that, while Amazon could have put (essentially arbitrary) page numbers into the Kindle, why do so? What's inherently "much friendlier" about page numbers?

Having "hybrid page numbers" like you suggest would introduce confusion from folks wondering why the page numbers on their Kindle don't match the page number in the book. The further you get into a book, the further the page numbers will diverge from a published edition's page numbers.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2009 12:53:44 PM PST
ShirleyKat says:
2x, I have a book in which the DTB page numbers are embedded in the text. They appear as [Page 29] wherever that page break occurs. Most of the time they are between words, but sometimes they appear in the middle of a word. If publishers wanted to do that, they could. People who NEED page numbers that match an actual book could have them. It would be nice if they could be turned on and off so you were not burdened with them if you didn't need them.

This would be an extra burden to publishers when setting up an e-book. If you've looked up popular books, you know they come in many versions - original hardback, several varieties of paperbacks, and textbooks come in different editions. So unless you want 5 or 6 numbers for each page embedded throughout a book. . . well I think you get the idea.

The solution is for everyone to start using something like a location number for electronic books and for universities and professional groups to include location numbers as part of the allowable forms of citation. Once people stop reading paper and use only e-readers (devices or computer applications) everyone will get used to location numbers and ask "what's a page number?"

That isn't going to happen.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 1:09:28 PM PST
J. Gatie says:
Was there this much clamor when cars started to replace the horse and buggy? I can imagine chain letters flitting about the country complaining "where's my reins" and "what's with that wheel thing." ;-)

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 3:03:26 PM PST
Page numbers are not meaningless. They could give have given us a simple option ... just have the software count 250 words/page. Voila you have page numbers. And, even though they don't match the original book, so what? Locations don't either.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2009 3:06:53 PM PST
Meemo says:
"Page numbers are font dependent and would mean nothing on a variable font device"

Not really - the Sony readers show page numbers. The numbers change when you change the font size. So clearly it can be done. Funny thing though - I've gotten so accustomed to watching my progress bar on my K1, I find the page numbers a bit annoying now on my recently purchased Sony - I have to do the math!

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 3:22:23 PM PST
I'd like to add that if you want page numbers to reference a text for school, you have to have the exact edition the professor is using. Even if the ebook you have has the page numbers embedded [Page 34] so you can reference it, you have to know that you have the edition the professor has. Page 34 on one edition may not be page 34 on another. Another thing is that when you're assigned a certain problem on page [whatever], it's sometimes hard to find because your version is not the same as the professor's. That's why I don't think the Kindle (or any other eReader) is ready for college studies quite yet. Hopefully, there will be a way to work this out, but in the meantime, I buy the books that are required for the course.

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 4:41:49 PM PST
QueenTess says:
"the Sony readers show page numbers. The numbers change when you change the font size. So clearly it can be done."

The only reason I would want page numbers is to reference a specific location in a book, which is what the Kindle Location allows me to do. By changing the pages every time the font changes, it becomes a completely worthless system.

For example, I tend to read on font size 2 in full sunlight, and font size 3 in lower light situations. So on the Sony, each time I switch fonts it recalculates the page numbers and I could go from page 300 to page 350 just by changing the font? And then when I start reading the next day and make the font smaller, then I find I'm on page 320? That's just weird. How do you judge book progress like that? Locations and percentage is much better.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2009 4:45:55 PM PST
QueenTess says:
"I'd like to add that if you want page numbers to reference a text for school, you have to have the exact edition the professor is using."

?? Not in any class I've ever taken. In the References you just have to notate which specific edition of the book you used, that way the professor can find the quote if he/she wants to. Because ebooks are so new, individual professor's reactions to them are different. I've had some professors that require the pbook page number, but some have allowed me to use the Kindle location number for citation purposes. Instead of putting (p. 34) I instead put (loc. 103), and in my References I notate that I used the Kindle edition and the exact date it was published (as ebook files do change).
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  43
Total posts:  127
Initial post:  Dec 2, 2009
Latest post:  Mar 7, 2013

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