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Customer Review

26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Kindle Edition is Dreadful, February 2, 2014
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This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2014 (Kindle Edition)
I'm relatively new to the Kindle platform, so it's possible that there might be ways to address some of the issues I have with the Kindle edition of BP2014. I also recognize that to match the experience of print with a title that features a variety of data presentation formats (text, various exhibits, tables, etc.) in a book that is probably more "random access reference" than it is "regular read" is asking for a lot.

Despite lowered expectations, however, the BP2014 Kindle edition still manages to underwhelm. Specific complaints from this Kindle Fire HD reader:

1) The basic player presentations, at first glance, are fine -- each player starts on a new "page" followed by their statistical chart and the commentary. But then you look at the statistical chart -- most players have 3-4 years of data to present, and this is presented broken down across three separate tables to accommodate the width limitations in portrait format. It's awful for anyone who is accustomed to any form of "normal" baseball statistics presentation, including BP's annual. And forget about flipping into landscape mode to overcome it -- the three tables are hardwired. (This is where my limited Kindle knowledge kicks in -- I have no idea what the "right" answer is, but I can tell you what was done isn't it.)

2) The "go to..." index is limited to the major articles (fine) and the team articles. Which means that to locate a specific player requires that you go to the team article and then page like mad to get to where you want to be. If you're looking for Matt Adams of the Cardinals, it's not too bad (he's the first hitter following the team article), but if it's Adam Wainwright (at the end of the pitchers, who are after all the batters), it's not so swift. And sure, I could go to the FOLLOWING team and work backwards, which is a wonderfully intuitive approach, isn't it, and there's still the "Line Drives" section to page back through. Which leads to...

3) The "Line Drives" presentation is just a mess -- bullets showing up intermingled with hanging text from the previous item, spaced randomly and unreadably. Yuck.

In general, it looks like a real slapdash job -- for instance, the index issue could have been fixed with just a bit of extra effort -- too much to ask that every player be given an entry? Fine. At least break each team down one layer into "Batters," "Pitchers," and "Line Drives."

I'm about a month and a half away from access to a hard copy version, so I'm probably going to have to grin and bear it, but I don't recommend it to you.

As far as the content within goes, it's up to BP's usual fine quality and insight. The team articles in particular have benefited by the wide range of authors responsible.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 3, 2014 8:00:54 AM PST
Eric Nelson says:
For the index problem, did you try going to the actual index? If you click on a player there, it takes your directly to that player. (And you don't have to know what team he's on to do it!) I also prefer the printed book to the ebook, but pretty much every book with a lot of tables looks worse on a tablet. At least the tables look a little better this year, even if there's no clear way to format them better.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2014 12:52:43 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 8, 2014 1:52:48 PM PST
Bret Hern says:
Yes, and agreed that the "real" index is at least an option. However -- and I don't think I'm that far outside the normal BP purchaser profile -- (a) I *do* know what teams the players of interest are on, so going to the index each time requires that I change my thought process (that sound you just heard was several decades of carefully stacked pottery crashing to the ground), and (b) using the index isn't helpful for roughly half of the alphabet. There are 67 "pages" (on my Kindle Fire HD in portrait mode) in the index. So, if I want to see, say, Will Venable, I've got about 60 pages to tap through to get to his index entry. From the team entry? 57. Whee!

As I noted, I expected to see *some* drop in the user experience and the stat tables were where I expected it most. However, I'm disappointed that there wasn't some sort of accommodation made for tablets that can operate in landscape mode to present the data using the additional width available.

(Just curious -- did you see the same mess in the "Line Drives" section for each team that I described? Or is that an oddity on my device?)

Thanks for taking the time to respond -- I was really hopeful this would be a better product, because I've pretty much moved to digital formats for all of my reading and listening consumption, and would welcome having my annual baseball fixes at my disposal wherever I go, but this needs some work.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2014 3:32:01 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 5, 2014 3:32:45 PM PST
Eric Nelson says:
The problem with Kindle is that it's the same file on the iPad as on the iPhone as on the e-ink Kindle as on a Kindle tablet. So no one with a tablet likes the ebook. They are made for fit the worst device, not the best. Some day, someone will reliably sell PDFs, but that day is not today. And yes, the Line Drives section is weirdly spaced at every font size but one.

Posted on Feb 8, 2014 9:56:49 AM PST
JBB says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2014 1:50:54 PM PST
Bret Hern says:
Or you could use your eyes AND your head. The review is for (and I quote): "Baseball Prospectus 2014 (Kindle Edition)." The Kindle Edition has some significant problems which I attempted to make plain, starting with the title of the review.

As a regular purchaser of BP's annuals, I would have welcomed a review like mine before I opted to purchase the Kindle edition so I could devour it sooner. The formatting issues on the Kindle are such that they take 5-star content and make it worth 1 star. Your mileage may vary, but if you've not seen it, then, you really don't have anything to add to the discussion, do you?

Posted on Feb 10, 2014 7:54:59 AM PST
T. Bottorff says:
Hello Bret,

Thank you for your comments for our Kindle edition of Baseball Prospectus and for providing ways to improve the ebook. We have sent your concerns to our design team and have made changes accordingly. The new Kindle ebook should now be available on your device.

1) For the tables, due to Kindle's limitations, we are unable to place all the content in one single table. Breaking it up provides for better user-end readability for the Mobi edition.
2) The index in the back of the book should be able to assist you in locating the players you are seeking.
3) We have reformatted the Line Drives section for a much cleaner view. Please let us know if you are able to see this reformatting in your Kindle now.

I hope that the new version will prove satisfactory. If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Best,

Christina
Turner Publishing Company (Wiley imprint)
www.turnerpublishing.com

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2014 12:24:08 PM PST
Bret Hern says:
Dear Christina,

First, let me thank you for taking the time to provide your insight and your team's response to my review. I do appreciate it greatly.

Unfortunately, nothing seems to have changed with regard to the Lineouts (Line Drives? Sorry, I didn't catch my error in the original review) presentation on my device. I've deleted it from my device and re-downloaded it, so I'm pretty sure I have the latest and greatest, but in any event it still looks the same. If there is a specific font/size recommendation you have to at least see the improvements, I'd be glad to try it out.

As far as the remaining points, at the risk of seeming greedy, I would sure appreciate a second look at the ToC/Go To... indexing to consider sub-team breakdowns as I suggested ("Batters," "Pitchers," "Lineouts", etc.). That would alleviate much of the paging pain I mentioned. Yes, the index in the back does obviously help some, but the subsections I suggest would be even more routinely helpful.

I do appreciate the cross-platform limitations you're working under, even as I am at the same time surprised by them.

Once again, thank you for your attention, and I'll be happy to wait for the mail to deliver my 2015 Baseball Prospectus.

Warmest regards,

Bret

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2014 7:48:39 AM PST
James Bray says:
To find a player, I use the search/find function and type the name (just the first or last name if it is unique enough). It will usually only bring up a handful of results, one obviously being the player capsule. The benefit is you will also quickly see if there are any useful nuggets elsewhere, like the team capsule or a top prospect list. I find it's just as fast as looking up the entries in the index in the physical book and in some respects better because of that ability to see some context with each result.

I agree that the tables and line outs are not very functional, but again, this is primarily a limit of the format. The only suggestion that I can make it is maybe to make each of them a picture, then you click on the picture and it opens up full screen - though it would have to open up landscape to be readable. That might make the size of the book too unwieldy though, considering the volume of pictures it would require.
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Bret Hern
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Location: Houston, TX United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,678,077