Non-linear reading (or why the Kindle drives me nuts)

Howdy, folks! Hope everyone had a good restful Labor Day, and that you’re feeling recharged for autumn. Writing from cold, rainy NYC, it sure feels like summer headed out the door in a hurry. Of course, it will probably turn scorching and steamy again by Friday, but right now it’s one of those gray early-fall days where all you want to do is curl up in a corner with a good book—or codex,  as this insightful piece in the Sunday Times Book Review puts it.

It’s certainly thought-provoking to consider how e-readers restrict non-linear reading, and I was most excited to see Lev Grossman identify my biggest beef with the Kindle. Whenever I have an e-readers conversation with editors, we almost always agree on how great they are for reviewing submissions—I certainly don’t miss the days of dragging 300-page manuscripts home in my bag every night. But it drives me crazy that if I start reading a manuscript at my work computer, I cannot for the life of me find my place on the Kindle when I get home, no matter how many searches I try. Invariably, it’s just a long skim from “Locations 1-32” until I find the chapter where I left off—and Lord help me if I left off mid-paragraph or the document doesn’t have chapter headings!

So kudos to Grossman for pointing out this issue, and hopefully the good folks at Amazon will read the article and figure out a solution. But in the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for how to find your place more easily? Any tricks? I’d love to know—especially on a cold, wet day that’s tailor-made for dipping into a book without having to hit the Next Page button ad nauseum.

5 Responses to Non-linear reading (or why the Kindle drives me nuts)

  1. Kay Elam says:

    Get an iPad. Yes, it’s a little heavier than my Kindle, but it syncs beautifully with both my MAC and my I-Phone. I’m reading on Kindle software but I haven’t checked to see how it syncs with my device. I only use the Kindle when I’m in the sun; otherwise I use my iPad or phone. AND the iPad is backlit for reading in the dark while Hubby sleeps.

  2. Steven Davis says:

    Bookmarks? The Kindle software on my phone and PC synchronize bookmarks just fine… they also seem to bring you up in the same place in both copies.

  3. Catherine Whitney says:

    My pet peeve, too. Bookmarks don’t cut it, because you don’t always know when you’re going to want to check a detail. I like my Kindle for straight reading, but it’s a headache for research. I don’t understand why they can’t create a page numbering system that would adapt to font size changes. Or at least make it easier to scroll back by chapters.

  4. I have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and have both the Kindle and Nook apps. I read books mainly on the Nook app and it has the Bookmark feature as well as a highlight feature. Kindle app has the same IIRC. Also, when you shut the app down and start it up again it takes you back to the last bookmarked page. I love it.

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