Friday, February 15, 2013

Page numbers vs. percentage

E-books and page numbers have a long sordid history.  First, Amazon Kindle e-books only had locations, rather than pages.  This is a new unit of measurement, based on word count and characters.  I don't know exactly what one location equals, but it was how Amazon measured its Kindle books.

Well, as far as I understand it, Nook had page numbers and it became a selling point.  Amazon should have seen this coming.  We may be ready to relinquish paper, but we like our page numbers.  This is especially true for teachers who have some students using paper copies and some using e-books.  We need a way to both get on the same page, no pun intended.

So, most e-books now come with page numbers and page numbers are being added to old e-books that previously didn't have them.

One other measurement of booktime is the percentage.  At the bottom of the Kindle for PC app, you can see that a page number is given, a location number, and a percentage of completion.  See below.

I enlarged the bar at the bottom.

If you tap the screen as you are reading on the iOS (iPhone and iPad) apps, you see this:

There are mixed feelings about the percentage.  I really like it.  I never thought of page numbers when trying to determine how far I was to the end, but usually used the feeling of thickness in my right hand to determine how far I had to go.  Thick in my right hand meant I was far from the end.  Only a few pages, woohoo I am almost there.  

In my pleasure reading, or at least reading by myself, I don't really pay attention to page numbers.  Where it becomes life or death is when we are working together as a class.  I have some e-books and many paper books in the room and I have to give page numbers for students to find where we are.  

The really bugaboo comes from the public domain books.  Books in the public domain can be downloaded in e-book form for free from many different sources.  But, what page numbers with any are attached?  There are many printed versions of Jane Eyre and many e-book versions.  E-books are now getting better at publicizing which print edition their page numbers match up with.  Then we have to insure that all of our students have the right version in both paper and e form.  

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