Kindle as Research Tool, Revisited

As my usage of the Kindle as a research tool for this semester is winding down, I thought I’d reflect on my earlier post on the topic.  Unfortunately, I will mostly be talking about some of the negative aspects of my Kindle experience.

  • Overall, the use of the Kindle has been a success.  I’m intrigued by the new Kindles coming out, I really hope the keyboards are better; mine has been lightly used, but feels like the keys could fall off or cease to work at any moment.
  • The Kindle can sync notes and annotations between the various platforms, but it was inconsistent to the point of being worthless; only a fraction ever came across.  I used the notes on my Kindle Keyboard to do my work, when I would have rather used them in the Cloud Reader or the PC Kindle App.
  • I am disappointed with the Kindle edition of David Von Drehle’s Triangle: The Fire that Changed America.  The print edition of the book has an insert with photographs; it was completely missing from the Kindle edition.  While images are not the Kindle’s strong point at the moment, it is capable of rendering them, especially the applications on other hardware.  Also disappointing is that most Kindle books are supposed to have been given page number information that corresponds to their print editions, but Triangle did not have this; if I had had to do citations for a paper (this was for an oral report/presentation), I might have been in a bit of a pickle (although I was lucky enough to have access to the print edition).  I understand this could have been a labor intensive undertaking, but considering publishing is primarily electronic, I suspect this would have been a very simple thing to fix.
  • The Cloud Reader has no search capability. I somewhat understand that, but consider that a failure.
  • I was unable to find a platform that would allow me to do any copy and paste function; understandable from a copyright standpoint, but it’s disappointing that at least a limited amount of text couldn’t be copied. (In writing this post, I see a cumbersome workaround is available by using the Kindle website, but that assumes that your annotations actually sync)
I would use the Kindle again for research, but there are some fairly heavy issues that will hopefully be resolved. Considering that pleasure reading doesn’t really have the same demands as reading for research, I will definitely use it for that in the future (when the Kindle edition’s price is reasonable, which is a whole other conversation!).

One thought on “Kindle as Research Tool, Revisited

  1. The Kindle is a great linear reading tool, but I find it less than intuitive for research and the like. I have to be able to flip forward and back at will, often skipping large chunks of text. Several of my often used books fall open to heavily used sections almost automatically. It’s difficult for the Kindle to replicate that. At the same time, carrying my Kindle around is much, much easier than four or five reference books.

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