Originally Posted by kovidgoyal
Even more importantly, what if you want to discuss the book with someone else who is also reading it and need to refer to a certain page.
This is obviously the problem with the Sony page numbering scheme that Amazon was trying to solve. I thought of the same thing when I got my Sony 500, so I can certainly understand that a programmer might think this is a clever solution.
But once you see it in action, it's clear that the arbitrary but absolute numbering scheme the Kindle uses is just not useful in most cases.
I believe the best solution would be to have each book embed page number data so that it
decides what a "page" is. Where possible, the page number data should match the paper version of the book.
This would give you an absolute system like the Kindle (where people can share page numbers and potentially even match them to a physical paper book), and would also let it display "You are reading page 86 out of 359" which would give most people the psychological anchor that they're currently missing.
Currently many Kindle conversions of technical works include cross-references to page numbers from the printed editions, and these could be made useful if the physical book pagination could be captured and re-used.
The only downside to this scheme is that a "page" would likely consist of more than one screen's worth of data, so there would be no "page number" that would return you to the exact same Kindle screen full of text. You'd have to search through the ~3 screens worth of text or just read the whole "page". But then all the other paging schemes have similar issues in the presence of variable font size, etc.