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Old 12-09-2008, 05:35 PM   #16
ShortNCuddlyAm
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I think there needs to be an indication of how long even an illustrated book is (but again, page numbers don't do that for physical books if it is heavily illustrated). Page numbers as a reference point are fine until you have more than one version of a book - and it's not always easy to work out what is being refered to. To cook up a fictitious example, if some one says "On page 49 of Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth says she wants to slap Mr Darcy" it would be fairly easy to work out where they are referring to, even if it happens to be on page 51 of your copy. However, if some-one says "Elizabeth's feelings on page 49 show she currently really dislikes Mr Darcy" but in your copy she's still fairly ambiguous in her feelings, then you might start getting confused. So in that respect, paragraph numbering within a chapter would be more convenient - and some way of checking it on the reader itself would be great.

What I would really like tosee happen is for people to lay things out in such a way as they can be read on screen or on paper with the minimum of effort. Which basically means no blasted columns.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:22 PM   #17
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Personally, the Kindle location system seems workable. The location is always the same no matter what font size you have it set to. I'm not sure how it works, but I am guess it is word number. But, I never counted the words to verify that.

BOb
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by pilotbob View Post
Personally, the Kindle location system seems workable. The location is always the same no matter what font size you have it set to. I'm not sure how it works, but I am guess it is word number. But, I never counted the words to verify that.

BOb
It works great if everyone is reading a Kindle edition, but if I want to convey a location in a book to someone that is reading paper or another format I still have to tell them the chapter and then try to get them to the passage from there.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:28 PM   #19
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It works great if everyone is reading a Kindle edition
I am saying that this would make a good "general" system. Books could be annotated with "location" numbers.

Of course, I am sure different editions would have different locations. But, that is true of pages too.

Then again, if everyone read with ebook readers that used the same system, the world would be happier than Disney World.

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Old 12-09-2008, 10:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
calibre's ebook viewer actually uses a progress indicator based on the length of the actual content (number of words), independent of reader screen size and font size.

All that's needed is for reader software makers to agree on a couple of simple algorithms:

1) Calculate the "length" of a book based on its word count
2) Assign numbers to every "block" of text. The natural block being a paragraph.
You say "word count", but you should not forget that there are languages like Japanese or Chinese, which don't use spaces (for delimiting words) and have pretty sparse punctuation.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:42 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
You say "word count", but you should not forget that there are languages like Japanese or Chinese, which don't use spaces (for delimiting words) and have pretty sparse punctuation.
Replace word with "token" Where token could even be "non space character"

Last edited by kovidgoyal; 12-09-2008 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 12-10-2008, 05:50 AM   #22
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Different editions sometimes do not have the same paragraph breaks. It's not as frequent as different pagination, but it happens nevertheless. It's especially so with translations (comparing different translations or a translation with the original), but when referring to a translation one should always specify which one.

Anyway, for referencing electronic books there is an advantage, if the reference is given as a quote, we can (or should be able to) easily search the electronic text.
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:28 PM   #23
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In the legal industry - there is a thing called 'medium neutral citation' - that was developed (with the explosion of unreported judgments available on the www ) to deal with the problem of citing precise pieces of information in court judgments. Medium neutral court judgment citation identifies text by paragraph. Reckon this is common sense for texts that don't offer some kind of accurate alternative (eg numbered sections & subsections etc).
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:14 PM   #24
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Different editions sometimes do not have the same paragraph breaks. It's not as frequent as different pagination, but it happens nevertheless. It's especially so with translations (comparing different translations or a translation with the original), but when referring to a translation one should always specify which one.

Anyway, for referencing electronic books there is an advantage, if the reference is given as a quote, we can (or should be able to) easily search the electronic text.
I'm surprised that most reading devices don't offer a search function. I agree it should be a base feature.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:19 AM   #25
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Part of me feels that there should be a better solution. I'm thinking of a combination of the way the web works with hyperlinks and tinyurl. What the solution would be, I've no idea, but I would hope that the location is converted to something short and relatively memorable.

Also, since these devices are electronic, and to a lesser or greater extent connected, it should be possible to exchange bookmarks in the sort of format neutral fashions mentioned above. I can imagine beaming (for wireless devices) or copying onto flash (for other devices) a small amount of data bypassing the need for human memory/entry.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:30 AM   #26
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Replace word with "token" Where token could even be "non space character"
For Japanese that might not be enough. The same set of say, 3 kanji characters might, depending on the rest of a sentence, be one word or two. To count the words, the program would have to be able to understand Japanese. Else it could only count single kanji, so more like letters.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:47 AM   #27
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Why does everything have to be "dead" ... CDs are "dead" because of MP3, vinyl is "dead" because of CDs, horse-drawn carriages are "dead" because of the automobile ... yet somehow it all "lives" on.

Pages will continue to exist for as long as text is being put on something static, be it paper, slabs of rock or whatever. Hence there will be page numbers.
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