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Old 01-28-2010, 01:22 AM   #1
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Annotation / note-taking on kindle?

I am thinking about buying a Kindle (2 or DX) for my hubby.

It needs to be a Kindle for him because he only ever buys pbooks from Amazon and he would want a device where he buys books and they just "appear" as it were.

But he'd also want to be able to do some note-taking for non-fiction books.

Can the Kindle handle this well? Any thoughts / experience appreciated.
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Old 01-28-2010, 04:15 AM   #2
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[QUOTE=poshm;760107]I am thinking about buying a Kindle (2 or DX) for my hubby.

Note taking and highlighting on Kindle has been discussed several times around these forums.

Here's a little round up and my personal opinions:

1. You can (1) highlight, (2) take notes and (3) bookmark pages on ebooks in, well, ebook formats readable by Kindle (.mobi and the like)

2. On PDFs, you can only bookmark pages

Kindle doesn't feature touch screen (finger or stylus), so you basically navigate through the ebook page with the little joystick and then:
a) press it, move left or right, press again, to highlight
b) start typing on the keyboard to take the note

Does it do the job? I have Kindle DX, and it works well for me. Yes, the keyboard is not too ergonomic, and maybe the navigation through the page (viz. point to the point you want to highlight or take the note on) would be faster on a touch screen, but there are advantages to it:

1. finger touch screen would have a lot of fingerprints, and given that e-ink is as close as it gets to real paper, but not actually there yet, I would get frustrated with a dirty screen; plus, who knows how precise it would be to point the exact desired position, bringing about additional frustration of re-tapping;

2. stylus touch screen would require you to keep the stylus in or at your hand, so it would be somewhat unpractical;

3. freehand notes and sketches (basically stored as pictures, like in Irex’s way) would look more intuitive, but with Kindle you actually get your highlighted texts and notes in digital text format, so, say, when you connect the Kindle to your PC, you can download them in .txt format, which is great if you want to store, extend and elaborate more the notes in a word processor.

All in all, given the above considerations and all the necessary compromises that had to be made, I think Kindle got it right!

I only am sad that it doesn't work with PDFs (as I am a voracious PDF scientific article reader).
With such capabilities on PDFs, there would really be very few issues left (mainly PDF zoom&pan) from stopping me warmly recommending DX to all the scholars and academics (as myself) whose job or (and) pleasure is to read 10+ scientific articles per week.

And I stand by than even in this new iPad world we seem to be living in now!

Take care.

Last edited by johndoesecond; 02-05-2010 at 04:27 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 01-28-2010, 04:28 AM   #3
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Excellent thank you, k to you

I wondered how well the keyboard worked, think it may do the job. Shame about the .PDFs but you can never have everything!
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poshm View Post
I am thinking about buying a Kindle (2 or DX) for my hubby.

It needs to be a Kindle for him because he only ever buys pbooks from Amazon and he would want a device where he buys books and they just "appear" as it were.

But he'd also want to be able to do some note-taking for non-fiction books.

Can the Kindle handle this well? Any thoughts / experience appreciated.
I have a K2 and I'm constantly taking notes and highlighting. All the highlighted passages and notes are stored in a text file named "My Clippings" that can be uploaded to a PC via USB connection. In addition, Amazon keeps a record of all annotations I've made in books bought from them. These notes and highlights are available for download at any time from the Amazon website.

The keyboard buttons, although tiny, are very useful. The Kindle's excellent note-taking and text-copying functions are two of my favorite things about the device.

One caveat: Occasionally an author or publisher will request that the text-copying function for their book be disabled. It's rare, but I've run into at least one ebook that wouldn't allow copying of any of the text (A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking).
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:43 AM   #5
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Even better, I didn't realise Amazon also kept a record of the annotations for you. I knew they kept your books so you can re-download at any point. The Kindle is sounding more and more promising for what Hubs would need.

Now shall I wait and see if they reduce the price anytime soon?
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:17 PM   #6
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I don't think they will reduce the price so soon. Look at the other thread it was just a mistake when somebody mixed the prices up with "used" kindle offers starting at 399$.

In my opinion they don't have the urge to lower the price cause the iPad with 3G cost much more then the Kindle DX and they will probably wait how the apple gadget sells itself after all the criticiscm it gets at the moment.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:03 PM   #7
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Note Taking on Kindle

I am researching the note taking capabilities of e-reader devices. The Amazon Kindle is perhaps one of the better devices for highlighting and annotations, but caveat emptor! At best, the note taking functionality is cumbersome. It's fine for occasional highlights or notes. The notes are not part of the text, like students would write in the margins. Also the fact that one has to manipulate the cursor to highlight makes it time consuming, which greatly slows down the reading process. Reading large texts can become frustrating if you were constantly highlighting or annotating. I would say that on a very limited basis, the functionality is usable. There has been little widespread adoption of any e-reader device by students because of the cumbersome nature of annotating texts. To date, no other device has addressed this issue, so in the land of the blind, the Kindle is the one eyed king.
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Old 05-25-2010, 09:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mptmobilereade View Post
I am researching the note taking capabilities of e-reader devices. The Amazon Kindle is perhaps one of the better devices for highlighting and annotations, but caveat emptor! At best, the note taking functionality is cumbersome. It's fine for occasional highlights or notes. The notes are not part of the text, like students would write in the margins. Also the fact that one has to manipulate the cursor to highlight makes it time consuming, which greatly slows down the reading process. Reading large texts can become frustrating if you were constantly highlighting or annotating. I would say that on a very limited basis, the functionality is usable. There has been little widespread adoption of any e-reader device by students because of the cumbersome nature of annotating texts. To date, no other device has addressed this issue, so in the land of the blind, the Kindle is the one eyed king.
I have a Kindle 2, a Sony Touch (PRS-600), and a Nook. Of the three, for me the Kindle is the easiest to use for taking notes and highlighting. The Sony isn't too bad; but it's difficult to select all the words you wish to include and no more.

I don't understand why you say the notes are not part of the text. Whenever you annotate text on a Kindle or a Touch, a subscript appears next to the point where you inserted the note, and by clicking on it, you can see the note you made at the bottom of the screen.

In addition, all the notes you make on either a Touch or a Kindle are easily transferred to PC via an USB connector.
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:32 PM   #9
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I do think the Kindle is currently the best ebook reader out there. But its annotation ability at the moment is primitive at best.

I've found annotating to be one of the main frustrating aspects of the Kindle. At the same time, I understand that it's a difficult problem. To make annotations appear anything like the notes I take in my paper books, they'd have to a) have a touchscreen so I could draw lines of some sort and b) somehow dynamically incorporate the annotations into the display of each page. Either as an image overlay, or by reflowing the book text around my notes. Neither of which are possible on the current technology the Kindle uses.

The problem is that it only displays little numbers like [5] attached to specific words in the text. Yes there's your annotation, but only when you go to the trouble of walking your cursor down the page until you contact the number, does it display the annotation as a mini window at the bottom of the display. Until you do that, there's no way to determine anything about it. A word? 57 paragraphs of commentary?

Underlining works well enough, but there's the problem that as far as I've been able to discover, there's no way to un-underline anything. Or un-annotate for that matter. Maybe you could go digging inside the guts of the text file it uses to store all your annotations and start deleting things (all your annotations in one file, not one per book), but that's not any sort of user interface.

As an ebook reader, the Kindle 2 is great. As a device for making annotations, not so much. I'm looking forward to seeing how the technology develops though.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:25 AM   #10
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Also, if you annotate an Amazon book then remove it from your Kindle, Amazon will store a copy of the book (with annotations intact) at http://kindle.amazon.com. It's a password protected area.
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:01 PM   #11
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Also, if you annotate an Amazon book then remove it from your Kindle, Amazon will store a copy of the book (with annotations intact) at http://kindle.amazon.com. It's a password protected area.
One caveat: Only notes taken in Amazon DRMed books are retained there, but the notes on the site are well-organized and easy to access.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:15 AM   #12
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Annotations as marginalia

The annotations are not part of the text meaning there is a subscript, you have to click on it, and it appears at the bottom of the screen. That is a clumsy way to support annotations. Marginalia is such an important part of reading comprehensive texts and interacting with the text, and is a non-negotiable tenet of academic reading. Yes, the K2 does have annotation, but there is a lot of research that clearly suggests that annotations should NOT interrupt reading. The Kindle function is a near disaster. Of late, the pilot studies at 6 colleges, which included Princeton University, reported that students uniformly rejected the Kindle DX because of the cumbersome notation/annotation functionality. The general finding was that the Kindle offered no relative advantage over printed texts. More pointedly, the e-reader was actually an impediment because of cumbersome annotation ability. Other issues were reported, but this was by bar the most prevalent finding of the pilot studies across all of the schools. There is a long way to go still before any e-reader can support academic texts. Although over 10 years into this foray, we are still mostly in the innovative stages of product designs. We'll probably need at least several more years before any device appears that is truly equivalent to the printed text. Leisure reading is well supported with e-readers, but that's about where it ends.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:24 AM   #13
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If it sounds like it'll work for him you could always get it and let him try it to be sure. One other nice thing about the Kindles is Amazon's 30 day return policy if it's not what you/he were wanting. Nothing like a little hands on to really decide.
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mptmobilereade View Post
The annotations are not part of the text meaning there is a subscript, you have to click on it, and it appears at the bottom of the screen. That is a clumsy way to support annotations. Marginalia is such an important part of reading comprehensive texts and interacting with the text, and is a non-negotiable tenet of academic reading. Yes, the K2 does have annotation, but there is a lot of research that clearly suggests that annotations should NOT interrupt reading. The Kindle function is a near disaster. Of late, the pilot studies at 6 colleges, which included Princeton University, reported that students uniformly rejected the Kindle DX because of the cumbersome notation/annotation functionality. The general finding was that the Kindle offered no relative advantage over printed texts. More pointedly, the e-reader was actually an impediment because of cumbersome annotation ability. Other issues were reported, but this was by bar the most prevalent finding of the pilot studies across all of the schools. There is a long way to go still before any e-reader can support academic texts. Although over 10 years into this foray, we are still mostly in the innovative stages of product designs. We'll probably need at least several more years before any device appears that is truly equivalent to the printed text. Leisure reading is well supported with e-readers, but that's about where it ends.
I love the way the Kindle handles annotation and underlining. If students are put off by the fact that they have to go to all the trouble of clicking on a superscript number to see the note and actually having to double-click to edit it, well, all I can say is; Life is tough.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:23 PM   #15
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I will assume "life is tough" was an attempt at a comic aside, but the reality is life is tough for the current e-reader vendors. The fact is that ereaders have not even put a minor dent into the academic market, which is arguably one of the largest markets for this application. 6 Universities solidly rejected the Kindle for very good reasons, namely the device interfered with active reading. Reading with the Kindle was actually a detriment to reading academic texts. Yes, they are fine for leisure reading. Keep an eye on applications that improve the reading experience that will be run on a tablet. It seems the market is about to change directions. E-ink is a red herring. Tablets with touch screens, audio, and pressure sensitive surfaces to support marginalia are about to enter the market. The current crop of e-readers will likely go the way of the old palm pilots and handspring devices. Current e-readers are a bridge product to portable tablets, that will become thinner and lighter. It's a rather simple principle at work here called relative advantage. If reading devices do not offer advantages over paper texts, they will not move past the initial stage of adoption. In the early 2000's, people flocked to the hand-held calendar devices until they discovered something important; there was no relative advantage to the electronic hand held calendar device! Technolust is driving the ereader market right now, but the future belongs to anyone who can truly offer a device that changes they way people read and interact with text. Read something called The Diffusion of Innovations by Everett Rogers. You'll understand more about relative advantage, and how products move through early adoption to mainstream.

It's not about the device, but about the reading and engagement with text. All of the research has found digital annotations to be clunky and cumbersome when compared to paper. This issue will be solved; no vendor will subscribe to life is tough, they will respond accordingly. The market will evolve with innovative vendors that understand and react to reading research and principles. Keep an eye on the new application called Blio. It could be a milestone in the reading application market.
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