Archive for June, 2012

More Problems with e-Book Indexes

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The E-Reader Device Problem

To distinguish itself from others and to establish its own unique competitive advantage, each e-reader manufacturer uses different methods for displaying an e-book.  These differences include the various size of the physical “frame” for the screen display in the book, as well as the types of navigation methods used, including icons and features that vary, and even the different ways of adding virtual page numbers for each e-reader.

As a result, this variation affects index locators.  Index locators are linked back to the text with a device called an “anchor,” which is a piece of code that is invisible to the reader.  A “page” anchor on an e-book screen corresponds to the beginning of a page in the print version of a book.

Amazon Kindle places anchors in the upper left hand of the e-book screen, while Apple iPad places them in the middle.  Because the iPad has a larger screen, users can rotate the iPad 90 degrees and a two-page image will appear on the screen.  Readers may find the anchor in the middle of the left-hand “page” or in the middle of the right-hand “page” on the iPad screen, and may have to read two e-book pages before finding the beginning of an indexed discussion.

In addition, text in e-books can reflow over a number of pages depending on how large the font is made by the book’s reader.  Consequently, page number ranges in an e-book index are useful only to a very limited extent.  A page range of three pages could become six or even more e-book “pages” if the font size of the e-reader device is changed.

I will discuss another problem with e-book indexes in a future blog posting.  For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website,