The Natural Page

Everybody has their little pet peeves when it comes to their favorite eReader.  Nobody ever has every feature quite the way we want it and nothing will ever be quite perfect.  One of the complaints I’ve heard surprisingly often with the Kindle has been its lack of normal page numbering.  While this seems like a simple sort of thing to deal with, since we are given a progress counter of sorts anyway, I can certainly understand it getting on the nerves of some.

In response, we have The Natural Page(TM) from Forbidden Stitch Press.  Their first book, Spirit in The Sky, is now available for download from the Kindle store for $9.99.  The basic premise is that by setting a page length at right around 400 words, it is possible to put a page number, formatted as (Page 12), at the bottom of each screen as the reader moves through their book.  It’s a novel concept, if you’ll pardon the pun.  While there’s little chance that this will work out as a long term solution, being rather un-dynamic and therefore breaking any time the reader changes font size or a Kindle DX, it’s a good thing to have around, most likely.  If nothing else, the reader response could point out to Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN)  that this is a desired, and quite possibly easy to include, feature for a future patch.  The best way to get your point across about a product has always been to vote with your wallet, after all.

6 thoughts on “The Natural Page

  1. the kindle really should show the page number based on the print versions. you should be able to lookup what page number you are on based on the different paperback and hardback versions. you should also be able to jump to the appropriate page number based on the different paper versions. this will become very important in education settings since many students may have the paper book and you might need to jump to the same page based on what others are reading in the paper incarnations.

  2. Can’t you just see it, “Hey, brother, get the paper edition of “This New Book” and look at the page 56% into the book to see a really funny one, look for the word “independence”. Then your brother, who is literate, multiplies the number of pages in his paper edition by 0.56 and goes to that page, looking forward and backward until he finds the page you are talking about. I don’t think my brother would do that more than once.

  3. At first not having page numbering seemed mildly annoying, but I’ve come to realize that for the vast majority of Kindle users it is a non-issue. I do see how it can be a problem for book clubs, though, and definitely for some other citation related reasons.

    Perhaps a small number in the upper corner that could let people know what page it corresponds to in the print edition? But then, for many books, there are numerous print editions… does the pagination stay exactly the same for paperback, hardcover, large print, etc.? I’ve never checked.

    Have a great weekend all.

  4. This is why I bought a Kindle DX – so i could view PDF’s in their natural format. PDF’s have page numbers. And title headers. And “natural fonts”. And everything that the book had originally. It’s looks exactly like the book. Reading a PDF vs a .mobi is no contest, PDF wins hands down. I work hard to find/read books in PDF format. But one has to have DX, the screen is too small for PDF on the normal Kindle.

  5. Pagination often does not stay the same between different print editions, as I can attest from many a college class. You simply can’t refer to “page 236 of the print edition” in most cases, as the dimensions and typesetting of the book or the length of the accompanying texts (such as a foreword) may vary depending on *which* print edition.

    This is why the class syllabus often includes the edition or the ISBN of the book, and why you’re supposed to include information about the publisher and edition of the book the bibliography or works cited section of a paper. All of the students in my class knew that if you didn’t buy the edition of Madame Bovary listed in the syllabus, you would be on your own with finding the correct page when it came time for discussion.

    Was this annoying? Yes. Did we work around it? Of course. For starters, chapter numbers, when available, help greatly. If trying to cite a work in electronic format, a percentage is a better guide than nothing.

    What The Natural Page (TM) seems most useful for, however, is showing how long a work is. With percentages, each book is essentially divided into 100 units, and depending on the length of the book those 100 “pages” could be very long or very short. Using a guideline of 400 words per page, however, makes it easier to tell the length of a book; suddenly it becomes easier to tell the difference between having read through half of a 40-page novella vs. a 1000-page epic.

  6. one thing that I miss is the ability to easily see how close I am to the next chapter, or how long till I finidh the story in a multi-story e-book. should I keep reading just a little longer to get to a breakpoint, or give up and go to sleep now? ;-)

    I did have one book that had tick marks (darker dots) at the chapter boundries. It helped, but it’s nowhere near as good as being able to look at what page you are on and checking the table of contents and knowing clearly.

    I read a LOT on my kindle (it’s paied for itself a couple times over in just the cost savings of books,in large part thanks to, most of my books are not from amazon) and this is still something I find annoying.

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