electronic readers and software

The thread below "ibook vs paperback" prompts a question. Do the softwares available for electronic readers allow one to use the index and table of contents as we would with a hard copy? I understood Kindle doesn't but I have no firsthand knowledge of it or any other electronic reader software. If they don't I think that would be a real hindrence to downloading a guidebook to an electronic reader. Please, first-hand knowledge only, and THANKS! That's shouting.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24148 posts

Monte, I have E-books / Guidebooks loaded on both my iPhone and Netbook, and the index and table of contents seem to work fine. However, it took me a bit of practice to get used to using them. It's also possible to add bookmarks, but that's not a feature I use much. Cheers!

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
520 posts

I've used the Kindle reader on IPad, IPod Touch, IPhone, PC and Mac and have had no problems using the contents and index pages on any of these devices. I've downloaded two of the RS guidebooks and no issue there either.

Posted by Richard
Boulder, Colorado, United States
2 posts

I only have "RS Italy 2013" on Kindle and my index works. I also have several other reference books on Kindle and they work as well.

Posted by Suz
Denver, USA
223 posts

I've never had problems with functionality of table of contents or index when using Kindle apps on Android devices (phones and tablets), or iPod Touch. If the book has a linked ToC and/or an index, it's worked on those apps. That's also true when using the Kindle reader software on my Windows 7 laptop, the Kindle app on my iMac, and the Amazon cloud reader on my Chromebook. My first-hand knowledge of Kindle ereaders and Kindle software/apps goes back to June 2008 when I bought the original Kindle. Since then I've owned a K2, a K3, and a Kindle Fire. My new Kindle paperwhite should be delivered tomorrow. I've read Kindle content on 2 models of Android phones, an Android tablet (Asus Eee Transformer), an iPod Touch, at least 4 different PC netbooks/notebooks (XP through Win 7), my Samsung Chromebook, and my iMac.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1852 posts

I have a Rough Guide to a US city on my Kindle. The contents work well. The X-Ray feature is not on this guidebook, which would have been nice. My bigger problem was that when I would tap to go to the next page, I'd end up tapping a link to another part of the book, or to a website that my Kindle would try to access. It happened a lot, and I'd be lost and couldn't find my way back to where I was. I will probably not use it much on my actual trip. I've read it once cover to cover, and will go back and make note of the things that are important to me, but I won't be using it as I walk around. Which I guess is how I use a paper guide. I've had my Paperwhite for 2 months now, and love love love it. In fact, the only problem I've had was with the guidebook jumping around. But most of my reading is fiction, so not a big deal. I'm so excited that I have it for my next trip-no need for pounds and pounds of paperbacks.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1994 posts

I seem to have a different (and much less favorable) experience than others; maybe it depends on the vendor of the ebook. The index is completely dead on my Rick Steves Italy guidebook, purchased from iBooks and displayed on an iPod Touch (gen 4); it's just a useless list of words, no links. The TOC does link, but it's really frustrating to use it; only a few items appear on each screen (maybe 3 or 4) so you have to scroll interminably. I find I use the search function instead, but it is very SLOW. I think I have the 2011 ebook version; never had any motivation to buy a more current version, given the experience. Fortunately, I don't typically use the RS guide for sightseeing.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1759 posts

I would like to thanks everyone for their time and their thoughts. It sounds like reader softwares have ben inproved over the last two years, although I have heard comments similar to Sherry's before. That's why Im asking. We will probably go from a Touch to a Mini WiFi and see what software suits us for Rough Guides and those of Lonely Planet. The discussion of whether or not indexes and tables of contents could be used on electronic readers appeared a couple years ago on another blog that has become inefectual. The feeling then was indexes were not accomodated. We need the index and table of contents as we move around and not having the ability to use them on an electronic reader makes the reader useless to us. I might add that we are both retired librarians and are finding it difficult to change from pleasureable tactility of paper to the coldness of electronics. Thank you all again.

Posted by Cindy H
San Jose
144 posts

I have found that the Rick Steves guidebooks don't work well in a Kindle app. The maps are near unreadable, and it is hard to jump around inside the guidebook. The real problem is that guidebooks are used differently than a regular book. In a regular book you read it front to back, and you don't jump around inside it. But guidebooks are most useful when they have cross reference indices inside them. That conflicts with the way a Kindle app is designed. For this reason, I'm more inclinde to recommend an app based guidebook (such as Lonely Planet)

Posted by Gerard
Temora, NSW, Australia
241 posts

Having Rick Steve's electronic versions on a iPad, the maps are clear, and you can select to zoom in closer. They are readable, the content works, You need to keep in mind these are conversions of a printed book, so their origins simply do not have the detail behind them to zoom to infinity and beyond. I have the kindle app,
off topic, but For mapping use, google maps on the iPad but don't upgrade to apples own mapper, there are off line map apps

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1759 posts

Thanks, Cindy and Gerard. Your insights are very helpful.

Posted by Pam
Chicago, IL, USA
2 posts

Hope I'm not too late to add my two cents. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and have been reading travel guidebooks on it. Here are some thoughts: I can navigate fine, and quickly jump to sections like restaurants and hotels by going to the table of contents. That's a positive. Readability is fine. Another positive. Here's a big negative: I can barely read the maps at all. They are murky, even on a Paperwhite. And enlarging them only makes them bigger, not more readable. For this reason, I won't rely on my Kindle to guide me on my next trip to Paris, but will bring a print copy of a guidebook instead. The Kindle is good for reading novels. I expect to bring some on my Kindle for leisure reading, as it is lighter weight and more portable than a book. But even then, a major disappointment to me is that I have to spend a considerable amount to get these books. The library does not have many e-books available to borrow that I would care to read. It's even hard to find old classics at little or no cost, however I did find Jane Austen novels. So, very mixed feelings about the device.

Posted by Nancy
Kennesaw, GA, United States
73 posts

I heavily use an ereader for regular use, but after one trip with only an ereader guidebook- never again. I travel with a paper guidebook and my Nook. I found it difficult to manuever through the pages and the maps were crap. Also, let me ask you- do you really want to be fumbling with an Ipad on a foreign street corner trying to find the map somewhere? That seems to be setting oneself up for a pickpocket.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24148 posts

Monte, I have some of Rick's books loaded on my iPhone and Netbook, but tend to prefer "hard copies" when possible. I have all of the books on the iPhone as I have a free Kindle app installed, and of course it also uses iBooks. On the Netbook, I'm limited to only Kindle format. One important point to mention is that I always have trouble with the iBooks version of the Guidebook. It seems slow and tends to "lock up" at times. I wish I had bought the Kindle version, but I chose iBooks as they offered a newer edition at the time. Using the Index is not difficult once you learn the program. I tend to use the iPhone Guidebooks for quick reference when I'm out touring rather than using it as a primary source of information. I have a growing Library of Guidebooks at home that I use when planning or for reference. I don't find much of a problem using the Maps, but it does take some practice. In the E-book versions, the Maps are often split into four parts. I don't use those, but prefer to use the full map and then "pinch and expand" the part that I want. Rick's maps are a bit "simple" anyway (which is good as there's not a lot of clutter) and they're not hard to read. As I prefer hard copy when possible, what I've been doing lately is buying some of the "Pocket" or "Snapshot" versions for the places I'll be visiting on any given trip. I'm in Paris at the moment, and have a copy of the Pocket Paris book sitting beside me. It's small, light and easy to carry and if I'm only visiting one city, there's no point in packing around the complete country Guidebook. Good luck with your decision!