Has anyone purchased a Kindle and downloaded any of RS guide books? How does it compare to the actual book?
Karen, I downloaded the free Kindle Reader on both my Netbook (Windows 7) and iPhone (and prior to that an iPod Touch), and have bought a number of RS books and Snapshot Guides. I also have one of current RS Guides loaded on iBooks, as I wanted to compare the two platforms. For some reason, it was somewhat more expensive than the Kindle version? At first, using E-books was a bit awkward and it was difficult to navigate back and forth to different parts of the book. However, now that I've become more familiar with the operation of the reader software, the process has become somewhat easier. I found that using the Maps was perhaps the most challenging at first. In order to compensate for the small screen, the Maps are presented as a complete copy, and also split into four parts. This is not as much of an issue on the Netbook, but on the iPhone I find it easier to "pinch & expand" the whole map, and then just scroll around to see detail. While it's always nicer to be able to leaf through a paper Guidebook, the size and weight of hard-copy books is usually in issue when travelling. There are definite advantages to being able to carry a number of full-sized Guidebooks in my shirt pocket, but unfortunately that involves some compromises in convenience. When are you thinking of buying an E-book Reader? Current rumours are indicating the possibility that Apple may introduce a smaller and very attractively priced iPad sometime this year (perhaps at the WWDC in June). Good luck with your decision!
Guidebooks downloaded onto the electronic reader Kindle have no access to the index the same way a book does. You can go page-by-page as if reading any other type of book, but flipping from the index back to where it directs you is very difficult. I do not have any experience with any other electronic reading software. If you are serious about using Kindle I would suggest you buy an iPad and download the Kindle software onto it. You can download other electronic reading software onto it also.
I had one guidebook on my Kindle for our recent Ireland trip. It was basically useless - you need to be able to flip back and forth through a guidebook and frequently consult the index and table of contents. I relied on my usual pre-kindle method - one intact book (either Lonely Planet or Rough Guide) and relevant sections torn from other guidebooks. I throw everything away as we finish an area, saving only pages I might need to reference later when writing the trip journal.......Since it will be at least six years before we return to any one area, I will buy new guidebooks for the next visit.
I have a Kindle and have a couple RS guides on mine. I agree with others that having a physical book is a lot more convienent. However as you get more used to using a Kindle it becomes easier to "flip" to the sections you want as you become comfortable with the interface. It's still not as easy as an actual book, though. My way of doing things for major cities is to take the guides on the Kindle for re-reading during transit so I can start to sort of memorize a lot of the info, and only consult it once I'm there if I'm really lost or there's a ton of info to absorb. The handiest reference for me is the MapGuide series. The one for Paris is fantastic, I've now followed quite a few of their suggestions for restaurants and bars and never, ever been let down. And it's small and light, so I don't have to supplement with another bulky guidebook.
I have several of his guidebooks on my Galaxy Tab (using Kindle reader) and have no real problems. You can go back to the index and jump to where you want to go. I also like how he has certain things hyper-linked so you can jump right to something that interests you. I think the biggest problem is not being able to do the usual enlarge by touch of his maps. I don't know if you can put Skype on the Kindle, but on my tablet you can so it makes for a great guidebook and a phone for calling to make reservations or inquiries while you are over there, or here in the USA for that matter.
I seem to be the only Nook person these days. I have a Fordors guide book downloaded on my nook( epub format). The index works fine. The maps are very malleable if I double tap on them. I can pinch and expand or move back and forth. The links work if I have WiFi.
I also bought the RS Heart of Rome Walk in epub format. The index works fine and again, the maps are great if you double tap them. I can also bookmark, hightlight and at notes, I am guessing the kindle does this as well.
We are taking Kindles, but not for guidebook use--just for reading pleasure. Also they are great way to take a lot of novels set in the places you are going to or for historical info. But they don't work well for guide books because of the difficulty in finding the right page. Also I'm afraid that they need to be guarded like a camera, which might make them less useful on the streets of busy cities.
Good Point about guarding them Jenny. We will be putting wrist straps onto our nooks.
I am not sure where some of you are going, but guard it like a camera? Wrist straps? I don't think everyone in Europe will be after your Kindles or Nooks. They have the same technology we do. Just use common sense like you do in your everyday lives. I used my Galaxy Tab in Austria last Christmas everywhere there was WIFI in Vienna and Saltzburg with no worries whatsoever. I'm not trying to put anyone down here. Personally, I would be more paranoid about using my tab in a city like New York.
I left the RS guide book home and took the kindle on our trip to Europe last year (and didn't miss the hard copy). Since I was very familiar with all the relevent chapters, it was easy to refer to. Not sure if I would have the same opinion if I hadn't read/marked up the "real"book. I did print the maps and put them in a plastic sleeve. Then if we were in Venice, I'd take the Venice page(s) with me. Clicking on the chapter links in the table of contents worked for me and it was easy enough to scroll the section I needed to refer to. I saved PDF's of our travel docuements, but they were difficult to read (not clear and too small).
In my Kindle "Italy 2011" book, while you could look at the Index, you couldn't click on an entry and 'jump' there :-( You could, however, use the Table of Contents, and at the appropriate points within the book you can jump to maps, lists of restaurants, etc. You really have to play with it a bit to see how it works...or doesn't. I'm extremely familiar with the format of RS' guidebooks, so it was easy for me to navigate the Kindle-formatted book. The maps will be in black-and-white (they only recently started appearing in color in the paper forms - yea!), and you can zoom in on them only once. If viewing on another device - I have experience with Apple devices - you can see them in color AND pinch-and-expand the maps much larger. (cont.)
(cont.) Also, you can 'bookmark' and 'write notes' with your Kindle. You can easily refer to a page with museum opening times and days in Paris, for instance. Sort of like making up your own version of the book. I only referred to the guidebook for specific info on opening times, maps, etc., and it worked well for me. If you are planning to really use the book for lots of info - museum guides, how to change money, how to purchase train tickets in Ireland, etc., you may prefer the physical copy. You can download the first chapter of any Kindle book for free, including RS' guides, so you can get an idea of what it'll look like. Be forewarned that the maps don't work like they will if you buy the book, though, and that any links you click on also won't work if they're NOT in Chapter 1! Remember that if you buy it for an actual Kindle device, you can also read it on any other device you may have - iTouch/iPhone/iPad, etc. While I brought my Kindle to Europe with me, I used my copy on my iTouch waaaay more often. It worked just fine.