In the last twenty-four hours I have been forced to completely reassess my view of the Kindle.
I have been reading a book (I won’t say what as I want to make the comments below anonymous) on a Kindle (the device, not an application – see below), and was resigned to the usual second class Kindle editing – the odd missing paragraph, the loss of a non-roman letter or symbol here or there, when I came to a chapter which was essentially unreadable because it relied on (for example) the difference between and but was unable to render , merely displaying .
I was so frustrated and annoyed – how could any publisher allow their book to be published in this form when a whole chapter was rendered into (literally) nonsense – that I emailed a senior editor of the publisher to complain.
To be fair to them, they replied quickly and passed on my complaint to a senior colleague:
This is a problem with the way the Kindle displays mathematics and it is an ongoing problem that we are trying to solve with Amazon and other hand-held device makers … I suspect you will be due a refund from Amazon.
The reply does the publisher a lot of credit, and more or less restored my faith in them. But it also carries a very simple message – don’t buy a Kindle to read technical books.
I have since discovered that one Kindle app
– on Mac OSX – renders the book perfectly, while another – on Android – is just as poor as the Kindle itself.
Why are Amazon selling books that are broken like this?
In the meantime I suggest sticking to hard copies when it comes to technical works.
Update: Not sure why I thought the Mac OSX app worked – it’s just as broken as the Kindle itself.
- More thoughts on the Kindle (cartesianproduct.wordpress.com)
- Amazon says Kindle ebook sales have overtaken print (guardian.co.uk)
- Sharing a Kindle Account: How to Make a Group (sharechair.wordpress.com)
- I bought a Kindle!! (Part one) (hannahmeiklejohn.wordpress.com)