If so, this may give you some food for thought.

On her blog, historical fiction author Tinney Heath recently wrote a post entitled Readers : What are you missing that is just a click away?

This  drew my attention to the potential drawback of reading on a Kindle.


The danger of missing useful information.

In her friend’s case by starting where it plonked her down when she opened the book she missed an all important quote, the dedication, acknowledgements and the table of contents. On checking her own Kindle the author found the same – the book is handed to you, open to Page 1, and anything before the pagination starts, you need to page-back to find. 

Intrigued, I checked the unopened books on my Kindle and although I found that it wasn’t necessarily page 1 where they started, one (non fiction) began at the preface, and another (collection of short stories) at the foreword, it still wasn’t where I wanted to start reading. If I had continued reading from this point I would have missed the cover, title page, title page verso, dedication and other books by the author (s).

In frustration, I turned to The Kindle User’s Guide 3rd edition, supplied with the ereader, to try and find out whether the default opening point could be changed. Unfortunately I didn’t discover a way of doing this, but did find the following in the chapter Reading on Kindle useful:

    3.3 Moving from Place to Place
Using the Menu to get around 

To go to the Menu, press the Menu button and click
If reading a Kindle book the menus will include the option:

Go to… — allows you to move to another location in the item you are reading
The six options include: 
                    table of contents (if available)

Interestingly their definition of the beginning is ‘usually the first chapter, but may be a foreword, the table of contents, or some other location.

Hmm ‘or some other location’ that is not very helpful, back to being frustrated.

My preferred option would usually be to Go to the cover.

This exercise was salutary in that it reminded me how useful reading manuals can be...

To return to the issue of content which could be missed. Notes on sources, glossaries, and maps are all there for a reason, authors wouldn’t include them unless they considered them important. 

In her post Tinney Heath points out that these and other additions are there to offer you useful tools for approaching a book. I have also mentioned in that the structure of a book, is there to help the reader. 

It will be interesting to see the impact of ebook readers on the way we read. For example, the reading techniques of skimming and scanning used for print books, don’t easily transfer to reading an ebook.

So, please don’t passively accept what you are given, don’t let your technology get the better of you. Use the the Menu – Go begin reading your ebook where you want to start.