Friday, December 16, 2011

Two devices to read a tech book

Last week I bought some technical books from the internet; they were stolen from my front door and I needed them immediately, so I ordered the e-book version. I like e-readers for pure text that is meant to be read in order (novels, histories, etc.), but technical books have diagrams, tables and code samples (“figures”) that may be referenced several pages later. So I decided to try using two devices …


I use the reader for the text and the tablet for the figures. I don’t like to read lots of text on a tablet because it is backlit. I really like reading plain text on a reader; I bought mine this spring and read the Lord of the Rings (+ the Hobbit) on it. I like reading on it better than reading books.

Since the reader doesn’t support zoom, I like to use the tablet to zoom the figures; actually, the image support on the reader is so bad that it would be difficult to read my current book without viewing images on the tablet.

This is not a supported way to read an e-book and will probably never be. Even with the hassle of juggling two devices it is better than the supported way. It would be nice if I could move between figures without shuffling through the text. Some UX designer better than me needs to do something to improve the tech book reading experience.

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