Since as I pointed out, some books and reading material are more flipping material than reading material, I have been thinking about what my Kindle could do to help. You’re welcome, Amazon.
Travel books are not read from start to finish in a linear fashion. They are more like magazines or newspapers. And so my suggestion is that we should be able to read them like a newspaper or magazine where you have a navigation aid at the bottom and a View Articles & Sections button as shown below:
So, in travel book about Italy, the Sections would be Venice, Rome, Florence and the Articles would be Planning Your Time, Orientation, Tourist Info, Arrival, etc. Instead of this:
I truly don’t care what % of the way through I am or what page most of the time in this kind of book. This technique might be useful for fiction books as well. At a minimum letting you see Chapter titles and easily move among them. For technical books, you might truly use the more detailed TOCs with sub-headings etc. So in a book on HTML5 might have various sections(e.g. Inserting Video into Your Web Design) within which there would be articles (Creating the video, Converting the Video to Ogg Format, Embedding the Video, Adding Audio, Summary), for example. For cookbooks, Sections would be: Appetizers, Entrees, Desserts with articles of “Crabcakes, Fried Dumplings, etc. in the Appetizers Section.
As I use the View Sections & Articles menus, I can easily skip to the sections and articles I want to see. Call it an Interactive Table of Contents, if you will. I would make perusing non-linear books a lot easier.
And as an added bonus, I would LOVE to mark the articles as favorites or tag them in some way and be able to say show me only my favorites, or show me only my “Venice” tagged articles. So though I have a whole travel book on Italy, I”m not going to every city mentioned so I could get it to show me just the cities I’m interested in. Or just the information on hotels in the cities I marked as favorites. That would make travel books so much easier to navigate. And no, the “search” capability doesn’t give you the ease of navigation I need, nor does the View Marks & Notes function. I’ve tried those to make it easier but it really doesn’t cut it. This “View Only” toggle function lets me make my own custom book showing just the bits I need: just those cities, or just those recipes.
And one again, you’re welcome Amazon (and non-linear book publishers).
Disclaimer: Screen shots above of are from Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine and Rick Steves Italy 2011 respectively and the people who wrote and published them are the copyright holders. I myself am not a lawyer–just using these screen shots to show you what I mean.