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Evolving Book Norms

December 30, 2010 11:27:47.743

Here's something I hadn't thought of with the rise of ebooks - the loss of page numbers. I'm quoting John Holbo, who ponders the issue:

I’m thinking about quoting our John in something I’m writing (yes, on Zizek). But I can’t footnote a Kindle edition. No pages. What will the world come to? Bibliography has gotten a bit old and odd in the head in the age of the internet, but the existence of pages themselves is kind of a watershed.

The Kindle app (and presumably the Kindle as well) show you a "percentage reached" instead of a page number. I understand that - given the various form factors involved (multiple Kindle sizes, iPads, smart phones....), what does a page number even mean? It should be simple to graft the physical form page number into the metadata, but as we go forward, there may well be books for which no physical form exists. What then? Perhaps we'll have to footnote based on the word count of the reference? Some sort of standard will have to arise, I guess.

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posted by James Robertson

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