When I was a younger man sans spouse and kids, I had more time for the more diverting pursuits, pursuits like reading post-post-modern, 1,000-page novels written by genius authors who loved footnotes. Exhibit A: Infinite Jest by the late David Foster Wallace. You can see the beast pictured here to the left. Ah, but those musty days of yesteryear are long gone. When I get time to squeeze in some reading for pleasure, it’s more often than not of the electronic, sans-paper kind. I’ve raved many times before about my Amazon Kindle e-book reader so suffice it to say it’s particularly great for reading gigantic megabooks.
So now perhaps comes the ultimate test. Infinite Jest came out for the Kindle (priced at $9.99, just a hair under the price in trade paperback, by the way). I decided I was up for a re-read, which would also give the Kindle a real challenge. Wallace included hundreds and hundreds of footnotes, well, really the more annoying variety, end notes. When reading the print book, you stumble across this (click on any of the images in this post to jump to a much bigger version of the picture):
And then you pull one of these, as you fumble around to keep your place in the text and locate the end note:
Kind of a pain in the neck, especially after the 217th time. So can the Kindle improve the end note experience? Hmm, kind of, I guess is the best answer I can come up with. Depends on your personal preference for fiddling with buttons versus shuffling pages, I think. On the Kindle, you see a note like this:
So you scroll the cursor to that line and press down on the scroll button to bring up a little menu:
Then you scroll down to the end note number (three in this case) and when you press the scroll button, the Kindle jumps exactly to that end note. Hit the back button and Kindle jumps right back to your place in the original text.
So what does everybody out in TV land think of end notes on the Kindle versus print? The comments are open.