Are you using a Kindle or other e-reader to replace your paperback guidebook?  Do you like it?  What do you like?  What is not so great? 


I love marking up my guidebooks and putting little post it flags on pages of interest.  On the other hand I carried 4 guidebooks from home in my backpack for a 7 month trip which wasn't so cool.  The kindle sure is lighter, but I'm loath to leave behind my beloved guidebooks. 


Tell me what you like/don't like about using your e-reader for guidebooks.

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Melissa, I don't own a Kindle, but I did download an e-book onto my iPhone for a trip to Guatemala last year. Yes, marking up a book and using post-its is great, but the convenience of having that guidebook in my pocket, not to mention being able to search the text for any term I needed, is superior in my view. That last one is especially useful if you're looking for information in a hurry.


Personally, I don't see any downside to using apps or ebooks to replace paper travel guides. And I'll add that I'll take my iPhone over the Kindle any day, as it's smaller and by combining everything onto one device, it's one less gadget to lug around on a trip (and possibly lose).


Hope this helps.

I borrowed a friend's Kindle for a recent trip.  It's perfect for traveling.  Though I still prefer diving into a book when I'm at home, the Kindle has many things going for it.  I enjoyed reading several books while I was away and didn't have to heave them from place to place.  I think I read quicker on the Kindle without the added distraction of words on side-by-side pages and I would say it's perfect for carrying lots of reference material...good guide books can be very heavy.  You can highlight and save sections of special interest  too. 



The downside to Kindles and iPads is that people read less efficiently on them. I understand reading speed is about 15% slower; moreover, readers are more prone to be distracted. But Jose's argument about searching hits home. You don't read a guidebook the way you read a Grisham novel -- page to page, cover to cover -- so I use guidebooks on e-readers.

Jose goes one better than me, though: He says he downloaded an e-book, not just an app, on his iPhone. That strikes me as too much information on too small a screen, but I'm curious about what other people might think.  

While being able to carry multiple books in a compact way is a great benefit, I find that it´s frustrating to not be able to quickly flip between pages or look at multiple pages at once. I constantly have to return to the menu to find what I need... That´s just me though, luddite that I am.


If you only need one book, I say take the paper. If you need more than one, go for the Kindle!



I have purchased several Lonely Planet and Rough Guide guide ebooks through Kindle for my IPad. The BIGGEST problem I have found is that the maps are low resolution. In physical guide books, the print in city maps is tiny but legible. However, when you zoom into these maps on the IPad, the text is blurry and illegible. Very simple maps with large print are legible, but the detailed city maps are useless. You can't read the street names or numbers that the legend refers to!


Lonely Planet does have a "Discover" series for IBooks for a few titles. I have downloaded samples. The maps seem to be higher resolution and there are lots of luscious photos. I think that these Discover ebooks are much less thorough than LP's regular guidebooks, however.


With either the regular guide ebooks or with the Discover guide ebooks, one nice thing is that links are "live". If you click on a hotel's link, the IPad will go directly to the hotel's website (assuming you are connected to the internet). Other links take you to other places in the ebook. For example, if you click on the word "map" next to a placename, it will take you to the map of that place. If only you could then read it!


As for navigating through the guide book, there are pluses and minuses. I never have as strong a sense where I am in the book, but I can highlight things and place "bookmarks". I also can search on a term and find all pages that reference it.


Last year, to get around the problem of the low resolution city maps, I actually bought a few Lonely Planet chapters in PDF format and loaded them on my IPad. In the PDF chapters, the maps are in high enough resolution to read.


I expect that the problems I have with the maps would occur with any e-reader. The problem is not with the IPad but with the resolution these maps have in the ebook.

I almost missed Kathy's comments from two weeks ago. Smart observations, and the PDF solution is inspired.

I am going to Europe in a month again and I have loaded several guide books on my IPad. But I also have two printed physical guide books that are good references when we are out on the streets, riding public transport and want to learn about the things we see. I don't like pulling out an expensive IPad in public places where I could be pickpocketed. Plus the IPad is almost impossible to read in bright sunlight. Ereaders like Nook and Kindle are much better in bright sunlight and perhaps aren't as attractive to thieves.

One more comment though on my IPad: I have the 3G model with the built-in GPS. Even without wifi or any cell phone connection if you have downloaded Europe maps in advance, the IPad serves as a GPS. My friends don't even realize how much trouble I saved them last year with my ability to navigate in and out of French towns while we had a rental car! (Of course if you are doing lots of driving in Europe, you would be much better off with a regular GPS.)


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