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Have you taken your guidebooks in electronic form on your e-reader?

Have you taken your guidebooks in electronic form on your e-reader?

Nov 23rd, 2011, 06:33 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,958
For my purposes, I want a hard-copy guide book with me and at least one other on my Kindle. I do a ton of research before I take trips - a matter of personal preference! - so my use of guidebooks while traveling is primarily for 3 reasons: 1) to consult the maps in the hard-copy guidebook, on which I have marked additional places of interest to me, 2) to refresh my memory of things, and 3) to look up things that I stumbled upon unexpectedly.

So for my purpose, my Kindle will never replace a hard-copy guidebook - if nothing else, I want my pre-marked maps. (I also add labeled tabs to the book I carry in paper format, enter marginal notes, etc.) And as others have noted, the maps I can access through Kindle aren't that helpful - too small, too hard to read. To keep the weight down, I rip out any sections I don't expect to need before leaving home.

But I also find value to adding a different guidebook to my Kindle, and for this purpose, I always select a particularly comprehensive guide in case I end up "off-plan" - whether intentionally or not. And I use the Kindle to provide back-up access to key travel documents - reservations, insurance info, etc. So it not only gives me easy access to information about sites I hadn't planned on seeing, it also gives me some peace of mind (I always worry that I will misplace my main hard copy guide or other paper documents!)

I should mention that I don't have a cell phone (smart or otherwise), nor do I have an electronic tablet, notebook, or anything else. My Kindle, with its internet capability, comes in very handy if my hotel doesn't provide a computer or if I want to check the internet when I'm out and about. And as a solo traveler who reads while on plains, trains, and buses and while eating, I used to start each trip with the non-trivial weight of lots of books (which I gave away as I finished). Instead, I now have this tiny little device that I can read in dim light even more easily than a book - perfect!
kja is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2011, 07:52 PM
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I also do extensive research before travelling and then put much of it aside when I am travelling. I downloaded several travel things to my Kindle-Marisol's guide, my personal notes and other articles. I read them before setting out. I did not carry my Kindle for security and weight reasons. I often do not carry a guide book with me, but will take relevant notes instead.
ita is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 12:10 AM
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This has been a very helpful discussion for me. I recently recieved a Kindle Fire from my daughter. She always is at a loss to know what to get me for the holidays and I threw that out here. She sent it early.
Up until now I have been using Audible to listen to books on a very inexpensive MP3 player. I like it because I don't have to carry books with me and I don't like the noise on most flights.
I was interested in the Kindle because I can download my audio books to the Kindle and also any book I want. But I think I will hold off on guide books for a while since reading this post.
I also like the Kindle for trips other than transatlantic. We travel to Florida quite often and I don't take guide books there.
Sher is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 03:25 AM
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With guidebooks downloaded, I took my Kindle to Paris last year along with my favorite map, Knopf Mapguide.

I have to agree with those who say the ereader is not as easy to index and using "search" can be the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack with the number of search results returned. Phone apps proved far more useful than the ereader, ime.

Next month, I'm going to Rome and will bring a trusty Knopf map along with a favorite guidebook and perhaps some back-up on Kindle but Kindle will not be my primary source of info this trip.
AnnMarie_C is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 04:09 AM
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" I have been using Audible to listen to books on a very inexpensive MP3 player"


Playing books (at any rate on a Kindle) is far slower than reading. And while the technology's evolved a lot since Stephen Hawking got his "voice", I find the lack of British-style (or as far a I can work out, any) inflection infuriating. On dialogue in novels, the temptation to smash the gadget into a pulp is almost irresistible.

Is this just a British thing? British depends on emphasis for understanding far more than American - and obviously isn't helped by the (admittedly not very) American accents Kindle uses.
flanneruk is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 04:30 AM
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Interesting point, flanner. For the rare occasions we use the satnav in the car, we've found the American English voice too annoying - I think it sounds hectoring, maybe ? - and so use the Italian one.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 05:07 AM
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Timely question; I downloaded Fodors guides for Emilia-Romangna and MIlan and could not access either on the ipad once I was over there--guess I needed a live internet connection? Which I didn't have when I needed the guidebooks. Still confused by the problem. But clearly not a problem I would have with small book chapters (which is what I would usually do--pull out the relevant chapters of the guidebooks to bring along).
annw is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 06:13 AM
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There's some confusion here -- at least in my mind. The Kindle has a text-to-speach option. Audible supplies audio files of books that have been read aloud. So, Sher, the Kindle Fire can handle such files?

Also, there's also the option -- at least here in Seattle -- of downloading ebooks, including Kindle books, from the public library. There's a limited number of Kindle titles available at present but they do have the Rough Guides and Rick Steves' guidebooks. You can keep a book a maximum of 3 weeks, but I notice the book doesn't expire if I don't turn on the Kindle wireless connection. Still this is great. Yay for public libraries!
Mimar is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 07:41 AM
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My public library is also great, and I just downloaded a guidebook to my Nook just to try out using a guidebook on an e-reader. I figure it is a no-cost way for me to see how this works. I agree--Yay for public libraries.
julies is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 11:02 AM
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I began buying e-guidebooks after I purchased a Motorola Xoom earlier this year. It was great to be able to only carry that around with me in Italy because I got to leave 2 things at home - my larger laptop, AND guidebooks!
anothertravelinsong is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 12:41 PM
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I downloaded Fodors guides for Emilia-Romangna and MIlan and could not access either on the ipad once I was over there--guess I needed a live internet connection?

Annw, I don't have an iPad, but just from what I know there could be a few possibilities. Did you download them as PDFs? If so you should have been able to access them. On the other hand, if you bought them through Amazon, the Kindle app stores purchases initially in its version of a could--Whispersync--so you'd have to then download it again to make sure you could access it when offline. As a third possibility, I'm not sure (again, not having an iPad), how much content might sit in iPad's Cloud, which would also mean you'd need an internet connection to access certain things.
PegS is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 06:31 PM
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Mimar. Yes. The Kindle Fire that I have is compatible with Audible. In fact, the Audible App is preloaded on the Kindle.
And it is so easy to download your books. Just touch the built in icon for the Audible site and sign in.
Then download your choice of book. Of course you must have internet to download the book. And the Kindle did not come with headphones. But there is a port for them.
Once you download you can listen to the books anywhere. I am taking it to Florida soon and this will be my first time using the audio books. I haven't downloaded any books from Amazon as of yet.
I live in a very small town and haven't contacted them to see what they have available.
My first love will always be paper books. But when traveling this is great.
Sher is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 07:48 PM
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Peg I thought they were PDFs but will have to confirm that -- I downloaded them from Fodors I think or via their page anyway.
annw is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 10:01 PM
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I use my Kindle in almost exactly the same manner as KJA does, loading a couple guidebooks,some created PDF docs (which are often entire Fodor forum threads) along with a zillion regular books for our trips. But I almost always take an actual physical guidebook too, especially if they include walking tours.

My Kindle does searches well, so that really is not a problem, but I do like a physical guidebook best.

We do not travel interntionally with our smartphones, not only to save money on data plans but also to make sure we do not end up enmeshed in our lives back home. We try NOT to check our email.

Therefore our Kindles provide us with electronic convenience but no electronic trap. I can visit, for example, London, and decide I would like to read books about the Battle of Britain, find some books on Kindle right there, and be totally engaged with what I am seeing without being tripped up by a text or email that takes me away from what I am seeing.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Nov 25th, 2011, 06:51 AM
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As I posted on your question in the other forum, I've done this many times and loved it. It doesn't work well for maps (this partially depends on the guidebook and the style of map) but I always buy a separate street map anyway. A combination of digital guidebooks and paper maps works great for me. On my last trip, I found a current guidebook at a local half price bookstore and took that as well as what I had on my eReader. Depending on where I was, sometimes I used one and sometimes the other.

It also depends on if you want to have your Nook/Kindle out in populated areas. I generally use a guidebook in a museum/tourist site (tours/walkthroughs), in my hotel planning for the next day or at a meal planning the next part of my day. For that type of usage, guidebooks work excellently on a digital reader. If you like to use the maps to navigate a city, then I would find it a hassle on an ebook device but I find that a hassle to do with a paper copy of a guidebook too.

I tend to load some guidebooks on my eReader/Nook, load pdf's with planning info, confirmations, etc, and buy a paper map (usually before I leave).

The fun thing is that you can mix and match, you don't have to just take electronic or paper copies. A paper copy of one guidebook, an electronic copy of half a dozen other guidebooks/history or info books (from the library if possible in your area), electronic copies of any travel info and confirmation numbers, and a paper copy of a map and you're set for just about anything.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Nov 25th, 2011, 08:27 AM
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Since I am thinking about a possible trip to India, I went to Amazon to take a look at guidebooks. I think this comment about the latest edition of the Lonely Planet guidebook is (in the reader's rating/review section) is quite relevant to this discussion and has firmly steered me towards continuing to get the hard copies.

Kindle version /vs/ heavy hard copy book---is it worth it?, November 23, 2011
By Ken Fox (St. Paul, Minnesota, US) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: Lonely Planet India Travel Guide (Country Travel Guide) (Kindle Edition)
I am planning a 6 week trip to India and because I am a devoted Lonely Planet user, I purchased the Kindle version of Lonely Planet India. (I like to travel with Kindle instead of lots of heavy books.) After going in circles trying to do my pre-trip research on the Kindle version, I gave up and am now ordering the hard copy to "shlep" with me. I don't know if the versions are actually different or if it is the way I use a reference book. Will report back after I return.
julies is offline  
Nov 30th, 2011, 02:23 AM
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We took ebook only guides with us this last trip along with paper maps. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who found them difficult to use. They were best used for the night before we visited a site when we could sit and read without any "flipping" back and forth. Once we were at a site we again found it easiest if we were reading something like a walking tour-just read straight along, no searching. I also brought my iPhone to use when we had wifi (love how all the European hotels had free service!) and found that much easier to search, use skype, check email etc. just as we do at home, but this wasn't available when we were outside the room as we didn't have a data plan.

On the other hand, my husband goes through books very quickly so it was a Great way for him to carry several books for the one trip. He is really happy with his kindle but we will probably stick with Paper guides for a while longer.
AtlTravelr is offline  
Dec 20th, 2011, 08:53 PM
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Although I prefer to read real books at home, the kindle has been fantastic for trips...especially for cutting down on packing time - I used to agonize more about which books to pack than clothes.

For me, a combo of one hard copy guidebook plus multiple downloaded guides plus real maps is the way to go. We took one real guide to Kenya and brought four others on the kindle - it was great to have all sorts of extra info, and searching was easy.

I also just returned from Chile and downloaded two guides while there - I was there on business and normally would not have taken along a guidebook at all.

julies, I've been following your posts on the Asia board and because you're booking lodging at the last minute in India, I would think that many guides will be quite helpful. Just take your fave, throw in some maps and download the rest.
crosscheck is offline  
Dec 21st, 2011, 05:17 AM
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If others are contemplating this dilemma, I've ordered a hard copy of Footprint India because that series is both excellent and extremely light weight (pages almost like tissue paper)compared to other series. And, we'll be taking two other guidebooks that we've downloaded. So, we'll see how this combo works out.

For Crosscheck & others: I see you have a Kindle because you were able to download a guide while in Chile. I learned (the hard way) last summer while in Mexico that Barnes & Noble doesn't allow purchases on the Nook while outside of the US. Thanks for the comments.
julies is offline  
Dec 21st, 2011, 06:10 AM
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I haven't bought guide books for my last few trips. I would just do the research online and compile the information into a TripIt itinerary. There is a TripIt app. for iPhone and iPad but they require a data connection so they wouldn't useful out in the field. I use it mainly to print out a 10-15 page itinerary with all the trip info. and embedded maps of specific areas I plan to see. Also leave myself a lot of white space so that I can add in handwritten notes from any additional info I might find during the trip.

I did however look into buying an electronic guide book for my trip to Sicily last June because it was only like $5. It wasn't a well-known publisher, may have been an e-Book only publisher. I had an iPad with me but I didn't buy it. I didn't use the iPad much out in the field.

However, I had a Mifi device with a TIM data SIM which I used both at hotels and while out and about with my iPhone. The Maps app. with live view of your GPS position was helpful finding streets even in places like Taormina. In cities like London and Paris, it would be useful to use apps. to find the next bus or subway train to a destination.

Took a trip to Hong Kong last month and again had a local SIM for data. I didn't have to use iPhone much for navigating the transportation much, though there were apps. for things like the Star Ferry, I believe. I just had connectivity for entertainment reasons, games of Scrabble online and so on. Hong Kong is very much into smart phones. People are staring into their iPhone on subway rides, some watching iPads.

Someone may eventually get augmented reality apps. right.
scrb11 is offline  

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