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160 of 163 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start but with some teething problems and a few issues
The Times and The Sunday Times

First the good points
1 - Articles (in bulk) are a comfortable read for my old eyes. I would not subscribe to the web based nor the ipad versions as I have never found bulk reading comfortable on a screen (I was in the computer industry for over 30 years).
2 - The current day's issue is available first thing in the...
Published on 4 Dec 2010 by TonyC

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1,394 of 1,408 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Improved But Still Not Perfect
NOTE: Having tried 'The Times & The Sunday Times for the Kindle' on two previous occasions and found it to be a pretty substandard product both times I was asked in December 2012 by News International via the comments below this review to give it another go. Apparently they had made some significant improvements to the Kindle version of the paper that would address many...
Published on 22 Nov 2010 by C. Green


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1,394 of 1,408 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Improved But Still Not Perfect, 22 Nov 2010
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Times and Sunday Times (Kindle Edition)
NOTE: Having tried 'The Times & The Sunday Times for the Kindle' on two previous occasions and found it to be a pretty substandard product both times I was asked in December 2012 by News International via the comments below this review to give it another go. Apparently they had made some significant improvements to the Kindle version of the paper that would address many of my criticisms.

Feeling it was only fair to give them another shot I purchased several copies of both the Times and The Sunday Times for the Kindle over a period of four weeks. I want to make it clear that I paid for these and was not given them by NI.

As a result of trying these editions of The Times and The Sunday Times I have increased my rating of the product from two to three stars. I have also added this note and a further update below. However I have left my original review and an update from May 2011 intact for clarity's sake.

I hope you find all of this helpful.

C. Green
January 2012

ORIGINAL REVIEW

I'm currently mid-way through my 14-day free trial of The Times and the Sunday Times on the Kindle. Based on my experience to date I will not be continuing with a paid subscription when the trial period ends.

Its not on the grounds of cost. 9.99 per month for a newspaper delivered automatically to my Kindle everyday, advertisement free, sounds like a pretty decent deal to me. Its certainly cheaper than buying the print version of any paper.

Nor is my unwillingness to fork out my money due to the editorial content of the paper. In terms of basic editorial content the Kindle version is identical to the main sections of the printed Times & Sunday Times. I can even live without the photos; most of which are omitted from the Kindle version.

No, my reason for not subscribing and for awarding a two star rating is that if I'm going to spend money on a daily paper for my Kindle I want to receive a daily paper produced and formatted specifically for the Kindle. Instead, with The Times, what I have been receiving appears to be an afterthought hastily cobbled together by News International with no thought to the platform it will be accessed on.

As a result some photos are included as postage stamp sized images, whilst most are omitted, but photo captions remain, attached without explanation to the end of articles. The running order of articles seems to depend on where they would have appeared on the printed page rather than where it would make sense for them to be on the Kindle, resulting in sidebars being separated from main articles by other, unrelated features and the various parts of indepth investigations being scattered seemingly at random across the paper. Equally no effort is made to adjust the formatting of articles to suit the Kindle, so that lists of quotes that on the printed page would appear on separate lines simply become one chunk of solid text with no punctuation on the Kindle's screen, robbing them of meaning & impact.

Add in the fact that most of The Sunday Times supplements such as Culture & Style are missing entirely from the Kindle version and I couldn't help feeling that zero effort had been put into creating the Kindle version of The Times, which hardly makes you want to part with your hard earned cash in return.

Maybe if enough people subscribe to it then News International will be willing to invest some time and money in coming up with something specifically geared towards being read on e-readers, but I'm not willing to spend the money on the off-chance they do. I might still pick up the odd single issue now and again when I'm travelling and there's no other easy way to access UK news, but it needs to be a whole lot better before I'll consider subscribing.

UPDATE NO. 1 - May 2011 - Since so many people have marked my initial review of the The Times and The Sunday Times as 'helpful' (for which I am grateful) I thought it was only fair to everyone concerned that I check to see if News International have made any effort to improve the quality of their product in the last six-months. Unlike a novel or an auto-biography, daily, weekly and monthly periodicals can improve or deteriorate over time, so it was possible that The Times for the Kindle had undergone a major makeover and my original review was no longer accurate.

To that end I downloaed a couple of single editions of The Times and compared their content to what I had written back in November 2010. The result was that I found that everything I wrote then still holds true. The Times on the Kindle remains a shoddy, second rate product. All the formatting and layout issues remain and no effort seems to have been made in the past six months to create a product suited specifically to the Kindle. The only minor improvement has been to the navigation menu, but that's come entirely as a result of an update to the Kindle's software and not due to any significant work on the publisher's part.

One of the comments on this review wonders whether News International have read it and will respond to it. On the basis of this most recent experience the answer would appear to be a resounding 'No'.

UPDATE NO. 2 - So have the updates that News International claim in the comments below they have made to The Times and Sunday Times for the Kindle improved the product. As the increase in my rating from two stars to three would suggest the answer is yes, but not by a huge margin.

On the positive side they have cleaned up a lot of the formatting issues that dogged the previous version. There are more photos and redundant captions have been eliminated. Side-bars are better formatted too with, for example, breaks between paragraphs for lists. It makes the reading experience a far smoother and therefore more pleasant one.

However a significant number of negatives still remain. Whilst the layout and formatting is improved its still far from perfect for the Kindle. The order of articles and sections needs more work. What works for the printed paper (e.g. the choice of front page articles, having the comment section on page 2 of the Times or how the Opinion section is ordered in the Sunday Times) doesn't necessarily work for the Kindle. Shuttling things around a bit and including some section headings so that you know where you are without having to refer back to the contents page would improve matters greatly.

Content from the printed papers also remains missing from the Kindle versions. There's no crossword or soduku in either The Times or The Sunday Times and there isn't even a selection of articles from the Culture or In Style sections of The Sunday Times.

In fact the Sunday paper feels like its had far less work done to it than its daily sister. There are virtually no photos in the Sunday Times, whilst they pepper The Times, and even if bits and bobs are omitted from the latter at least there aren't whole sections and supplements AWOL as there are with The Sunday Times. The Times on the Kindle is a now a pretty good substitute for the printed version and would probably deserve 4 stars by itself. The same cannot be said for The Sunday Times for the Kindle and this drags the whole package back down to 3 stars.

Overall I'd give News International kudos for trying to improve matters, but more work is required, especially from The Sunday Times Team. Based on my latest experience I will not be subscribing but I will happily pay for the odd copy of The Times on the Kindle now and again, especially when I'm travelling overseas.
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160 of 163 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start but with some teething problems and a few issues, 4 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Times and Sunday Times (Kindle Edition)
The Times and The Sunday Times

First the good points
1 - Articles (in bulk) are a comfortable read for my old eyes. I would not subscribe to the web based nor the ipad versions as I have never found bulk reading comfortable on a screen (I was in the computer industry for over 30 years).
2 - The current day's issue is available first thing in the morning. My hardcopy newspaper frequently arrives a couple of hours later particularly at weekend and during school holidays.
3 - No adverts
4 - Potentially saves a lot of paper!

Teething problems
It is obvious that the Kindle version of The Times is derived from master files by an automatic conversion program. This is still being developed and results in some formatting errors:
1 - In general pictures and charts are not (generally) included. However the captions and some text from graphics (e.g. charts and lists) are included and often lumped together in a meaningless clump of text.
2 - There is an index called "View Section List" which list some of the major sections of "The Times" (e.g. News, Opinion, Features, Letters, etc.). Against each Section there is a count of articles. By selecting on this number each article is listed as title, author and the first couple of lines of text. Then you can select an article of interest. However the number of sections is small and the number of articles can be large (e.g. 38 under Features). Additional sections (e.g. Legal, Weekend, Gardening, etc.) would be helpful.

My issues
1 - Subscription is only for 1 Kindle device (unlike most books). So my wife cannot read one section while I read another (on separate Kindle readers). This is a bigger issue for the Kindle reader as it remembers where you were in reading "The Times". If my wife uses my Kindle to read what interest her I loose my place.
2 - A physical newspaper provides contextual information about the importance the editor gives articles by way of the headline (type size) and the page and placement on the page. This is lost on the Kindle version. All articles have the same weighting.
3 - No Times 2 (for my wife)
4 - No crossword, Su Doko or Polygon
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151 of 155 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Times Kindle Editor should try harder, 19 Jan 2011
This review is from: The Times and Sunday Times (Kindle Edition)
I have been reading the Times on Kindle for about three weeks. I was in South Africa during that time and liked getting the Times each morning. However, at times I found the presentation difficult to follow and felt that the experience was somehow inadequate. So today, 18th January 2011, after returning to the UK, I compared the physical newspaper to the Kindle version.

I accept that the Kindle will look different from the physical newspaper but my review revealed that the Kindle version is dramatically inferior. The newspaper editors have organised the paper in a way that they believe will be logical to the reader and easiest to follow. The individual compiling the Kindle version has no such interest or care.

The Kindle presentation is, of necessity, a sequence of articles. In the paper there may be a main topic with subsidiary articles providing more information or a different slant. In Kindle the subsidiary articles are sometimes presented first without the reference point of the main article e.g. the article in the Sports section entitled `Man who created the monster has no regrets' is preceded by two subsidiary articles called `How game has piled on the pounds' and `The players who set the weekly-wage benchmarks'. The subsidiary articles do not mean as much until one has read the main article.

Articles in Kindle generally follow the order that they are in the paper but many are in a completely different order. Articles that are grouped together on the same page of the paper because of a logical connection are sometimes separated by many other articles. So on pages 6 and 7 there are four articles all linked to David Cameron. In Kindle these four articles are separated by seven other unrelated articles. The four articles on Tunisia on pages 10 and 11 are spread all over Kindle. Hugo Rifkind's Notebook of three articles and David Wighton's five business commentary articles should be respectively grouped together in Kindle but are not.

A disgrace is that twenty eight articles that are in one section in the paper are in a different section in Kindle. I noticed the following:

2 articles in the paper in the Opinion section appear in the Kindle News section
2 articles in the paper in the Business section appear in the Kindle News section
3 articles in the paper in the Sport section appear in the Kindle News section
8 articles in the paper in the Business section appear in the Kindle Features section
1 article in the paper in the You, the editor section appears in the Kindle Letters section
1 article in the paper in the Happy Birthday section appears in the Kindle Letters section
9 articles in the paper in the Daily Universal Register section appear in the Kindle Letters section
1 article in the paper in the News section appears in the Kindle Sport section
1 article in the paper in the Law report section appears in the Kindle Obituaries section

There is no logic to the reclassification of articles from Opinion, Business and Sport to News. It was very confusing to find eight business articles in Features. `You, the editor' and `Happy Birthday' are distinctly different articles at the bottom of the Letters page in the paper but should not be classified in the Letters section in Kindle. The layout of The Daily Universal Register in the paper does not translate easily into the Kindle format but if it was in its own section in Kindle it would be far more understandable than being in Letters. It is appalling that the main article on the plans of an exiled leader to return to Tunisia in the News Section of the paper is in Sport in Kindle and that the Law Report in the paper is in Obituaries in Kindle. This appears to me to be sloppy work by the Kindle editor.

The author of an article is often important. In the paper the author's title or position and, often, their photograph helps the reader to identify the author. In Kindle their name stands alone without any helping identifiers.

It is possible that the paper edition might have been produced earlier in the night than the Kindle edition. That probably explains why there are six articles in Kindle which I can not find in the paper and why the text of some articles differs somewhat and in one case presents a completely different, but presumably, updated version of the news . It does not explain why none of the six articles on page 12 of the paper are in Kindle. I also can't find two articles in Business and one in Sport in the paper in Kindle.

There appears to be no technical reason why photos cannot be included in Kindle. There are, however, only two in this edition in Kindle. Those do not include the most meaningful photos of Justin Webb and his father Peter Woods. I did not recognise the names but recognised the photos so the article made so much more sense in the paper. In the same vein the photos in the Obituaries in the paper are missing from Kindle but are often useful to help identify the person to the reader. The article in T2 `Who cares who won?' is meaningless in Kindle without the photos of the women being discussed.

The Kindle format is far more limiting than the paper format but little effort seems to have been expended by the Kindle editor in helping the reader. Many articles have additional information or comment in boxes or different colours. In Kindle these are just added to the end of the article without their different nature being identified. It should be simple to underline or embolden a heading to make it clear that this text is not just a continuation of the article. A strip of eleven boxes along the top of the Tunisia page entitled `Independence to Insurrection' provides useful information in date order. In Kindle this information is confusing, especially as it is nowhere near the main article. Some large articles in the paper have quotes from the article in blank spaces on that page probably to draw your attention to the article. These quotes are just added to the end of the article in Kindle which is both useless and confusing. Better to drop them completely. In the Letters section, letters on the same subject run into each other where a simple line space between them would clearly show that they are different letters, albeit on the same subject.

Probably because of the difference in formats the following items in the paper are not in Kindle:
1. Most photos
2. Cartoons
3. Graphics which are useful like
a. map of location of possible new London airport
b. the timeline which takes up most of the space in the Airbus article
c. the graphics in the `Players who set the weekly wage benchmark' article
4. Weather maps
5. Weather tables
6. The Markets table
7. Business Markets table
8. Equity prices and Unit Trusts tables
9. Births, Marriages and Deaths
10. Legal Notices
11. Public Notices
12. Horse racing schedule
13. Horse racing results
14. Times Crossword
15. TV and Radio schedule
16. Puzzles
17. Mind Games including Chess, Bridge, Su Doku, other crosswords and games
18. Advertisements including product recalls, Times+, travel, Entertainments, Times subscription offer, The Times Christmas Charity Appeal, Business to Business, new dedicated law section to be included in the paper and normal advertisements for products and services

With some effort many of the above items could be edited or formatted so as to make sense in Kindle. I see that there is now an iPad app for the Crossword but not for Kindle. Advertisers are losing out because interesting advertisements are not getting to Kindle readers. If formatted properly they could make sense in Kindle and could either be included in the run of articles (as one can tab through the advertisement if it is not interesting) or included in a section of their own at the end.

I did not monitor the time that the Kindle edition arrived but it seemed to be before 08h00 London time each morning.

I accept that some features of the paper will never be replicated adequately in Kindle. But I believe that many deficient aspects of the current Kindle edition could be improved or included with a little bit of planning and care of the Kindle editor at The Times. If you are in a foreign country or an invalid in the UK, who cannot get to the shop, then the current Kindle edition of The Times will give you the main stories. But until The Times improves the support they give to their Kindle edition I recommend that UK based readers should not subscribe to the inferior Times edition on Kindle.
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116 of 119 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ...and now it's available, I'm disappointed., 15 Nov 2010
By 
Paul Crisp (Coventry UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Times and Sunday Times (Kindle Edition)
Like others, I was looking forward to being able to read my newspaper in a more convenient and portable format. However, the Kindle version is so inferior to the paper (and internet) version that I don't think I shall continue with it. As others have noticed, QA is very poor. The most noticeable consequence is random text insertions and a lack of differentiation between sub-heads and body text. The total absence of graphical elements is more than a cosmetic thing - the big slugs of text, unbroken by anything else, are hard to consume. But the biggest thing for me is that chunks of the paper are missing. The Times doesn't included T2 (but, bizarrely, DOES include other suppliments like the property pages) and half the paper is missing from the ST.

If I subscribe to the internet digital edition, I also get the mobile one. The Kindle version seems to be stand alone (so I have to pay again for digital editions in other formats). On top of this, I still get - and pay for - the printed edition.

Not enough content - or value IMHO.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Behind the Times, 28 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Times and Sunday Times (Kindle Edition)
I was very disappointed to discover this is not the standard UK version of the Times. There are several key parts of the paper missing. With all the advertising blurb in every edition for the i paper I had assumed that the Times would be leading the charge on the Kindle too. Sad to have to report that this is not so.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Recipe for a Kindle newspaper, 25 Jan 2011
This review is from: The Times and Sunday Times (Kindle Edition)
Take a UK daily newspaper (Times, Telegraph, Independent, Mail) get a sharp knife and cut out the photos, maps, diagrams and other graphics, the TV and radio guides, the sports results, fixture lists and league tables, the cartoons, crosswords, sudoku, the supplements and magazines, the city prices, the weather forecast, the adverts, the reader offers and some of the story headings. Put what is left through a fine sieve to remove any ornamentation, flourish or design flair, typographic embellishments, puffs, teasers and so on. Then take the remainder and put it through a mangle, leaving in references to non-existent photos, messing around with the capital letters and word spacing, throwing in a few random line returns for good measure. You should be left with a bland mush, devoid of flavour and seasoning.

Serves 4 now ... but, considering the lengths they go to make their titles look good in print, do the publishers realise how shabby they look on the Kindle? Do they realise there will be 19 million in use by the end of this year, and that it might be worth developing and promoting their products on this platform? Is it not worth investing at least a tenth of the effort that is going into their tablet editions?

This is a wake-up call to Amazon and the newspaper publishers jointly to exploit this window of opportunity for their mutual benefit and to give us Kindle subscribers a much better reading experience.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fuming over release of personal data, 30 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Times and Sunday Times (Kindle Edition)
I was already disappointed with the presentation of the Kindle version of the Times, but when I searched (so far, without any success) for the way to cancel the trial I came across the bit that informs you that Amazon have shared your personal information with the publishers and given permission for them to use it for third party marketers.

Having never come across 'small print' in any of my previous downloads to the Kindle, fairly unsurprisingly I didn't think to check before downloading this trial directly via the Kindle whether in doing so I was giving up my right to privacy of personal information. And now that it is too late and I have discovered this, I see that in any case there is not even an opt out clause. is that even legal? So, basically, if you want a free trial of this substandard effort, you must allow your personal information to be sold on the open market. How dare Amazon do this? I am so angry. Please bear this in mind before you consider downloading a free trial - although if you are reading this I guess it means that you are already on the online site rather than browsing the Kindle shop, so can see the information on marketing for yourself. This is not a luxury afforded to us poor trusting direct downloaders as the information only comes up if you start searching for it. I think I'll post the junk mail on to Amazon when it starts arriving.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just an afterthought, 27 Jan 2011
This review is from: The Times and Sunday Times (Kindle Edition)
Didn't even complete the trial. Poor layout, virtually no images. Too many spelling and layout mistakes. Don't bother!
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle let down by content, 11 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Times and Sunday Times (Kindle Edition)
I have to agree with the views that the Times - and other newspapers - are not acceptable as the are currently published, and I too will not continue after the free trial.

The content is badly formatted (tabular data is totally unreadable!), and things like the weekend magasines not being included is very poor.

What makes it really bad is that Amazon are not taking an active interest in this. The Times actually told me that it is Amazon's fault "they provide the edition, we have no control over format..."

Lastly - The Times clearly does not understand digital content. I asked how I could access the online edition as a subscriber (and the kindle version is currently more expensive than the online edition!!). I was told that they are separate, and again "Amazon sell the kindle edition so we are unable to do anything about it". Totally bizarre!

So - I'll go back to free news via the Kindle browser.

Amazon and The Times should get their collective act together...

Update:

I asked the Times why the Kindle quality is poor, and why the subscription does not include online content. Apparently it's all Amazon's fault:

"Please note as this product is operated directly by Amazon, Times+ members will not have this product included with their subscription and we are unable to offer technical support.

Should you require any further information or assistance on this product, please contact Amazon customer services."

So - Amazon - care to comment on this?!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Functionality/content problems and subscription rip-off, 17 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Times and Sunday Times (Kindle Edition)
While I would like to be able to read The Times on my Kindle (several people have mentioned the convenience of having the more readable screen), I have been trying the Kindle subscription of The Times for a week now, and have decided that I will not be proceeding to subscribe to the full paid version, for two main reasons;

1. There seem to be functionality problems when loading the paper on Kindle, which frequently cause my Kindle to crash (5 out of 7 mornings)
2. Based on the digital subscription I already pay for with The Times, this is not good value for money, and would need to be paid for in addition to my digital subscription

For those that are interested, see full details for each of the above below...

1. Loading The Times onto my Kindle seems to make it crash; 5 out of 7 mornings I've had problems (slow loading, screen freeze, pages not turning, home/back buttons not working, etc.) and had to re-start my Kindle more than once to resolve each incident. I've tested this on several other books, and everything else works smoothly and quickly so I can only conclude this is a problem with The Times itself, rather than my Kindle

2. Previous reviewers list in detail problems with the content available on the Kindle edition, so I won't replicate this. What I will say is that my 8 a month digital subscription to The Times comes with the full online paper and an iphone/ipad app for free, as well as access to additional Times content such as Times jobs, Times + (freebies and discounts), and the ability to access the full Times archive via digital search. Compared to the more expensive Kindle edition which misses all of this additional functionality and a lot of the content, it really doesn't make sense to purchase the Kindle edition on top of my digital package

I'm particularly confused as to why News International provide free apps and access for iphone/ipad users who have digital subscriptions, yet Kindles can't be linked in to existing digital subscriptions... I'd be really interested to know if this is a News International decision, or if it's Amazon that charge this excessive price - answers on a postcard?!

Hope that this is useful for those considering a subscription - unless you've got problems reading The Times onscreen, and are therefore willing to pay more money for a significantly reduced package compared to what's available through The Times digi subscription, I'd strongly recommend not signing up to the Kindle edition of The Times.
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