Top critical review
95 people found this helpful
Great text implemented inelegantly
on 18 January 2011
I really like the ESV text so why the 2 stars? Because of issues to do with formatting and navigation. I use Kindle 3 (I do not know if my comments apply to other Kindle models) and here is what I have found:
- It is hard to know which book of the bible you are in. The chapter headings consist of chapter and verse number only (e.g. 5:1) and if you press the menu button (which is the usual way of finding the book name) hoping to see Isaiah or whatever, you will instead see "The Holy Bible English Standa..." which you probably knew anyway. How do I know if the 5:1 at the top of the screen means Isaiah 5:1 or Jeremiah 5:1? It would be better if the start of each chapter identified the book name (or its abbreviation) alongside the chapter and verse.
- Similarly, bookmarks do not identify the book that they are in. I keep seven bookmarks - one for each day of the week. When I look at the list of bookmarks I see the location number (Kindle's equivalent of page number) and a few lines of text from that location. It would be so useful to see, for example, Ps 51:3 alongside the location number.
- With some Kindle e-books pressing the right or left arrows on the 5-Way controller takes you to the next or previous chapter respectively. On the ESV this doesn't work. It would be useful if it did.
- To my eye the section headings are disproportionately big compared to the font size of the text. It would be aesthetically more pleasing if they were smaller.
- If a chapter starts with a section heading and you use the table of contents to go to that chapter, the section heading will be on the previous page. This is especially significant in Psalms. When using the Table of Contents to go to Psalm 57, for example, the top of the screen shows "57:1 Be merciful to me, O God..." and only by going to the previous page do I read (in extra large font - see above) "Let Your Glory Be over All the Earth To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Mitkam  of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave." The Table of Contents should point to the location of the chapter heading which is not the same as the first verse.
- The footnote marks consist of square brackets around a 1, 2, or 3 digit number, underlined, and in the same font-size as the text. This is obtrusive; and accessing the footnote is more complicated than it could be. Currently if you are reading a verse containing a footnote and want to access the footnote you have to: move the cursor onto the footnote mark, press the 5-Way which then displays the relevant page of the footnote list, read the footnote, and then press Back to come back to the text. A better way would be for footnotes to be accessed in the same way that word definitions are from the dictionary. With all Kindle books putting the cursor in front of a word brings up a small window showing that word's entry in the dictionary. It would be excellent if a similar system could be used for footnotes, so that putting the cursor in front of the footnote symbol caused the footnote to appear in a small window. This would allow you to see the footnote and the text at the same time (as you can on paper bibles) and also permit the bulky footnote mark to be replaced with a less obtrusive symbol.
Finally be aware that it is not possible navigate to a specific verse by typing the book, chapter and verse reference (something that many people will want to do in an electronic bible). Instead, if I want to find Luke 2.17, for example, I need press Menu, Select Go to.., Select "table of contents" in the "Go to" window, Page forwards twice to get to the page containing Luke, Select Luke, Select "Chapter 2", and finally page forwards twice to verse 17. Phew.
In summary this is the excellent ESV text with unaesthetic formatting, within which it is cumbersome to navigate and easy to get lost. I wish the publishers had paid as much attention to the structure and appearance of the text on the Kindle Screen as they have done in their paper editions and given more thought to the ways people might want to use the bible on their Kindles.