If I were reviewing the print version of the TLS I would give it five stars for its stimulating, erudite, and eclectic content.
However, the Kindle edition has a number of problems:
There are numerous formatting errors, several in almost every article. These include missing hyphens which cause run-on words, missing spaces, and other typos. For example it took me a while to work out what the Terry Eagleton book ONEVIL was actually called [a recent example is "The Iron Road" becoming THEIR ONROAD]. Letters with circumflexes, etc., are not converted properly so Eastern European names in particular are often mangled.
The title of the book under review is sometimes missing. If you're lucky, it will be repeated in the review itself, otherwise you're on your own. The names of authors and reviewers often aren't consistently distinguished and will swap position from review to review. So unless the author's or reviewer's name is a familiar one, you have to wait for a mention in the text to work out which is which.
Large chunks of quoted text aren't marked as such, e.g. by indentation; therefore it's often difficult to work out whether one is reading a reviewer or a quoted author. Italics also aren't reproduced which is particularly irritating if the reviewer has written 'my emphasis' or 'italics added'.
Finally none of the pictures in the print edition are included (unlike in the Kindle edition of the New York Review of Books or London Review of Books, for example). Even black and white pictures would greatly enhance the articles.
[15/09/2013 Two years on, nothing has changed, so I've changed my rating from three stars to one. This week, on top of everything else, all the 'j's were capitalized, leading to words such as 'BenJamin', 'enJoyable', etc.]
[14/11/2015 I have been using the iPad app which was much better, except now I am unable to download any issues despite paying a monthly subscription. TLS have ignored my emails and other reviews show this is a common problem and response. I am going to cancel my subscription and endeavour to receive a refund for the unread issues. I would advise others to think carefully before giving money to this company as it's a gamble whether you will receive anything in return and their customer service is disgraceful.]
on 13 September 2014
I have no problem with the content of this magazine. It is a top quality review of books. The problem is with the Kindle version, which only works on the Kindle White, and not on the tablet or phone app. It is also poorly designed, such that it is difficult to navigate and so rather unpleasant to use.
on 11 December 2013
Amended to reflect the more recent experience. As others note, this edition is still garbled. Clearly the TLS don't elect to proof this in any way, and it is pretty tedious to wade through errors clearly made by the automation producing this product.
That said, I still prefer this edition to the paper one for the reason that it is always in stock, and the essence of the writing survives. I imagine that if it were a joy to read I might become a subscriber.
As I write, the edition generally has all of the issues text. Pictures are omitted, poetry formatting can be hit and miss (although the latter is perhaps hard on a screen with variable font sizes), and from time to time gremlins strike and render text unpleasant as noted elsewhere.
That said, the great articles, reviews and essays are all here, and (best of all) it's always in stock on the kindle store. I don't subscribe, but I do buy an issue whenever I'm in the mood for the reading. Before the kindle edition, this was subject to the vagaries of finding the TLS in stock. Now I can buy whenever I want.