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Looking Up Movie Info, E-Book Style

Looking Up Movie Info, E-Book Style

I am never an early adopter when it comes to technology, so I’ve been wary of the eBook trend, even though I received a Kindle as a Christmas gift several years ago. But now Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide is available in both Kindle and Nook formats so I felt I ought to give them a test drive. I must admit I’m pleased with the results, but I should also confess that it took time to figure out the secret to working with the book in these new platforms.

When I first tried the Search function on a friend’s brand-new Kindle Fire, I was disappointed. It takes much more time than I’m accustomed to, though of course, I’m spoiled by the rapid delivery on the iPhone app, which I’ll get to later. What’s more, if you punch in “Maltese” you not only get The Maltese Falcon (both 1931 and 1941 versions) but every other reference to Maltese in the 1,600 page book.

The solution is to use the navigation tools instead of the Search feature: readers who have used reference works in eBook form know that the Table of Contents is your friend. Once you click on the appropriate letter in the ToC, the location info and progress bar at the bottom of the screen allow you to glide anywhere from A to Z instantaneously.

It turns out that the Search function on my early generation Kindle is quite a bit faster, but it doesn’t search just the book; it searches your entire Kindle, so if you have a number of film books, you’ll end up with a quite a list of results. 

My computer guru, Jeanne McCafferty, also recommended that I download the Kindle app on my desktop; she assured me the Search function would be much faster there, and indeed it was. (Something about processor speed, I think she said.)  As it turned out, this opened up a world I never dreamed of. Not only do I now have electronic access to my own massive book, but I can highlight names or passages and make permanent notes on any entry I choose. Over the years, many people have told me they make notations in the margins of my paperback; this allows you to do the same thing. (The Kindle app is available for download to PC, Mac, iPad, and various phone formats; and any books you purchase are available on any of your devices.)

I’m sure that in time we’ll find even better ways to adopt the content of my Guide to the eBook format, but I’m pleased to spread the word about this first iteration.

As for the iPhone app, the folks at MobileAge are about to unveil the new 2013 Guide in that format, with a number of improvements. Stay tuned for further word.

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