What digital version of Infinite Jest should I buy? Kindle or iPad
June 25, 2010 5:09 PM   Subscribe

Infinite Jest: should I buy the Kindle or Apple iBooks version? Specifically, I'm worried about footnote support. Naturally, I have an iPad so I have the luxury to choose!
posted by Hammerikaner to Writing & Language (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I do not have the iBooks version, but I do have the Kindle version and the footnotes work fine (you click on them it takes you to the footnote where there's a back to text link). I prefer the Kindle app as you can set the background to black with the text being white, I find that it is a lot less eye strain for long reading sessions. I also think the layout of Kindle books is nicer, it doesn't try to emulate a book like iBooks does.
posted by geoff. at 5:20 PM on June 25, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks I also figure that being relatively new to DFW, it would be cool to see what others have underlined as key passages.
posted by Hammerikaner at 5:28 PM on June 25, 2010

Response by poster: Sample won't show footnotes... There are links to them but you cant actually access them.

But the Infinite Jest sample is impressively large at 100+ pages!
posted by Hammerikaner at 5:57 PM on June 25, 2010

I love my Kindle but I've always thought footnotes on it were a nightmare -- even the clickable kind. Navigating up and down the page with the little cursor makes me want to hurl myself + Kindle out the window; can't imagine reading something like Infinite Jest, where the footnotes are actually important.
posted by eugenen at 6:08 PM on June 25, 2010

Since you're reading on an iPad, the footnotes for Kindle edition are definitely the way to go. The Kindle app does a great job of actually being useful compared to the iBooks app which is more concerned with looking pretty.
posted by anotherfluke at 7:14 PM on June 25, 2010

Just to clarify, are you referring to the Kindle app for iPad, or an actual Kindle?
posted by InsanePenguin at 8:15 PM on June 25, 2010

I just got the iBooks version and the footnotes work fine; just as described on the Kindle. Click on the number and go to the note, then click "back to text" to return to where you were.
posted by TedW at 8:37 PM on June 25, 2010

I have both, and I prefer reading Infinite Jest in iBooks. The Kindle app does something weird when jumping back from footnotes to the main text.
posted by sudama at 8:39 PM on June 25, 2010

it would be cool to see what others have underlined as key passages.

Well, last year IJ was read collectively during the Infinite Summer. You'll find everything about what others think is important there, and many discussions about that as well.
posted by ijsbrand at 1:35 AM on June 26, 2010

I really think the book is a unique experience that you would be missing out on with a Kindle or ipad....I've read IJ a few times.
posted by nevercalm at 5:00 AM on June 26, 2010

Response by poster: Ijsbrand, thanks I bought Infinite Jest paperback with the intention to read it during Infinite Summer but fell far behind. The size of the thing makes it so tough to take anywhere! Now that an ex has possession of it, I doubt I will seem it again, hence looking for the best digital version. I will have to keep infinite summer bookmarked and ready to roll while reading. I bet page numbers won't correspond at all though...
posted by Hammerikaner at 6:51 AM on June 26, 2010

If the page numbers don't match the dead tree edition, you'll have a hard time following online commentaries. I, personally, would be more worried about the ability to mark up the copy and bookmark it like crazy than I would how I got to the footnotes.
posted by chairface at 1:01 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sorry this is a month late, but I regret to inform you that the "Popular Highlights" feature (which indeed would be nice to see) is disabled for Infinite Jest.

Also mildly annoying: the highlighting and notetaking features are available, but you can only see those notes and highlights within the Kindle device or app. (Other books allow you to export highlights and notes as plain-text.)

I wrote a whole long critique of reading Infinite Jest on the Kindle last night, and @eugenen is right that using the joystick to navigate to footnotes is a major pain in the butt.

I have a 1st-Gen iPhone that I downloaded the Kindle app to and tried reading Jest on. Aside from the tiny screen (obviously not an issue on the iPad), it was quite usable, and being able to just tap on the footnotes was a way better experience vs. the Kindle. In fact, I may have sold myself on an iPad, except for the fact that I refuse to pay that much money for something I'll have to fight the rest of my family (2 kids and a wife) just to read a book on. Also, distractions.

OTOH, this is the furthest I've ever gotten in the book (I've had the paperbook sitting around for 12 years), and I actually made good progress before even finding out about Infinite Summer.
posted by notyoutoo at 6:07 PM on July 31, 2010

Oh, my Infinite Jest on Kindle notes: http://www.darryl.com/permalink.php?blurb=kindlenotes

(Yeah, I should use a real blogging platform w/ comments. I've been saying that for oh, about 10 years now.)
posted by notyoutoo at 6:08 PM on July 31, 2010

And apparently Amazon just updated the Kindle iPad/iPhone app today to include a built-in dictionary look-up, and searching. http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/202266/amazon_updates_kindle_app_with_inline_dictionary_more.html

Crud. I think this means I have to buy an iPad. Although I can't think of many other books that I'll be reading that have all these requirements re: footnotes and notetaking.
posted by notyoutoo at 10:38 PM on July 31, 2010

Correction: Popular Highlights is *not* disabled for Infinite Jest, but because the book has an insane "clipping limit" of something like 10 "clips", so you can only see the 10 most popular highlighted passages. It's pretty much useless.
posted by notyoutoo at 1:51 AM on August 2, 2010

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