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Kindles - Do you like using guidebooks on them?


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: May 12th, 2010
Location: Bellingham, Washington, USA

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  • Added on: April 21st, 2011
Are you using a Kindle or other e-reader to replace your paperback guidebook? Do you like it? What do you like? What is not so great?

I love marking up my guidebooks and putting little post-it flags on pages of interest. On the other hand I carried 4 guidebooks from home in my backpack for a 7 month trip which wasn't so cool. The kindle sure is lighter, but I'm loath to leave behind my beloved guidebooks.

Tell me what you like/don't like about your e-reader (for guidebooks).


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: December 18th, 2010

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  • Added on: April 23rd, 2011
I'm interested in hearing what anyone has to say about this as well since I considered on my last trip, but decided against it in the end.
I use my kindle almost everyday, and I really like it for reading through books. But I could see it being a real hassle when it comes to finding a hostel address while on the go. I also like flipping around in my guide book and scanning pages when picking out the next destination, and that just isn't possible with the Kindle.


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Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 181
Joined: January 25th, 2010
Location: Portland, OR

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  • Added on: April 24th, 2011
I've been using guidebooks on the Kindle for a couple years now, and though I can't say I like it, it's definitely better than the alternative.

On my three month Europe trip, I was carrying around a bunch of different (and heavy) guidebooks, and trying to find new/used ones while on the road was a hassle. I wasted cumulative days on this, and spent way more than I would've had to if I could buy it from the Kindle Store.

Kindle guidebooks are cheap, usually under $10, and of course take up no extra space or weight. However, they're poorly formatted unless you get Lonely Planet PDFs, but even then it's not properly suited for the smallish Kindle screen. It's not as easy to flip through, and maps are next to useless.

If you're only visiting one place, and just need one guidebook, then I'd probably go with that. But I never just visit one place, and I often need several guidebooks, and a Kindle or other electronic device is pretty much essential at this point, despite its drawbacks.

Ultimately, for me it comes down to weight. My Kindle weighs 6 oz, and will never get any heavier. I can carry thousands of books, both for pleasure and for reference. It's pretty much essential for me.


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Guidebook Dependent
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Joined: January 31st, 2011

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  • Added on: April 24th, 2011
Has anyone tried guidebooks on an iPad?
Europe for 3 months, Summer '11: http://theelephantvanishes.wordpress.com/


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: December 28th, 2010

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  • Added on: May 5th, 2011
I like the pictures in guidebooks :D which I guess wouldn't look so pretty on a Kindle. I don't actually have one, but am thinking of downloading a couple of "backup" guidebooks to the app on my smartphone when I go away next, then if real books/maps/reliable local info cannot be easily found, it'll be a handy reference. I probably would choose those guides such as "South East Asia" or "South America" instead of country specific ones though. I reckon a few phrasebooks would be good on there too. :D


Street Food Connoisseur
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Joined: March 23rd, 2008

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  • Added on: May 12th, 2011
I don't usually use guidebooks, but I got Lonely Planet China on my Kindle as an attempt to get my brother more involved with the trip etc (it sort of worked).

Honestly the lack of weight alone makes it pretty awesome, but it's definitely easier to flip to a section easily in the paper versions, and don't expect to rely much on the maps because it's not what Kindles are designed for. So if you're more a person who just likes an overview then yep, go Kindle, but if maps or the ability to flip around and stumble onto something is a priority I'd rethink. (It should be noted though that all references to other cities etc are cross-linked.)

But then if you have the Kindle you can just go onto wikitravel.og for free so that's also an option. ;)


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 267
Joined: September 26th, 2007
Location: San Cristobal Mexico currently

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  • Added on: May 12th, 2011
I don't have a kindle but i do use guidebooks on my laptop. I prefer regular ones but bulk and weight preclude carrying them so I've adjusted.
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!

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