Citing a Kindle book with no page numbers

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eevande's picture
Citing a Kindle book with no page numbers

Dear EE,

I searched for this topic on the site, yet couldn't find it.

I am using a Kindle book as a source, but it has no page numbers, only locations. Would it be "safe" to use the location of my reference in my citation, perhaps specifying that it is a location, such as "location 253" (shortened to "loc. 253" in subsequent short notes) with all else for electronic book citation remaining equal? Clearly, I can't use a page number.

Thoughts and input appreciated.


EE's picture

Yes, eevande, with "flowable" electronic books (as opposed to those that are image-based or PDF'd with pagination preserved) the standard advice is to cite the digital "location" rather than the physical page.

However, this method does not always work. Devices with flowable text also allow us to enlarge and decrease the size of the text. The larger the print, the more "screens" there will be to a book. The best e-readers will assign a "location" to a block of text or a block of original pages, regardless of the font size. Some do not.

One cautious approach is to cite the location range and then add a note quoting a distinctive phrase. For example,

range 237–-240 for the phrase "People lie; DNA doesn't."

The Editor