November 4, 2010

Notes, introductions, explanatory notes, and other things the Kindle classics lack

So I've downloaded about 70 free classics onto my Kindle. The text is there, alright. One can read the old, public domain works and get lots and lots of stellar insights and education from them. But something that's missing from all the ones I've looked at so far? The notes.

Yes, the notes. The introductions. The forwards. The scholars who elucidated the author's life and purpose, who discussed where this work stood in comparison to the rest of the author's works, and the rest of the world's works, for that matter.

Now, I know this was the most boring thing to read in high school--at least, it was for me. I couldn't wait to skip what this boring person said and just get on with the story. But lately, I've been gobbling them up. All the introductions, all the forwards, all the footnotes. I've been in a frenzy to learn absolutely everything I can able every author I read (evidenced by the fact that I'm actually reading the introductory notes to Mark Twain's Autobiography, which run through the first 200 or so pages of the book), which is why I'm disappointed that the Kindle free classics do not come with such text.

Obviously this makes sense and there's no other way it could have been done (since it all stems from the public domain/not public domain question), but I'm still sad to see my additional notes disappear. Anyone else? Or am I just the only nerd out there?

PS: I got my Kindle cover. And it's awesome. Yay!


  1. I bought the complete works of William Shakespeare for my Kindle. The biggest problem about reading Shakespeare on the Kindle is that the dictionary doesn't include definitions (or the older definitions) of words that meant something different in Shakespeare's day, so I'm missing the full richness of his language. On the other hand, I'm actually reading it (I'm on my fifth play so far), so that's more than what I'm doing with my big hardcover tome, with notes, that's collecting dust on my bookshelf.

  2. @Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

    Oof! That is some serious reading material you have there. And I completely agree--the notes/different definitions are so valuable when you're reading Shakespeare.

    How does it show up on the page? I've heard from a few that poetry formatting does funky things on the Kindle, especially when you enlarge/reduce the size of the text.