The Current state of Bible reading on the Kindle

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One of the reasons I bought a Kindle was to allow me to carry my Bible with me and read it anywhere. So far it has been a blessing in this regard. Without needing to grab a specific version or carry additional books when I want to read something else the Kindle allows me to have my Bible with me at all times. I have a Great pitt-minion Cambridge bible that I had been carrying for quite some time that has served me well, but the kindle is an adequate substitute.

Why only adequate? Mainly because so far none of the publishers have had time to release a version that makes use of the Kindle’s ability to hyperlink anything and create a wonderful wiki-like experience. So what is it like right now? If you want to read it is wonderful, I love the single column and the ability to adjust the font is a great feature that has allowed me to rest my eyes from the strain I used to have with my little Cambridge Pitt-minion (The name is from the smaller 9 pt font face and location it originated) NASB I carried before. The shortcoming is if you want to hop over to a parallel passage or even know exactly where you currently are in the text. The NET version is superior to either NIV in it’s embedding of the existing chapter and verse throughout, but it lacks the links to actually get to the chapter from the book opening page, so if you want to get to chapter 10 of 1st corinthians your paging quite a while to eventually get there. In either of the NIV versions the chapters are located under the book name and then at each chapter.

TNIVLook

So between the NIV and the Today’s NIV the later has better typesetting currently, in the standard NIV the chapter numbers are the same font and size as the regular text and that makes it difficult to pick out where the chapters begin. Additionally in the TNIV the book headings and chapter hints are set off in a different font and I think it looks a little better. I have high hopes that when the publishers do an update that we will be able to benefit from the ability to re-download the versions to our kindles and have a change made by the publishers reflected. This is contrary to how real books work, you buy a book with a typo and it’s there forever. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I am currently working with two very special fellows over at Bible.org to produce an improved readers edition, the current one is only .99 at amazon and does not have the chapter links yet but at least is available. I have some ideas on how to make the experience better that I hope to test this week and then describe to Todd and Dave. If you have not tried the NET translation I would recommend buying it at the current .99 cent price and using it to simply read the bible as I am currently. The folks over at Bible.org are not trying to profit from the sale of this quality translation and even if the ability to release updates is not available I plan to purchase multiple copies to support their efforts in the ministry of spreading a translation that is available for free for teaching and instruction. If you want to see a number of pictures of the three versions I have tried with comments click on this link to see my photo page of Kindle Bibles.

Check in with your experiences at the discussion pages or here in the comments.

Comments

18 Responses to “The Current state of Bible reading on the Kindle”
  1. iMav says:

    This was posted Dec 12th of last year. Is there a better NET version for the Kindle currently available today?

    When you say there is no ToC, does that mean you cannot navigate to specific book/chapter/verse? And, if not, how is Bible translation at all useful on the Kindle (aside for the obvious start-at-the-beginning-and-start-reading)??

  2. Kathy Ewing says:

    I’m delighted to find another Kindle devotee interested in the current state of the bible on Kindle. When I read at home, I prefer to have several translations, a decent commentary for the book I’m reading, bible dictionary, plus prayer notebook and pen. Obviously, I have to have a nest for all that. I do not expect Kindle at this early stage to offer all the “helps.” Having your review comparing the NIV and TNIV is helpful. What I’m really looking for is a Bible in a Year in any translation. That sort of format is readable when I’m away from home and a valuable adjunct to my personal quiet time. Have you heard any “talk” about offering one of the Bible in a Year formats for the Kindle? If not, would it be best for me to contact Bible.org.? I have no idea where to start.

    God bless,

    Kathy

  3. Bible Verses says:

    Superior post.Preserve the smashing work,You should definitely have to keep updating your site

  4. osnova says:

    We have just released what we believe is the most useful electronic Bible currently available on the Kindle for $1.99. For the first time, it incorporates the Direct Verse Jump navigation method.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002TG4P8Q

    To get a free sample and to learn how to use all of its features, please visit:

    http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?p=631067

  5. Clint says:

    I know this is an older post, but how about an update on the blog about this topic? Do you use the Kindle for bible reading more than a regular one at this point? Have you tried the ESV Study Bible for Kindle? I’m intrigued by that one, because that’s the one I use regularly in book form. The idea of having that (which is very, very thick and heavy) on a Kindle seems amazing, but I wonder how the experience of going between the text and study notes will work.

  6. osnova says:

    Clint,

    After my version of KJV (see above), I have just finished converting the NET Bible with all of its 60,000 notes (Greek text and all) to the Kindle format with the Direct Verse Jump navigation. They will be posting it soon to Amazon. If ESV does something similar (or if they ask me to do it), navigation cannot be easier. Each note is hyperlinked within the text. Once you finish reading the note, you can return to the text by pressing “Back” In my version, all cross-references in the notes are hyperlinked to the main text, so it is much easier to jump from verse to verse just by following the hyperlinks and then returning to where you started by pressing “Back.” If you need a new starting position, all you need to do is enter something like “jn.3.16″ or “1co.13.4″ in the search window and press twice on the “find” icon and you are there.

  7. Thomas says:

    Here is a free version of the KJV for Kindle. It does have navigation for books and chapters. Sufficient for my uses. If I am going to preach I’ll take my “real” Bible.

    http://believingthomas.org/uncategorized/bible-kjv-in-kindle-format-for-free

  8. C Barnard says:

    I am looking for a bible for the Kindle in Hebrew as well as English. Any suggestions?

  9. Jared says:

    What you’re looking for is an interlinear Bible. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find a good interlinear for the Kindle. However, there are many good resources available as a hardback or paperback.

    Interlinear Bibles at Amazon

  10. anthony Baker says:

    Oh this is a real blessing I found this page. I was so dissapointed when I recieved my Kindle. The very first thing i did was download the NKJV Bible and start reading but was then smacked in the face with the navigational nightmare of working your wat around books and chapters and verses. ugh! Very daunting and extremely lacking in fnctionality. I mean, how does one even find Romans 1:5 for example. Jumping straight to a book, chapter and verse…? impossible! Then when you finally are in the scripture you want to be in, there is nothing on the top of the page telling me where I am, just a criptic location number. Very dissapointing. Bible reading is the only reason why I bought the Kindle in the first place.

    At first I was thinking this was the lack of the Kindle. But I am seeing now after reading the above, some of it is because of the bible kindle version itself. osnova , thanks for posting those links. I will check that out immediately and hope it helps. Right now I hate my Kindle. Hoping that will change.

    The font adjusting and the way the text looks on the screen is fabulous but the navigation is a nightmare.

  11. anthony Baker says:

    osnova, Very cool that you can verse jump and chapter navigate. Looks so much better. Buying that now. By any chance are there different versions of the bible with these features? I really like the NKJV and The Message versions.

    Thanks!

  12. Halo says:

    Found a free web site that can download the entire Torah/Tanakh – Biblia Hebrica Westminster/Lenningrad- pdf file , plus some other Hebrew texts at http://www.bibles.org.uk/ It gives a variety of font styles as well which is great .

    No tables of contents, so you have to “scroll” through the entire text (very biblical lol) but it’s a start . Just have to Bookmark the books instead for the Kindle 3

    Regards

    Halo

  13. C Barnard and Halo,

    Miklal Software Solutions has overcome the Kindle’s limitations with regard to Hebrew and right-to-left and has produced a Kindle Hebrew Bible in Amazon’s store as well as a Nook Hebrew Bible.

    From the book’s description at Amazon:

    Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) is a complete Hebrew Bible in an aesthetically pleasing Hebrew script. It contains all of the consonants, vowels, cantillation marks (accents), and other symbols. It follows the text of the Leningrad Codex as digitized by the J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research. This is the same manuscript underlying Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) and Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ).

    From a review on BarnesAndNoble.com:

    “One could not ask for a more visually pleasing text from which to read the Hebrew Bible.”

    ~Drayton Benner,
    President, Miklal Software Solutions

  14. I have no idea why you say my Hebrew Bible editions have no Table of Content. Of course they do. In fact, two of them — one embedded as a “bookmark tree” (a hierarchical navigation tree of book/chapter/verse levels) and a traditional one typeset on a page with page numbers implemented as hyperlinks. Sadly, Kindle’s pdf viewer doesn’t support PDF hyperlinks, so to go to a particular page you have to enter the page number. And neither does it support bookmark trees (aka “outlines”), unlike Sony or Hanlin V3.

    Ah, I understand. You assumed that this is missing from my editions when in actual fact it is the feature missing from Kindle’s support for PDF.

    I have typeset about 200 Bible editions (some of these optimized for Kindle) in English, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Syriac, Aramaic, Slavonic, Armenian, Russian and a dozen or so other languages. Most are freely available, some are not. You can request a DVD with the whole lot for FREE, just visit http://www.bibles.org.uk for instructions…

  15. Ewowt says:

    I read (I know OLD); however, someone mentioned “the message” version. Please, don’t take my word for it, research and discover that this verssion is “evil” and should NOT be used. It is NOT a bible, it is filled with non-scriptual, unsound verbiage. I know, I recognized some of the text from when I was NOT christian… I repeat it is not a bible and also, scripture warns against adding to or removing from God’s Word. FYI, May God bless you and the Holy Spirit convict you.

  16. sam says:

    What is so hard about carrying a copy of the new world translation of the Bible for the 7,000,000 members of the Kingdom Hall. After all it is a world wide congregation & we read our Bible every day, please consider doing this, I’m sure that all of Jehovahs witnesses will love it. p.s. did you know that we are united world wide, & we all try to follow the Bible
    as closly as possible. We don’t have any that branch out, because Jehovah has only one set of rules, and they are all in the Bible. THINK about it.

    Sam.

  17. Jared says:

    Sam, because the new world translation is a mistranslation. One of the most notable differences in your “bible” is in the book of John, since it injects the article “a” (and the word was a God), which knocks Jesus down from his rightful place as God incarnate.

    If you’d like to have a sincere conversation and discuss this further, indicate such in the comments and I’ll contact you via email.

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