“Jump gestures” for e-books

So in thinking about more use cases for traditional books and e-books, I came up with one that would be incredibly useful to have in e-book readers. I’ll use the Kindle App as an example, since that is where I do 97% of my e-book reading.

Let’s say you are reading, oh, I don’t know, George R. R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows. You have the physical book in your hand. Your reading a passage referring to some geographical point of interest so you flip quickly to the map and then back to the passage you were reading. Very easy to do in a physical book. Not so easy in an e-book.

In my Kindle App, there are a couple of ways I can do this:

  1. I can go to the table of contents, click the map, take a look at it, and then click the Back button a few times to get back to where I was in the text.
  2. I can bookmark the map, jump to the bookmark, look at the map, and then return to where I was in the text.

The problem is that each of these methods take at least 3 click to get to the map.

I think a very useful feature would be to be able to assign a single bookmark to a “jump gesture.” It would work like this:

  1. I bookmark the map page and assign that bookmark to my jump gesture.
  2. As I’m reading, when I want to refer to the map, I use the “gesture” (whatever that gesture might be, maybe a 3 fingered backward swipe, it really doesn’t matter) and I am instantly on the map. All I have to do is that swipe. To get back to where I was in the text: repeat the gesture.

This gesture acts as a toggle and would let me get to the reference point as quickly as I could in the traditional book. And of course, it would apply to other things than just maps. Maybe there is a passage you want to keep referring back to. Assign that bookmark to the jump gesture and you can swipe to it instantly.

I can’t imagine this would be a difficult gesture to implement. Maybe it’s just me but I would make heavy use of this feature if it was available.

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

One reply on ““Jump gestures” for e-books”

  1. Maps are a problem for ebooks in general, because unless you are reading on a big computer screen, its certainly going to be smaller than even what a MMPB offers in terms of size and scale.

    And as you know, I’m cartographilic, so this has been a dilemma for me.

    Better ebook software is a must, especially for map lovers.

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