The ESV is now available on Kindle, the new ebook reader from Amazon, for $9.99.
Wayne at Better Bibles Blog noted that the ESV wasn’t available when Kindle launched. The main reason is that we wanted to test the ESV on an actual Kindle to provide the best possible experience of the ESV on Kindle.
The only published review on Amazon of another Kindle Bible proved helpful in this regard. T. Heyn mentions some limitations of an existing Kindle Bible: chapter numbers don’t stand out; you can’t search for a specific verse; Jesus’ words are in gray; and there are no notes or maps.
We tried to address these concerns as best we could:
Chapter numbers are larger than verse numbers to provide better readability. In addition, the large headings help you find your place easily.
You still can’t search for a specific verse, but we tried to make navigation easier. Opening the ESV on Kindle takes you to the table of contents for the Bible, letting you move easily to any book. Once you arrive at a book, you’ll see links to each chapter (right-aligned for easy use with the Kindle cursor), letting you get pretty close to your intended passage.
Jesus’ words are in black, just like the rest of the Bible text.
The ESV textual footnotes are all hyperlinked in the text, with hyperlinks back to the relevant passage from each note. So you should be able to move between text and notes easily if you so choose.
There are no study notes or maps, but we’re considering making the ESV Literary Study Bible available on Kindle if demand warrants it. A daily reading Bible, with passages arranged by day, is also a possibility. Let us know (via email, on your blog, or by leaving a comment below) if either of these editions would interest you.
The Kindle platform has some limitations that aren’t easy to overcome—extensive cross references would be tough to implement in a non-distracting way, for example, as would being able to enter a passage reference like “John 3:16” to go to that verse—but we’re eager to see how and if Kindle changes the way some people read and interact with the Bible. Sean at Blogos shares how he sees using Kindle for Bible study.
On a technical note, we want to thank Amazon for its clear documentation on how to produce ebooks for Kindle. It made conversion an easy process. First, we used the ESV Bible API to get the text of the ESV in HTML format. (We use the API a lot for internal projects like this one; outputting the Bible in various formats is a snap.) Then we reformatted the text a little bit, transformed it into Mobipocket format so the table of contents would show up properly (something we wouldn’t have figured out without a real Kindle to test on), and sent the file to Amazon. It was fairly painless.
Comments are temporarily open on this post if you’d like to leave constructive criticism or suggestions about how to improve the experience of reading the Bible on Kindle (either in general or for the ESV in particular).