Page Number Versus Position on Kindle

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Recommended Resource: Kindle Fire HD: The Missing Manual

January 1, 2015 – Update for newest versions of the Kindle. Page numbers have always been a consternation for e-book readers, and no more so for any group than for Kindle owners. In the last few updates to the Kindle, Amazon has partially remedied this problem. If you want to know the number of the page you are on in your Kindle book, read on!

If your Kindle book includes page numbers, you can also track your location according to the page number in print books. Not all Kindle books include page numbers. Because you can change the font size and other features, you may be able to view more than one page on your screen at one time. Your progress shows the page number for the text displayed at the top of the screen. (from Amazon website, emphasis mine)


Click to view page

So, the ability to view page numbers, if they exist, depends on using the Menu button on your Kindle. Just as you need to click on the Menu to check the time of day at the top, so you need the Menu to give you access to the page number. Today, the newer Kindles can tell you much more than the page number, including the estimated time it will take you to finish the chapter you are currently in. See the related article for information on this feature. Not all books have page numbers because it costs money to add them in. A Kindle book can resize fonts and reflow the text because it is not divided up into arbitrary units called “pages.” So, if the publisher of the book you purchased went to the expense of correlating the e-book file to the page in the print book, you will be able to see them in this fashion, but only on Kindle 3 or later.

You can see if a Kindle book you are thinking of purchasing contains page numbers by lloking below the title area for a notice. No notice, no page numbers. Click on the image to the left for a live demonstration of where to find this information.

Also note the other highlighted passage, that you may “flip the page” on your Kindle and see that the “page number” hasn’t changed. If you have enlarged the font for the book on the Kindle, this is the cause. With a larger font, it may take several Kindle screens worth of text to complete a single page in the print book.

Related article: Does My Kindle Book Have Real Page Numbers?

Related article: The New Kindle Lineup and What It Means to Educators

When the Kindle first came out, the absence of page numbers created more than a little bit of anxiety.  How can I tell what page I am on??? I mean, I have only spent my whole life using page numbers as the reference point for a) how far along in the book I am, and b) any references to the text that I want to make in a post, article, or other scholarly writing.

This lingering anxiety tells me something about the “purpose” of the Kindle. That purpose is reading in a “frictionless” way (adjective courtesy of Jeff Bezos). The Kindle is not very well set up to address these other little anxieties I feel.

So, I got out my calculator to see if I could find a rule for converting Kindle’s “position number” into the “page numbers” of the actual book.

OK, first problem: which actual book–the hardcover, the paperback? First editions, fifth edition? Right there you see the intractability of the problem.

But I forged on, nonetheless, with my hardcover copy of Carol Dweck’s Mindset. You get the wackiest correlation if you try to literally use every paper page fo the book. First, all those pages aren’t in the Kindle edition. Second, spacing considerations make it almost impossible to come up with a formula that is anywhere near accurate if you try to use all the pages.

I got closest to a useful formula when I took the first actual numbered page of the book (not including the introduction)–that is, a page with “1” on it, and looked up the corresponding “position” on my Kindle. As it turns out, Page 1 appears at position “95” on the Kindle. Then, I went to the last full page of the text, page 239 (not the notes, index, or other “last” page) and checked the position: 4035. So, I had 3940 positions spread over 236 pages (the first page of text was actually page 3). 3940 divided by 236 yields 16.69 positions per page.

Using this formula I could pretty much find the page in book if I knew the position. In all my test cases, I landed within one page of the text I was searching for if I divided the position number by 16.69.

Whew!  If you have a friend with the print book and you want to point them to a passage, use of the chapter number might be your best bet.  If they want to point you to a passage, you can search for a key term.  Or you can both try this little formula and wait for the MLA to provide us some guidance!

  61 comments for “Page Number Versus Position on Kindle

  1. Natalie R
    December 16, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Thank you for your response and the link to the article – it was very helpful.

  2. Will DeLamater
    December 13, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    You can see how to do this at this post here at EduKindle. Like you say, this will become more of an issue as your daughter gets older and has additional citations from many texts for school. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Natalie
    December 2, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I found the answer to the question of citing a kindle book (if using APA) from

  4. Natalie
    December 2, 2015 at 9:07 am

    I’m kicking myself because I just bought several (expensive) books from Amazon for my daughter’s science research. How is she supposed to cite her sources from books without pagination? I assumed that I could find something in the settings to turn on the page numbers and now I’m kicking myself for not ordering the “hard copies” of the books. I also bought one book from iBooks, which does show the page numbers. My daughter is in fourth grade so this may not be as big of an issue as it would be if she were in high school but one of the points of a research project is to teach the kids how to document their sources; I don’t want to teach her how to “fudge” it by guessing. Does anyone know if there is an legitimate way to cite a reference from a text on kindle when there are no page numbers given?

  5. Will DeLamater
    November 12, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Hi Lily and thanks for your comment! If the book you are reading has “Real Page Numbers,” you will see it at the bottom of the page on the left in the format “Page 214 of 371.” Many books, especially open source books, do not show page numbers. Publishers increasingly agree with you that people expect page numbers in books, and so they indicate on the product page if the book has them. Look at the bottom of the initial description of the book on the Kindle version page and you will see a page count and a drop down that shows the ISBN of the version of the book that the page numbers are taken from.

    And you are right, this has been an issue since the Kindle was born!

  6. Lily
    November 2, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    While I suppose it’s nice to have features like percentage and estimated finish times, these features have never existed with actual books and therefore are just unnecessary decoration. Page numbers, however, are pertinent to reading. Everyone relies on them, because they’ve always been there. I don’t see how a computer wouldn’t be able to adjust font size to page numbers – big font, more pages. I’ve been trying for 45 minutes to figure out how to change this ugly ‘location’ to page number (I have an iPad with kindle reader) and apparently it’s been an issue for years. Page numbers! Wow.

  7. Jeffrey
    February 27, 2012 at 12:58 am

    I read books from front to back, but I have classes where the teacher gives assignments like:

    Please read Chapter 1 pp. 2-4
    Chapter 4 pp. 72-87
    Chapter 5 pp. 92-117

    According to reps at Amazon – Kindle books are CAPABLE of showing page numbers (with the most current software version) however the publisher needs to include them.

    Write to your publishers and ask them to start including them!

  8. February 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Great post. I had the same problem.
    It’s easy to find the page number though. All you have to do is press menu. At the bottom of the page where the progress bar is, you will now see text that says what page you are on and what location.

    Hope this helps!

  9. Daniel
    January 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    This website says to merely use the location along with the paragraph on that “screen,” so to speak.

  10. willd
    October 2, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Great point! The Kindle has always worked best when you start on page one and read each page in order. That’s why it isn’t really very good for reference works and other educational applications.

  11. Paisley
    September 30, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Say I click on to the sub notes and it goes from pg 40 to 358 or something. Then my Kindle will always say my last page read is the 358 even though I have gone back and continued reading. My Kindle on my PC will also synch with the notes that I have referenced. Does anyone know how to delete that I’ve gone to the notes as a referance not as the final position of what I am reading. This is so annoying.

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