Evidence Explained has become the standard work for citation formatting, but it is a real big book. I travel for a living and found it too heavy to take with me, so I was happy to hear a while back that an electronic version was in the works. I have a Barnes & Noble Nook so I was hoping it would be in that format, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Instead the book was published for the LockLizard reader, a less-well-known reader for the PC and Mac.
While I’m real glad that the electronic version is available and I have even bought a copy, I really wish it had been made available for the Nook, or at least the Kindle. Lots of people already own these book readers. If they don’t they can download the software onto their computers. The requirement to install an obscure program would seem to be an impediment to sales.
Also, here isn’t a version of the LockLizard software for smartphones, iPads, or other tablets. The Evidence Explained FAQ says a viewer is in mid-development, but it will be some months before one is available. I would think they would have sold a lot more copies if they had distributed the book through a medium that could run on more devices.
The Kindle and Nook allow bookmarking and note taking. Bookmarks would help one get to common citation types quickly, but is not available in LockLizard.
Finally, LockLizard has difficult computer count restrictions. You are allowed three downloads. According to the FAQ the license will migrate from one computer to another if you get a new one, but they also say that they recommend that you keep “at least one of your three downloads in reserve for future needs”. This is bad DRM (copy protection). At least with the Kindle or Nook they keep track of your devices and you don’t have to worry about losing your copies if you move from one computer to another.
I hate to complain about all this, because I’m really happy that Elizabeth Shown Mills has made an electronic version of Evidence Explained available. She has even tied it in with a nice web page with lessons. But while I’m not thrilled with book distribution being in the hands of Amazon and B&N, and I’d prefer no DRM built into the book at all, I don’t see the LockLizard solution being better for anyone.