Here my concept: automatical conversion of units in ebooks, based on reader’s location.

Now let me expand on that.

First of all, I’m using Amazon as an example as it’s the largest provider of ebooks (I think), but the concept also applies to Apple’s iBooks store and other publishers of electronic books.

The concept comes from trying to solve one of my frustrations with reading English written books: I’ve no problem understanding every little word and phrasing, but I do ocasionally get stuck when reading portions using imperial units (as I primarily am accustomed to the metric system used in Europe).

Just to give you a quick example: I’m currently reading Tim Ferris’s amazing book The 4-Hour Chef and this units conversion stuff is constantly slowing me down and dilluting the overall experience. When I read “230-lb” my mind has to translate that into “104 kg”, and that’s something that shouldn’t happen, it breaks your reading concentration and the understanding of the content. Trying to make sense of recipes and ingredients’ quantities (after all, it’s a cooking book at its core) is made easier by using both oz and mg, as well as Celsius next to Fahrenheit, and that’s a damn good thing done by Tim when writing the book.

But my point is: not all imperial units were translated into metric ones and, most important, this shouldn’t be Tim’s job to begin with.

This should be something done automatically by Amazon. And it can be accomplished in more than one way:

– you could be asked when you’re buying the ebook if you prefer imperial or metric units and, upon choosing a variant, be provided with the appropriate ebook containing only the units of your choice

– the Kindle reader app could detect your location and switch automatically the content version of the book to match the ones used in that country/area

– I’m sure there are other ways that developers could come up with to try and solve this annoyance

Here’s me hoping that I don’t have to do math in my head when trying to enjoy a great book. Because I suck at math.

“Progress is made by lazy people looking for easier ways to do things.”