Review: ebook version – Craig Robson “Birds of South-East Asia Concise Edition”

Hi all,
For the last few years the concise edition of the Robson guide to the Birds of South-East Asia has been available in electronic form as a PDF ebook or an EPUB/MOBI ebook.
This is a big improvement over the paperback version of the full guide that I used on my first birding trip outside of Australia to Thailand in 2015 (and my second trip to Cambodia in 2016).
I think I have the EPUB/MOBI version (but I am not 100 percent sure of this) – it opens from Google Play Books on my android phone.
Compared to the full guide, the ebook version I have now:
(i) Doesn’t weigh anything or take up any space.
(ii) Is quicker and easier to use in the field. The full guide is too big to put in a pocket – I had to choose between stopping and getting it out of my backpack frequently or carrying it around in my hands (which did not work well with using my binoculars or camera). 
(iii) Is significantly easier to scroll through to find the right plate than in the paperback full guide.(iv) Has expanded text on the pages facing the plates with:- A brief description of range (making the continued omission of range maps far less of a problem).- A more detailed description of appearance.- A brief description of habitat.- A short description of voice.[The paperback full guide text facing the plates has a short description of appearance and nothing else. The main text is good, but hard to use quickly since it is separated from the plates in it’s own section at the back of the book].(v) Doesn’t have the detailed full text for each species at the back of the guide (IMHO a gratuitous omission in an ebook).
(vi) Has somewhat fewer birds per plate – 142 plates for the concise ebook vs 120 in the paperback full guide.(vii) Still has no calls – it isn’t a real app, just an ebook.
This post isn’t an actual review – more of a heads up to let people know that the ebook version is available.
If I remember correctly, I got mine from [click blue text to see link] Birds of South-East Asia
(on the linked page, click the blue “View other formats” text to see the ebook options)

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Birds of South-East Asia

The up-to-date text covers the identification, voice, habitat, behaviour and range of all the 1270 species and d…
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Several other good field guides are now available in ebook format eg Birds of Borneo by Susan Myers.

For field guides for which there still aren’t ebooks or apps available, I now get them shipped to 1dollarscan.com – they cut them up (I don’t get the paper guide back), scan them, and then I download them as a pdf.

Cheers,Michael Kearns

On Saturday, 21 April 2018, 11:23:20 am AEST, Laurie Knight < l.knight@optusnet.com.au> wrote: G’day

I purchased a copy of Robson’s guide via Fishpond prior to my visit to peninsula Malaysia a couple of weeks ago.  I already had 2 field guides for the birds of Borneo [Phillipps and Myers], but they only covered a fraction of the species on the mainland.

The positives are that:
1. Robson’s guide covers 1327 species on mainland SE Asia [Burma through to Vietnam] so it covers a fair bit of territory
2. It isn’t overly heavy.

The negatives are:
1. The taxonomy is dated
2. The pictorial plates are separate form the text [very inconvenient]
3. The order in which the species are displayed on the plates is sometimes mixed up
4. The brief descriptions opposite the plates do not give the size range for the species and the drawings are generally not to scale
5. There are no distribution maps [a big omission for visiting birders]
6. There are fewer flight drawings and no use of arrow heads to indicate key field marks.

The bottom line is that there is a usability cost to the large geographic coverage and it is far less useful than the Borneo guides.  I would rate it 5 out of 10.

I imagine that an app version could be developed that could be far more user friendly.

Regards, Laurie.



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