Kindle e-reader owner's thread (2 Viewers)

Ilya

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With Kindle prices so low this year, I am sure many of us are getting a Kindle this holiday season. And for some of us this will be our first e-reader. So, I think it's a good idea to start this owner's thread where we could all share some tips and tricks, and get answers to some of our questions.

Let's keep this thread limited to E ink Kindles, which currently would include: Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard and Kindle DX. I recommend we keep Kindle Fire discussions in a separate thread, because it's such a different animal.

Also, if possible, let's refrain from discussions on whether Kindle is the right choice compared to other handheld devices: we have other threads about that. This thread is intended mostly for those who have already purchased a Kindle and just want to learn or to share their own experience on how to use Kindle more productively. Those who don't have a Kindle, are of course welcome to participate in this discussion too, just please don't turn this into "my tablet is better" kind of fight. Ok?


With that said, let me start with a couple of tips that I have learned myself since I started using Kindle about a month a go.

1. You can now borrow Kindle books for free from your local public library!
Check the website of your local library and see if it offers books in Kindle format. My local library already offers thousands of Kindle books and the list grows fast. I am allowed to check out 10 Kindle books at a time for up to 3 weeks. After the 3-week period the books are automatically removed from the Kindle. (I was still reading one of the library books when it expired. So, it let me to continue reading it beyond the expiration day for an extra day or two. I think the book stays on the Kindle after the expiration, as long as I stay within the book and don't navigate away from it. As soon as I went back to the Home page, the book was gone! Fortunately, the library still had available Kindle copies of that book, so I quickly re-ordered the same book to continue reading it). To order a book from a library, all you need is a browser on your computer. No software to install. From the library site I was taken straight to Amazon for the book check-out and instant electronic delivery. However, I am unable to use the Kindle's own Experimental browser for that purpose, as it doesn't support multiple pages.

2. You can use Kindle's own "Experimental" browser for browsing Web or for checking email via web.
This works on all Kindles via Wi-Fi. On Kindle Keyboard 3G (and some other older 3G models) this even works over 3G and internationally! Unfortunately this is not the case for Kindle Touch 3G: With Touch, you can only shop at Kindle Store and access Wikipedia over 3G. The rest of the Internet can only be accessed via Wi-Fi. (Because of that, I had to cancel my Kindle Touch 3G order and went with the older Kindle Keyboard 3G instead). Being able to access Internet over 3G directly from Kindle is not so important in the US. But when you travel abroad, this might come handy!

Have any Kindle tips or suggestions? Want to share your own Kindle experience? Please post here!
 

Ilya

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Kindle Lighted Cover

I got the Kindle Lighted Cover from Amazon for my Kindle Keyboard. Although not really required, for me, it makes Kindle reading more pleasant, easier to hold it and feels more like holding a real book. I like it! It has a buit-in LED light wich somewhat helps in a darker room or on a plane. The light takes power directly from Kindle itself, so no extra batteries required. I wish it was a bit brighter though.
 

Ilya

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Kindle in bright light

One of the biggest advantages of Kindles with E ink screens is that they are very easy to read in bright light, including direct sunlight outdoors. For Kindle, the more light, the better! And that's a down side too: you need bright light to read it. If you do a lot of your reading in bed or in a chair, make sure you have a good source of light!
 

Ilya

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Battery life

Kindle's battery life is amazing! I charge mine like only twice a month! This is primarily due to its E ink screen technology: the screen does not consume any power while displaying the same page. Only page changes require some power.

You can extend the battery life significantly by turning the Wireless off when not needed.
 

dangue

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I've had a kindle for several years now. I think the biggest thing I can recommend is to find friends with similar reading tastes and have multiple kindles on one account. That way you can split the initial cost of books while mimicking the sharing of traditional books with friends. It has also exposed me to books I wouldn't ordinarily read.

Most books have a device limit, but all that means is if you hit it, someone has to delete off their device for it to be added to another. So finish a book and re-archive it!

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klang

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I buy a few ebooks from Baen. Discovered recently you can have Baen email the book to your Kindle address and have it download like an Amazon purchase. Note you want to use the free.kindle.com address so they don't charge for the conversion and the download only works over wifi. Amazon recently changed the archive area so these books or documents you send to yourself are now kept in a Personal Documents folder in your archive.

Love my Kindle 3. I should have a Touch under the Christmas tree later this month.


Edit: My bad, the Personal Documents is not a folder. They go into the normal archive. In the manage my Kindle area you can list just Personal Documents.
 
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w6pea

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I am glad to see a forum for Kindle. Last year I bought "She Who Must be Obeyed" aka my wife a Kindle, for our Anniversary/Christmas any way she acted like she was mad that I spent that much money for it. Especially after the price dropped again, but I really think she loves it. When ever we go on a trip in the RV or even go someplace in the P/U that requires a few minutes driving time she has it in her hands. I didn't know that you can now get books from the public library, so I guess I will check their web site.:coffee
 

rockymtnhigh

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I found a way (check Lifehacker) to make the sponsored ads go away on my Kindle Keyboard 3G. Perhaps not ethical, but I was curious and it worked. Simple fix of deleting a folder, and creating a file with a specific name when the device was mounted to a computer. I undid it once I proved it worked. Not one to cheat Amazon, a company I like.

By the way, I hate the name Kindle Keyboard 3G -- its name was, and still should be the Kindle 3, since there was a Kindle, Kindle 2 (which I owned), and Kindle 3 (3G and Wi-Fi versions). The new $79 "Kindle" should be he Kindle 4. Just saying :D

For the record, I have been a Kindle owner for 3 years now. On my third one, and I also use the Kindle App on the iPad. The e-ink Kindle is a wonder dedicated device. Nothing beats it outside. It is comfortable in the hands, weighs virtually nothing, and has (since the Kindle 3 anyways) a stunningly great screen. I fell away from using mine for several months, due to the convenience of having two different tablets, but have returned to it - and like that when I am reading, I don't get distracted by web, email, or SatGuys, like I do on the iPad.
 

Ilya

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Good to know that there is a way to disable ads, though Amazon will probably "correct" that issue in the next software update. ;)
But for me, the ads don't bother me at all: when the Kindle is on, I usually have the book open: so no ads. And when it's off, I close the cover anyway. And from those ads that I did see, some were actually interesting enough, so I clicked on them to have the details emailed to me. For example, today's ad gave me $5 off on any $10 physical purchase from Amazon.com. These kinds of ads I can definitely live with! :D
 

rockymtnhigh

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Good to know that there is a way to disable ads, though Amazon will probably "correct" that issue in the next software update. ;)
But for me, the ads don't bother me at all: when the Kindle is on, I usually have the book open: so no ads. And when it's off, I close the cover anyway. And from those ads that I did see, some were actually interesting enough, so I clicked on them to have the details emailed to me. For example, today's ad gave me $5 off on any $10 physical purchase from Amazon.com. These kinds of ads I can definitely live with! :D

Yeah, I just got the $5 coupon as well. I would not mind if they were all from Amazon, but in general they annoy me. But I have had a kindle for 3 years, so the coupon thing just seems wrong. But I could not resist the $85 3G kindle, given that my kid killed my original one.
 

Ilya

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Experimantal Browser Tips

The Experimental Browser available on Kindle is very slow and the screen is rather small. Here are some quick tips on how you can make the browser more usable:

1. Use Zoom In/Zoom Out - this one is obvious.
2. Rotate screen to horizontal position - some pages will become more readable this way.
3. Enable Article Mode - extremely helpful for text-intensive pages.
4. Disable Images. Previously cached images will continue to be shown, but new images will not be loaded. This will speed up the browsing, without making it "text-only".
 

rockymtnhigh

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The Experimental Browser available on Kindle is very slow and the screen is rather small. Here are some quick tips on how you can make the browser more usable:

1. Use Zoom In/Zoom Out - this one is obvious.
2. Rotate screen to horizontal position - some pages will become more readable this way.
3. Enable Article Mode - extremely helpful for text-intensive pages.
4. Disable Images. Previously cached images will continue to be shown, but new images will not be loaded. This will speed up the browsing, without making it "text-only".

Using the browser is like using a browser on a early smartphone. Not a pleasant experience. I have always viewed it as a last resort for internet access.
 

rockymtnhigh

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How's the battery life on the new "Kindle Touch"?(not fire)

I assume like all the other ones, If you don't use the 3G/Wi-Fi when you don't need it, it will last for several weeks. My new Kindle 3G Keyboard has been going for 2 weeks, and is still about 2/3 charge.
 

Ilya

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Keyboard shortcuts

Here are some useful keyboard shortcuts:

Alt-Space: Start/stop playing MP3 music (from the 'music' folder)
Alt-F: Skip a music track
Shift-Sym: Start/stop Text-to-Speech (not all books allow that)
Shift-Space: Start/stop Voice Guide
Alt-Home: Open Kindle Store
Shift-Alt-G: Take a snapshot of your screen
Shift-Alt-M: Start a Minesweeperand GoMoku games
 

klang

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The battery on the Touch is supposed to be similar to the K3 (now called the Keyboard). The new K4 has a smaller battery.

I usually get a couple weeks of use on my K3 using it 2-3 hours a day.
 

BassBlaster

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Amazon.com/Kindle must be anti-technology

I would love to get a Kindle, but there are so few of the eBooks available that I am interested in reading. I read more than 25-hours per week, however I don't have time to read drama and fiction nonsense...I'll watch TV if I have time. I read professional, technical and engineering related texts that are critical to my work and livelihood. Additionally, my local library has many of the titles I am interested in (over 57,000 nonfiction eBooks) that can be checked-out, free of charge, and viewed with Adobe Digital Editions. However, they only have the Top 100 (mostly fiction) titles available for the Kindle.

Moreover, I just searched Amazon.com for the six nonfiction eBook titles (technical/engineering) I currently have checked-out from my public library (they use EBSCOhost) and not one is available for the Kindle - "Tell the Publisher! I'd like to read this book on Kindle". WTF? What does Amazon.com/Kindle have against professional, technical and engineering publications? Do other non-Kindle eBook reader services have exclusive agreements with the publishers? I'm sorry, but I have zero interest in reading Harry Potter and the popular mind-mush. As much as I like the Kindle and would love to purchase one, it is useless to me until they carry my favorite nonfiction eBooks.

BB
 

rockymtnhigh

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I would love to get a Kindle, but there are so few of the eBooks available that I am interested in reading. I read more than 25-hours per week, however I don't have time to read drama and fiction nonsense...I'll watch TV if I have time. I read professional, technical and engineering related texts that are critical to my work and livelihood. Additionally, my local library has many of the titles I am interested in (over 57,000 nonfiction eBooks) that can be checked-out, free of charge, and viewed with Adobe Digital Editions. However, they only have the Top 100 (mostly fiction) titles available for the Kindle.

Moreover, I just searched Amazon.com for the six nonfiction eBook titles (technical/engineering) I currently have checked-out from my public library (they use EBSCOhost) and not one is available for the Kindle - "Tell the Publisher! I'd like to read this book on Kindle". WTF? What does Amazon.com/Kindle have against professional, technical and engineering publications? Do other non-Kindle eBook reader services have exclusive agreements with the publishers? I'm sorry, but I have zero interest in reading Harry Potter and the popular mind-mush. As much as I like the Kindle and would love to purchase one, it is useless to me until they carry my favorite nonfiction eBooks.

BB

Its not Amazon, its the publishers. They choose whether to put stuff available in e-book.

But your characterization of fiction and literature offerings is definitely unfair. There is a lot of good stuff available in e-books; but for technical stuff, I don't think you'd be satisfied with an e-reader. Maybe an iPad, since it does PDFs so very well.
 

Ilya

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I would love to get a Kindle, but there are so few of the eBooks available that I am interested in reading... I read professional, technical and engineering related texts that are critical to my work and livelihood.

Then Kindle is not a good choice for you. Don't buy Kindle unless Amazon is your primary bookstore.
 

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