Kindle - A New Way to Read

Kindle – A New Way to Read

I love my Kindle. I received it as a 2009 Christmas present, so I’ve only been using it for a couple of months, but I’ve received a lifetime of pleasure from it already. One of my younger sisters has had a Kindle for some time now. She wrote a blog article about the Kindle in an earlier post The Amazon Kindle. If you're interested in purchasing a Kindle, click here to check it out on Amazon's website.

A few days before my Kindle was scheduled to arrive, I downloaded the
Kindle Users Guide from and read it cover to cover. Then I did research on other websites with Kindle tutorials and read through all the "how-to’s" I could find. By the time my Kindle arrived, I was ready to hit the ground running.

It sure helped to know a bit about how to operate the Kindle before it arrived. I would suggest that a little prior knowledge on what to do first is a big help for first time users. One of the things I did while waiting for the Kindle to arrive was to go to the Kindle Books section of the Kindle Store on Amazon’s website and purchase several books. These Kindle books were held at my online Amazon Kindle account until I turned on my Kindle, at which time they were quickly downloaded to the device. Any books purchased from the Kindle Store are downloaded to your Kindle via the Amazon Whispernet (free internet) service quickly and easily.

On a recent visit with my eldest sister, she asked how long the battery lasts on my Kindle. She downloads e-books (in PDF format) to her Netbook and reads online, but her battery runs out quickly (within hours) and then she’s tethered to an electric outlet until the Netbook is charged up again. With the Kindle, I can go anywhere—inside or outside—at home or away from home—and my Kindle is a free standing reader without the need to charge it up constantly. If I turn off the wireless feature, I’ve found that I can do about three weeks of reading several hours a day, without charging the device.

With the wireless turned on, the battery lasts about a week. But the beauty of the wireless feature is that you probably use the Kindle mainly for reading, and only use the wireless for a short time each day, so just turn the wireless on only when you need it and your Kindle’s battery lasts a long time. I will talk about using the wireless feature a little later in this article. To me, the wireless feature was one of the main selling features of the Kindle, but let me tell you about the books and other Kindle features first.

Of course, you can find books on the Kindle store. There you can search by author or by title, using Amazon's easy to use search engine. You can also search by category and subcategory in order to find books that interest you. There are many websites besides Amazon that allow you to download e-books, which are then easily transferred to your Kindle. I have included a list (below) of some of my favorite free e-book websites.

Most of the e-book websites I’ve found offer e-books in PDF format. I have also found that one of my favorite instructional websites HP Learning Center offers their courses in PDF format. These can be transferred to the Kindle very easily using either a USB connection to your computer or via the Kindle e-mail service (see your Kindle User Guide for easy-to-follow instructions and tips on transferring books and articles to your device). I get lazy and I let the Kindle e-mail service upload my articles, e-books, and PDF documents to my Kindle (I attach them to an e-mail from my regular e-mail provider and address them to my Kindle e-mail address with the word “convert” in the subject line). Amazon converts the document or e-book and uploads it to my Kindle the next time I have my wireless turned on. This costs a little bit, but not much, (a 2 mb book costs around 30¢ to upload to my Kindle).

Another good source of information about the Kindle and a great source for free e-books from the Kindle Store is Kindle Nation -- a weekly e-mail newsletter. This subscription is free and it is e-mailed to you once a week. There is also a daily version of Kindle Nation that can be downloaded directly to your Kindle, but that service costs a small monthly fee.

Speaking of free e-books,’s search engine can be used to find free e-books on the Amazon website. For example, if you search in the Kindle Store for “autobiography” and then sort the results by “Price: Low to High”, you will get a list of autobiographies where the pricing starts out with the books that are free . A list of other trusted websites with free e-books, (and this is only a fraction of the websites out there) follows:



  • (to see the top 100 downloads on Gutenberg, go to this address: Always get the plain text version with no compression.



  • (mostly SciFi)





  • (free tech books on computer science, engineering and programming, textbooks, lectures, etc.)

  • (more IT and computer books)

  • (online textbooks in PDF format)



You can find other sources of free Kindle books by googling or binging “free Kindle Books” or “free e-books”. Always be wary of downloading from the Internet on sites that may not be safe, though. Trojans and viruses lurk.

Now for a discussion of my favorite Kindle wireless features. I enjoy reading books on my Kindle, but sometimes in the mornings when I’m relaxing on the couch before getting ready for work, I like to check my e-mail or look at the news on my Kindle. Kindle comes loaded with a link to CNN and a couple of other good news websites, but you can also get other newspapers on your Kindle. If you press the Home button, then press the menu button, then scroll down to EXPERIMENTAL, then press in on the 5-way button and select Basic Web, you’ll be taken to Kindle’s web browser. You can enter a URL (press MENU button within the browser and then select “Enter URL”) and then press the 5-way button to “go to” that URL. If you type “” or use the leading “m.” for any of the other newspapers, your Kindle browser should load the “mobile” version of that newspaper (which is the version that smartphone users have on their phones). Many websites will “sense” that your device is a mobile device and will automatically load the mobile version of a website when you type in a URL, but not all of them do. If you land on a website that tries to download megacontent to your Kindle because it didn’t recognize that yours was a mobile device, you may just have to turn the Kindle off in order to get away from the site.

If you have a Gmail or Yahoo Mail account you can even send and receive e-mails with your Kindle:
To send an e-mail, you need to use the following steps:
Go to the "Basic Web" section of your “experimental” applications. Then go to “enter URL”. In the address line of the webpage, type Login with your credentials and then follow these steps to send an e-mail:
· Press the “Next Page” button until you find the “Compose Mail” option.
· Using the “Select” 5-way button, select the “To:” box and then choose “Input Field”. Enter the e-mail address that you’re going to send your message to and select “Done”. Add the subject and message the same way.
· Click on the row of buttons that you’ll see under the main message box then select “Send” to send out your new e-mail message.
You may get an error message after doing this but select “Close” anyway. If you did receive an error message, your message was most likely sent anyway. It probably would be a good idea to practice sending yourself a message first so that you can make sure you’re doing it correctly. I sent a practice e-mail to one of my other e-mail accounts and everything works fine using the Kindle for e-mail.

I hope this article has helped a few people who might have been on the fence about purchasing a Kindle. Some of the information may have helped those who already have a Kindle, but haven't read much about its many features. If there is anyone out there that has some great tips for the rest of us, please use the Comments section below and let us know.

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