I could never understand why anyone would want to own an e-Reader. Then my grown children gave me a Kindle Touch and I have found ways to make it do for me much of what a smart phone or an iPad does for other people. One day it will replace my aging Sony Clie' handheld. I do not have a smart phone, nor an iPad. I have discovered my e-Reader is not just for reading books. (I am well aware there are other e-Readers and will make some mention of them, but my experience is with the Kindle Touch, so it will receive more attention.)

Much of what I discuss here will be old material to people who have had a Kindle for a couple of years, but will be very much appreciated by a new owner. Still, this will provide long-term owners an opportunity to share things they have learned. And, I may share something here others had not discovered.

Each Kindle model has slightly different features and a slightly different control mechanism for entering commands. Check to see which features your choice has before purchasing it. Amazon has comparison charts on its models. Go to the web pages for the other makes (Nook, Sony, etc) to compare their features.

Step 1: The Learning Curve

I thought it could not be too hard to use a Kindle. The green line represents what I expected. But, there IS a learning curve made worse by the fact I somehow did not see the Kindle User's Guide that comes installed on every new Kindle. Still, there are some things I discovered, myself. I wish those were in the User's Guide, but were not. Do read the User's Guide. When I mention a Kindle learning curve to people who have one, they get a look on their face that says, "You sure got that right!!!!" The black line is what I and others I know have discovered.

Amazon has some good helps in its Kindle forums. Very knowledgeable people are good about giving good advice, both online consultants and other users.
<p>Hi Phil nice post. </p><p>A limiting factor of Kindles is their software's inability to read EPUB format books, the open source format used by Nook, Sony, Kobo etc. But there are at least three workarounds if you have an EPUB file you would like to read on a Kindle.</p><p>First, as others have noted, EPUBs can be converted to MOBI format (Kindle's native format) using Calibre in Windows. Calibre can be set to mail the converted file to the Kindle via Wispersync email.</p><p>Second, there's an extension program called Kindle Unified App Launcher (KUAL) hosted on another site, that allows for the Kindle to read EPUBS natively, with all kinds of other extra functions. KUAL is pretty easy to install and runs just like a document.</p><p>Third, the web site Sendepubtokindle.com will convert an EPUB to MOBI in the cloud and email it to your Kindle. </p><p>I've had a few ereaders over the years (I too moved up from a Palm) and have settled on a Kindle Touch for the Amazon ecosystem, and a used Sony PRS-T1. The Sony runs on an Android base, and with some effort it was possible to root it and install Android Apps, including an internet radio app. Still trying to figure out how to stream internet stations on the Kindle.</p><p>A warning for those considering more recent Kindles--while the Paperwhite built-in light is great, Amazon dropped sound support some years ago. I believe the Touch and Kindle Keyboard were the last models with this feature.</p><p>Again, thanks for your post.</p>
<p>i use my kindle.more than my laptop - the fire hdx is really nice! I have bought several, even the kids edition for my granddaughter. I think the newer versions all have backlights, so you wouldn't need a light attached. Some are also capable of installing a memory card to store info.</p><p>The only problem I have is typing, I'm always misspelling words because I hit the wrong key (big fingers I guess) my hdx has a mic so I can speak what I need to type!</p>
Since posting this Instructable I have an iPad, and know what you mean about using your Fire more than your laptop. I have to say I have hardly used the add on light, especially since I learned its dimming feature drains the battery when not in use. Can you get a larger remote keyboard (Bluetooth or infrared)?
<p>Just thought I'd share something I discovered by accident. If you drop a podcast in MP3 format into the documents folder, instead of the music folder, it will appear on your main menu and you can open and play it with the MP3 player: Just tap the file to to open it and then tap the arrow in the bottom left to play. The advantage is that you don't have to page through all the other music on your kindle to get to that particular MP3 file. The disadvantage is that you cannot open another item to read while you are listening to the MP3 file. They do seem to take up a lot of memory, but I find I prefer this method for podcasts. </p>
Thank you for the very good tip. As neat as it is to have a &quot;free&quot; MP3 player on the Kindle Touch, I find I listen to audio Bible files on my iPhone, although it did not work well until I used an alternative to iTunes for loading the files and an audiobook player app. for playing them. I still have a Sony personal disc player that will play MP3 files from a CD, and I tend to use that, or I load them onto a thumb drive and insert it into the USB jack on my car's sound system and play them while I am driving.
<p>Ha! That's so funny, because I recently came across my old personal disc player and was thinking that I might save some of my favorite podcasts to disc for my library. Thanks for all the good info in this article!</p>
<p>Thank you for your comments. I scavenged some old rechargeable AA batteries that no longer work for their intended application, but charge well enough that I can make them power my disc player. I also modified the circuitry a little so I can plug in a charger as needed. All of this is on my nightstand. I listen when falling asleep. </p><p>I also manage my Podcast files by removing them from the folder where they are saved after downloading, and I burn them to a disc for archiving. That keeps the folder from overflowing and I can listen to the discs in a rotation.</p>
I like the tips. I'm gowing to make a instructable telling you how to text on a kindle. I found a way.
please do so(make instructable on how to text on Kindle).
By the by, (as it used to be), Calibre will work for a LOT of reading software for kindles, nooks, androids, etc... It's an excellent piece of software for computer to reading device.
PHIL! Listen to Thorsword! <br> <br>Calibre is free, it's open-source, it allows you to convert different types of files to .mobi (for Kindle) which allows you to then use the Kindle's font-sizing options! <br> <br>You need this running on your PC to get the most out of your Kindle or other e-reader!
I downloaded Calibre. I have some documents I would like on the Kindle from MS Word rather than as PDFs. These documents contain Greek and Hebrew fonts. I tried converting them to mobi files through Calibre. The experience was not very satisfying. PDFs work out much better, even if I have to spread my fingers to enlarge the display and even if that does not work very well. I hope such things go better for other Calibre users. There is still a lot about the program I would need to learn, but I did learn the steps that are supposed to work for what I was trying to do.
i have a kindle 3 and it is amazing. i have been layed up for a little over a month due to a crash that resulted in a broken foot and the kindle has been me best friend. the problem i had was converting and organizing my collection but there is a wonderful program called <a href="http://calibre-ebook.com/" rel="nofollow">calibre</a>.&nbsp; its free and a great asset for people with large collections.
Thank you for your comment. This was a good opportunity for me to record some things I learned so I can refer back to them when I forget. It is also a good opportunity to start a discussion and share information. Thank you for the mention of Calibre'. Someone else mentioned it. I looked at information on it, but have not yet decided to try it. Can you go back to the original Kindle software if you decide you do not like it?
calibre is a computer interface it doesn't affect the kindle interface.
Yes - it runs on your PC and you convert the files (pdf, word doc, epub, html, etc) to mobi so you can use the Kindle font sizing options.
I have had my Kindle 2 2x now LOL. The first lasted about a year, and now my 2nd is still going on well. I have used Calibre since I first got my kindle about a year after about after they came out. My wife and I were just trying to figure out how long for this one...and 4-5 yrs is all we can think of. But, yeah, CAlibre is my software 'go to' program for it. Good stuff...and yes a learning curve, just not as bad.
well i live in the USA and those are cool little deals <br />
I think your mother's Nook is pretty similar to a similarly equipped Kindle, even though they use different file formats. I have never looked closely at a Nook, myself. Once I did look at a list of things available for the Nook, and it was quite similar to things available for the Kindles. Thank you for your comments.
my mom just got a nook 4 her b-day. iwonder if it'le work on that, if so i could tell her all about this.
Actually, Kindle touch doesn't use capacitive touch technology. That would need another layer that would be a great disadvantage for the eink experience. Instead infrared touch i used that reacts to interuption of IR-light in the x and y axis. Therefore anything can be used as a stylus, as you mention even a rubber! :) <br>You can try using a rubber or even the metal end of your pen next time you are holding a device with capacitive technology and you will notice that it doesn't work. <br>Thank you for a great instructable! Many people don't realize how usable thease devices can be :)
Thank you. I noticed the screen sometimes responds when my finger is very close to it, but not yet touching the screen. I assumed it was capacitive touch technology. I love posting these things because people like you who know more than I do teach me. <br> <br>Your profile does not indicate clearly where you live, but I believe it is outside the United States. I know that a rubber in some countries is what we call an eraser in the USA. A rubber in the USA is a slang name for a condom. I once heard of a high school exchange student who perplexed and dismayed her host family when she said she needed a rubber. They wondered why she would need a condom. She was simply asking for an eraser.
I'm from Sweden, so I'm mostly using UK English. I'm sure that the touchscreen would work with a condom too though! :D It's very interesting how accents can have very different meanings within the same language!
Periodically we in the USA see magazine articles about humorous things that happen when a diplomat or someone who writes instructions on a product attempts using a second language but makes a little mistake that produces a big change in meaning. I expect things like that appear in Sweden, too. I admire your ability to use your second language so well.
I was just about to say this myself... <br> <br>One thing worthy of note, is for those who for whatever reason are prone shaky hands, should try to make clunkier touches rather than light taps. <br>Having a shaky finger within the detection field can cause multiple signals of whatever command you were issuing, most notably skipping two or three pages by accident, or incorrectly registering a vertical swipe, causing chapter movements.
Are you able to sync the calendar to other calendars? (I use Google calendar and sync it to my Mac's iCal - I'd love to have access to these on my Kindle...)
As best I know, you are not. That feature may always come in future versions of the calendar software. I bought the 7 Dragons calendar software because it had good recommendations from other users, but there are other calendars for the Kindle from other developers. I think you could access your Google calendar on the Internet from your Kindle, but that is not the same as electronically synchronizing. Thank you for your comment.
Very interesting, Phil. I am using a generic GPS to read at bed. It has Windows CE. I could read PDF on it, but I don't like pdf format restrictions. So, I convert pdf, doc, htm and other to TXT and read it on Noteboook.exe. The limitation is the size, generally I must &quot;slice&quot; the texts in pieces less 64 Kb. That is easy for me to do. I lose images too, obviously. <br> <br>Here a Kindle costs about U$S 250, that is a bit too much for me. An eReader costs about U$S 167, a little more affordable. <br> <br>I had a generic Tablet PC, a bit better than the GPS in some features (not its manageability at bed!) but I broke the screen, and I am undecided to repair it.
Look on ebay. I bought a kindle keyboard a couple days ago for $90
Thanks, but I live in Argentina. eBay is not a good option for me.
Osvaldo,<br><br>Thank you for the comment. What you describe sounds like a lot of work. I hope prices are lower soon.<br><br>Phil
Phil, that would be a lot of work if there were no <a href="http://www.kedit.com/" rel="nofollow">KEDITW</a>, an excellent (and to me essential) text editor, whose 1983 version I'm using for almost 30 years. I've created my own macros with it, which I greatly facilitate all tasks related to text handling.
You are clever. You were doing that before I ever believed I would own a computer one day.
I was the same as you--why would anyone exchange a real book for an e-reader? Now I'm so hooked on my Kindle Touch that I'm doing a Kindle giveaway on my site. Here's an egg I drew with the Sketch app on my tablet&nbsp; <a href="http://www.diypics.com" rel="nofollow"><img alt="win a Kindle" src="http://diypics.diyandsave.netdna-cdn.com/upquark/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/ovum.png"></a> P.S. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Gutenberg Project at gutenberg.org. You can get free ebooks gallore there! Many are in .mobi format as well as other formats.<br> <br>Thanks again for this detailed post.
I hinted at sites like The Gutenberg Project when I mentioned there are sites where one can find free books, but must confess I did not remember the name. A lot depends on what you want to read. If you want classics, it is a good site. If you want a particular new book, the free sites will not have it. Thank you for your comments and for the link to The Gutenberg Project.
Yes, the eBible is one of my favorite apps. Nothing like being able to switch between some 50 versions in English, as well as hop around about 50 languages. The only thing missing is a concordance wrapped in with the Bible. Do you know of any? <br>Thanks for this show and tell!
A basic concordance is not really necessary because you can use the Kindle's Search feature to find all occurrences of any word in the text. If you want to search on the basis of original Hebrew or Greek root words and are familiar with the style and readings of the King James Version, you would need something like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Strongs-Concordance-Students-Edition-ebook/dp/B007JRMR2Q/ref=sr_1_22?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1335147581&sr=1-22" rel="nofollow">this</a>. I have no experience with it, so I cannot verify how well it works. (I found it with a search in the Kindle Store.) Thanks for looking and for commenting.
GREAT INSTRUCTABLE!!! <br> <br>I bought a Kindle touch just after Christmas and have been trying to find how to do some of these things EVER SINCE. One thing I found on my own was that if you copy music files into the &quot;audible&quot; file, then you can find them right on the main page. Just go to the Music collection on the main page and it will bring up all your selections. You play them by touching the name of the selection just like selecting a book the &quot;doc&quot; collection.
Since about 2003 I have been giving away copies of the World English Bible in MP3 audio from <a href="http://www.audiotreasure.com/" rel="nofollow">Audio Treasure</a>. (It is my little personal mission project. The World English Bible is the 1901 Authorized Version slightly updated to remove any archaic expression and is free of copyright.) A friend asked me to load it onto her Kindle Touch. I made the mistake of putting the files into the Audible folder. All of the files displayed on the Main page. After I got that corrected, Jeremiah wanted to appear ahead of Genesis, even though all of the files for the whole Bible had the proper MP3 tags. Did you make a Music collection? I do not see that on my existing Main page. Thank you for looking and for commenting.
Also... Thank you very much for pointing me to the Free Bible from thee Kindle Store. One of my favorite things, for now, is to see how much I can access for free. I had not yet found a Bible I didn't have to pay for, but wanted one, so now I can use the Kindle much more.
You are welcome. The two I found for free are the English Standard Version (ESV) and the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). I am more familiar with the ESV, but more comfortable with the flow of the HCSB. I was sure a King James would be available free, but was surprised to find those all have a fee. That is OK. I was simply surprised it is that way.
My kid gave me Kindle Fire for Christmas and now I'm totally dangerous. The screen display is very different from your Kindle Touch though. I absolutely love it!
People I know who own a Fire are very happy with it. I do very little with streaming videos, but lean toward productivity things and non-fiction reading. A lot depends on what the user might want to do. Congratulations on your new Fire. Thank you for looking at this Instructable and for your comment.
Is this a great introduction to use of the Kindle? <br> <br>This is most certainly true! ;-)
Thanks. It sounds like you spent some time in Luther's Smal Catechism.
Nice tips for the kindle! I have the older keyboard model and I have found that shutting off the wifi makes the battery last about 30% longer.
Thank you. I can easily believe shutting off the WiFi would make a big difference. (I posted this before, but did it from my Kindle and made too many typos.)
Another great Ible presentation from you my friend, very well written and presented.
Thank you very much.
Nice instructable, Phil. I have the old keyboard model of the Kindle, and just recently bought a Kindle Fire. I keep the keyboard model on a nightstand next to the bed, and the Fire in the family room. I found the keyboard model to be great for reading, but a bit clunky for surfing the web (no touch screen), but its battery life is great. I use the Fire for checking email and surfing the web (while my wife is watching the tv), and reading. It's an amazing device for $199, A neat feature of the Kindle software is that you can read the same book on both devices, and sync to the last page you read, no matter which device you're using. These are great little devices, particular when you travel because of the tremendous amount of information they can hold in a very small package.

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