Five Ways to Get the Most out of Your Kindle

Are you the proud owner of a Kindle? Are you thinking of getting one? Will you land one for Christmas? It’s a simple device, so it’s easy to get the most out of it. Here are five of my favourite features.

It will come as no surprise to most of you that I love reading and I love learning.

Although I resisted the idea of an e-book reader for ages (holding a book in your hands is part of the reading experience), I started to experiment with it when my boyfriend bought one. Hmmm, interesting, it’s not that uncomfortable to read a novel on it… look, no hands!

When my friend Maria bought me one, I was left with no choice. Now I carry with me 37 books, a few magazines and about 30 documents. All together they weigh less than a paperback.

Magic Kindle

But the Kindle is much more than an eco-friendly reading device. If you like learning and you like reading, here are

Five Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle.

1. Make notes and highlights.

It’s really easy and much easier with the Kindle Keyboard (which makes the device look a lot less sexy but hey, we can’t all look like the witch in the illustration!).

If you find a passage that you particularly like, just move the cursor up by using the 5-way key (works a bit like a joystick), press the key, press the arrow to highlight (works like a mouse) and then press again to save. (This is a particularly useful feature if you read while travelling on public transport. You can “underline” with one hand, while standing. Magic!)

Similarly, to make a note, make the cursor appear by pressing an arrow on the 5-way and type away. (Typing might take a while on the sexy non-touch-screenKindle, so if you are doubting which model to go for, bear this in mind.)

If you are into social media, you can even tweet your highlights. Some of the books already have highlights from other readers but you can easily turn this off from your Settings menu > Popular Highlights (turn off).

2. Use the Collections.

If like me, you have turned buying books into a sport (or an addiction, depending on how you look at it), you will probably want to organise your books so that they are not all listed on your Home area. Collections work like folders on a computer (or shelves in a library).

You can create a new collection from the Settings menu. Once you have created a collection, you can easily add books on it by placing the cursor on the collection name and clicking the -> on the 5-way. You can also add individual books to collections by clicking on the -> 5-way when they are highlighted.

3. Read your own documents.

When reading long reports, articles or reviewing my own work, I much prefer to do it on paper. Also, I much prefer to do this in a different environment to my desk – on trains, coffee shops etc, which means I can easily end up carrying lots of pieces of paper on long journeys.

The Kindle allows you to e-mail documents to your special Kindle e-mail, where amazon then converts them into Kindle-friendly documents and sends them to your Kindle. You can then add notes and highlights as above (and read them of course). At the moment it only supports certain file types, which do not include PDF (i.e. the PDFs can be read, but as a picture) but it does convert Word documents. So if you are working on a long writing project, this might be useful.

4. Subscribe to a newspaper or magazine.

Magazine subscriptions are cheaper on the Kindle. I was also not sure about reading magazines on a Kindle as you miss the glossiness, the browsing experience and the colour.

HOWEVER: you can take all the issues with you; they are delivered to you wherever you are (as long as your Kindle is with you) and not to your postbox; if you make notes on the articles, they all appear in one place. If you subscribe to a daily newspaper, you can imagine the advantages!

You can subscribe for 14 days for free, to see how the magazine is laid out, how easy it is to browse and whether you are actually going to get around to reading the articles. There are not many magazines Kindle-ready yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

5. Buy free and cheap books.

Amazon subsidised the new Kindle, making it really cheap so that more people could afford it. Of course they will make up their losses on book sales.

You can also pay off your Kindle and reduce your book budget by keeping an eye out for limited time offers (some highlighted on the Kindle post, the blog on your store homepage) and the Kindle daily deal, which promotes a different book each day at about 70% of its price. And of course, any book out of copyright is free.

Photo credits:
Magical Witch by Mandie
World Paper Money by caltiva

I don’t work for Amazon. I don’t know anyone who works for Amazon. But I do like the company. Today I almost didn’t write this post because I discovered that lending on the Kindle (the equivalent of lending a book to someone) was restricted to the USA. As I like sharing books, this made me a bit doubtful about continuing to advocate for the Kindle. However, the fact that I got a reply from customer services regarding this in less than hour, meant that my loyalty to the Kindle has been left untouched.

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