Dec 02 2010
A few tips on how I use my Kindle
I started out thinking I didn’t need a case for my Kindle, but over the months I realised that this was a mistake:
- A case means you worry less
- A case makes it easier to hold the Kindle, even though it’s slightly heavier
- A case lets you prop up your Kindle on a table for easier – hands free – reading
- This is the one I went for
Getting content onto your Kindle is key and there’s no better solution than Calibre:
- I have a huge library of eBooks built up over the years in all manner of formats. Many of these are public domain books from Project Gutenberg, some of them PDF documents and many more are electronic equivalents of the many thousands of paper books that I’ve purchased. Calibre lets me convert these books to suit whichever eReader I happen to have at the time starting with Sony, then iPad, now Kindle.
- Amazon has a good collection of free eBooks, note that if you get them from Amazon then your reading position will sync across your devices (assuming you have Kindle apps on them). If you load them from Calibre then you only get them on your physical Kindle
- Amazon has listed other free book collections
- Although I like to read magazines on the iPad, Calibre auto-downloads content off magazine web sites and formats and packages it up for reading on the kindle for free. The results are generally excellent. Even better it will email the books direct to the Kindle (I use my gmail account to go this). I leave Calibre running on my Home Server and so each week the magazines all just arrive on the Kindle like magic.
- Instapaper is a web service that allows me to capture web content that I want to read from many sources including Google Reader, Twitter and arbitrary web sites. Gathering web sites is as simple as clicking a bookmarklet, or using the Firefox addin Send to Instapaper. The Instapaper web service stores all of the URL’s and then on a daily basis will email a neatly packaged up “book” to your Kindle for offline reading. It’s not as good as the iPad experience which is fully synchronised with the web service, but it’s still useful. I’m hoping that when the Kindle Appstore gets going one of the first apps in it will be Instapaper!
Getting content to the Kindle
I use several methods:
- Calibre will transfer content directly to the Kindle via USB, perfect for bulk loading a large collection of books
- I generally use email to get ad-hoc content to the Kindle. I have a 3G Kindle, but I don’t generally want to use 3G for delivery of content, because then I have to pay for it, so I set my threshold to Zero (see pic) and then everything gets delivered via WIFI at no cost, regardless of which email address it’s sent to.
- Every week Calibre sends me a bunch of magazines via email, over WIFI
- Every night Instapaper send me a bunch of web pages via email over WIFI. Although Instapaper says it doesn’t use the free kindle email service, you won’t get charged if you set your “personal document charge limit” as I have it above.
- I buy — way too many — books as well via the Kindle store and they all get delivered over WIFI or 3G depending on where I am