June 1, 2015
I’ve had a Kindle Fire for over a year now, and I love having all my books at my fingertips. I can read while waiting for an appointment without lugging a big tome, and when I pick up the latest sequel to a series, I can easily refer back to the previous novel without having to dig through my bookshelf. But a Kindle reader can do so much more than just store digital books. Here are some cool things you didn’t know your Kindle could do.
Read for free
Project Gutenberg has a lending library of more than 45,000 eBooks, all of which are free to download straight to your Kindle. Head to the Project Gutenberg site from your Kindle and locate a title that you’d like to borrow. Click on Download Kindle (with images or without), and the book should appear in your Docs.
Open Library offers a lending library of more than 250,000 eBooks, available to download directly to your device, or read online for free. Create an account and you can borrow up to five titles for two weeks at a time.
The Kindle Owner’s Lending Library offers Amazon Prime Members the chance to borrow any of more than 800,000 eBook titles, including the Harry Potter series, J.R.R. Tolkien classics, and current and former bestsellers. Eligible titles bear the “Prime” badge next to them, and you simply click “borrow for free” from the options under the “buy” button. Return books when you’re done reading them on the Amazon website under Manage Your Content and Devices by choosing “return this book” from the list of Actions.
Get digital copies of books you own
If you amassed a sizeable traditional library before getting your Kindle, you may be able to get eBook versions of books you previously purchased through Amazon at a significant discount (typically $.99 to $2.99 per eBook) using Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook program. To see if any of your previously purchased books qualify, head to www.amazon.com/gp/digital/ep-landing-page.
Loan your favorite eBooks
One of the best things about a good book is sharing it with a friend, and some Kindle titles are available to lend to other Kindle users. To find out if your favorite read is eligible, log into your Amazon account, and choose Manage Your Content from your list of Account options. In front of each book title is a little box you can click on under the Actions header. Choose ‘Loan This Title’ from the list of options, and follow the instructions. The recipient has seven days to download the book to their device, and 14 days to read it. You can only loan one book out at a time.
Store your personal notes. You know you can read eBooks on your Kindle, but did you know that you can store files that you create yourself? This comes in handy if you want to review class notes on the go, use your Kindle for presentation cues, or simply store information for future reference.
Kindle Fire owners can easily achieve this functionality using a cloud syncing application like Box, DropBox, or Evernote, but standard Kindle owners can store personal files as well.
You can send over 10 file types to your Kindle, including .doc, .pdf, .gif and .jpeg, by emailing the file as an attachment to your Kindle e-mail address. Find your Kindle e-mail address by going to “Manage Your Content and Devices” – Settings – Personal Document Settings. It should look something like firstname.lastname@example.org. Now add your personal e-mail to the “Approved Document Email List” so that your Kindle will accept messages from your e-mail account.
To send files to your Kindle, first enable Wi-Fi on your device. When you enter your Kindle address in to your e-mail, add “free” to the address, so it appears as @free.kindle.com so that you aren’t charged for data.
Read articles you save from the Web
If you’re like me, you’re constantly coming upon interesting stuff online that you want to save for later. Perhaps you don’t have time to read now, or you know you’ll want to reference the information again. With Instapaper’s premium version ($2.99/mo) you can save that article, recipe, tutorial – whatever you come across while browsing the web – and have it pushed to your Kindle so you can access it whenever you like.
Simply create an account with Instapaper, go to Settings and choose Kindle under delivery options. Follow the instructions to add Instapaper to your Kindle’s “approved personal document e-mail list,” locate your unique Kindle e-mail address, and add it to your Instapaper account.
Kindle Fire owners can do even more using some great free apps, available for download through the Amazon Kindle App store.
iHeart Radio lets you stream radio from all over the world to your Kindle, so you can listen to your favorite talk show or DJ even if they aren’t broadcasting in your area. Or check out Slacker Radio for on demand music streaming.
Read and store content from the Web
Feedly is an RSS feed reader that lets you read and organize content, from blog posts to magazine articles, and suggests new things to read based on topics you like.
Netflix users should download the Netflix app to their Kindle Fire to stream movies wherever they have Wi-Fi access.
Get free news
The Associated Press is a non-profit news cooperative committed to independent journalism. Their free AP Mobile app allows you to customize the content you see on the app’s homepage so you can quickly access the news and stories that interest you most.
Andrea Eldridge is CEO of Nerds On Call, which offers onsite computer and laptop repair service for homeowners and small businesses. Based in Redding, Calif., it has locations in five states. Contact Eldridge at www.callnerds.com/andrea.