Friday, February 27, 2009

Kindle 101

I took my Kindle to work today and showed it to a couple of people. They asked me some questions that made it clear they didn't really know much about it, so I thought I would explain how the thing works.

There have been ereaders around for a while. You can buy ebooks from several different sites on the web and there are places where you can get free ones. With most ereaders you get the book from the web, download it to your computer, and then transfer it to your ereader. Kindles work differently. buy a Kindle you have to go to the Amazon web site and order it. When you do you will, of course, give them a credit card number or some other payment method. Unless you go back to the web site later, that payment method is what Amazon is going to use to charge you for any books you buy. It is like any other purchase on Amazon, and some time later your Kindle shows up.

When you get the Kindle you turn it on it connects wirelessly to Amazon and registers itself. In the upper left hand corner it will say something like, "Yondalla's Kindle." Amazon calls the wireless service it uses the "whispernet" but it is really the Sprint cell phone system. You don't have to worry about that though. You don't have to own a cell phone and you certainly don't have to own a Sprint cell phone. You just need to live somewhere that gets the service. Check here. I think that if you live somewhere that does not have service you can download to your computer and transfer, but I'm not sure.

So now you have your Kindle and it is registered and Amazon has your credit card information. Now you need to get books. You can do that in two ways with Amazon.

Method 1: Go to Amazon, search for books, and click "buy it now with 1-Click." It will tell you that the book will be on your Kindle in about a minute. If you haven't turned off the wireless function to save battery life, that will be true. You will sit and stare at your Kindle while nothing at all happens for about a minute. Then the book will show up. If your wireless was turned off when you ordered the book you will have to turn it on, click "menu" and then select "sync and check for items" before it downloads.

Method 2: Click "menu" on the Kindle. If the wireless is turned off, turn it on. Select "Shop in Kindle Store." Watch the little circle thing spin for a minute. You will see a list of some books that are recommended for you and some links for browsing. If you know what book you want to read, just type. You don't have to select anything. Just type the title or author when the store front opens. Then click "search" and wait to find out if they have the book. If they do, click "buy" and in a minute, it will be on your Kindle.

If you use Method 2, you do not have to be near your computer. You do not have to be in a wifi hot spot. You do not have to own a cell phone or anything. You can be sitting in the car while your partner drives and decide you want something to read.

Here's another cool thing, if you aren't sure you want to buy it you can click "Send a Sample Now" and you will get the first chapter or so. You can read that. If you like it, you can buy it.

It is really easy. Really, super easy.

It's like the main purpose of the devise is to make buying books an impulse decision so that you will give them lots and lots of money.

Oh, if you live with people you don't trust, guard it. Cause it is WAY easy to buy books on it.

Did I mention that buying books might even be too easy?

Requiring a password wouldn't be a terrible idea, Amazon.

Amazon has about 7000 books that you can download free. There are other sites that have free books you can read on the Kindle, but those you will have to download to the computer and transfer to the Kindle with the provided cable. See Suesqueak's comment on the previous Kindle post.

You can have your own documents (e.g. word) sent to the Kindle. Amazon will format them for the Kindle free. You can either have them sent to an email address and then load them yourself or you can pay 10 cents to have them sent to your Kindle wirelessly.


  1. Thanks Yondalla!

  2. So Cool. Thank you again for writing about it.


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