What else can you do with the Kindle besides read?

The Kindle is a dedicated eBook reader. It’s focused on reading, and built from the ground up to be a good reading device.

However, there are quite a few non-reading related things you can do with it.

Ran into an article that mentioned 5 things – playing games, surfing the Net, using InstaPaper, text to speech, social sharing. Well, let’s see if we can come up with a better list.

Things You can do with Your Kindle

Let’s start off with a rough list -

  1. Check your email. You must use the mobile versions of sites. While the big 3 email providers (Yahoo, Hotmail, GMail) work, some of the smaller ones don’t. Your Comcast or RoadRunner email account might not work – Do a search to confirm.
  2. Check the News, Weather, Quotes, and Scores. Using mobile versions of sites, you can get access to all these services.
  3. Surf the Internet, and read sites and blogs. The Kindle 3’s browser does a decent job of displaying sites. Selecting items and moving around is a pain – but things display fine for the most part. Note that some sites won’t work.
  4. Browse Wikipedia. 
  5. Listen to Music. It’s designed to be background music, so the only options are to pause/resume a track, and to skip to the next track. However, the stereo speakers let you listen to music if you don’t mind the limitations.
  6. Listen to Audiobooks. If you have an Audible audiobook, or audiobooks in mp3 format, you can use your Kindle to listen to them.
  7. Convert your books and documents into audiobooks with text to speech. For all documents you add, and for books which don’t have Text to Speech disabled by their Publishers, you can have the Kindle read the book to you.
  8. Read Manga. You’ll need a program like Mangle to optimize images for the Kindle. After that, you can read your manga on your Kindle. Kindle isn’t built for this, so the experience isn’t going to be spectacular – it’ll be decent.
  9. View Images. You can load up your images, and browse through them. Here too the experience is decent, not spectacular.
  10. Play Free Games. Minesweeper and Gomoku are built-in, and are very rudimentary. There are also 4 free Kindle Apps – Minesweeper again, Blackjack, and two word games (Shuffled Row, Every Word).
  11. Play ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ type games. There are 3 Kindle Games of this type, and they’re all paid – Dusk World, Choice of the Dragon, Choice of Broadsides.
  12. Play Puzzles and Word Puzzles and Card Games. There are around 20 paid games in the Kindle App Store – They range from NY Times Crosswords to Scrabble to Mahjongg Solitaire.

Those are the obvious things. Next, let’s look at some additional things you can do on your Kindle.

Stretching the Kindle’s usefulness

There are a bunch of additional things you can do, though not always very well, on the Kindle -

  1. Check the Time and Date. Press Menu to see the time in the status bar at the top of the page. On the Home Page, type in @t to see the date and time.
  2. Upload a blank text document to your Kindle, and use it to type out your grocery list, or to type out notes.
  3. Use Kindle for driving directions – Go to the mobile version of Google Maps.
  4. Shop. You can obviously buy books – However, you can also use the browser to do other types of shopping. It’s slow and clunky, but doable. The mobile version of Amazon works decently well.
  5. Read Sheet Music. You can actually buy sheet music books. You can also upload your own PDFs or images with sheet music.
  6. View Knitting Patterns. Upload images of knitting patterns on your Kindle, and use it as a knitting reference.
  7. Create a vocabulary list. Whenever you look up a word in the dictionary – highlight it. Then go into the dictionary, and find and highlight other words you want in your vocabulary list. Now, when you are in the Dictionary, you can go to ‘View My Notes & Marks’ in the Menu, and you get your Vocabulary List.
  8. Use as a Picture Frame. Use the Kindle screensaver hack to allow your own screensavers. Then put the photos you want as screensavers.
  9. Use Read It Later or InstaPaper. During the day/week, collect all the articles you want to read using either of these tools. Then download the articles to your Kindle, and read them later when you have time.
  10. Keep a document full of Song Lyrics.
  11. Carry user guides for your camera and other devices.
  12. Use Kindle as a USB drive. 3.3 GB out of the 4 GB memory is available to Kindle owners – which means you’ll usually have a few GB free, and can use Kindle as a USB drive.
  13. Use it for scripts and screenplays.
  14. Use it for podcasts and radio shows. You’ll have to download these to your PC, and then transfer them to your Kindle. After that, you can play them like regular mp3 files.
  15. Keep travel confirmations and information, such as flight numbers and flight confirmation numbers.
  16. Check in to your flight from the Kindle. This might not work for some airline websites.
  17. Put in Menus for your favorite restaurants. Put in a document with phone numbers for restaurants and delivery services.
  18. Use it as a phone book. Upload a text document that has all your contacts.
  19. Keep your workout routine.
  20. Search for what’s good nearby. If you’re out, and want to grab a meal – just Google for the closest restaurants. Thanks to Andrys for this tip.
  21. For authors – Use it to see what your book will read like. You can take a half-finished manuscript, put it on the Kindle, and get a great idea what it reads like.
  22. Download rules for games, when on a trip, so everyone can join in.
  23. Use it for trading. Might not work if you’re a high frequency trader.
  24. Get a themed skin or cover, and show off your Kindle, and your good taste, in public. Candidates include Monet and Van Gogh skins, and Greaty Gatsby and Great Expectations covers.
  25. Use CutePDF to convert a website into a PDF, and read it later.
  26. Put travel guides and travel articles on your Kindle for trips.
  27. Find cocktail recipes and instructions. You could also check up on hangover cures the next day.
  28. Use for study notes.
  29. Use for vocabulary lists.
  30. Put meditation music on it, and use your Kindle to relax.
  31. For Pilots – Use it for aviation charts.
  32. Use a translation dictionary with the Kindle. Also, you can collect travel phrases online, copy them into a text document, and put the document on your Kindle.
  33. Store genealogy records on it.
  34. Store lecture notes on your Kindle.
  35. Put the TV schedule on it.
  36. Check movie showtimes.
  37. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers, and your doctor’s contact information.
  38. Keep a list of birthdays.
  39. Keep a list of gift ideas, and a gift checklist – mark off gifts that have already been bought.
  40. Check reviews and prices using the Kindle’s browser, when you are buying something in a store.
  41. Have a speech or a presentation read to you, to see how it sounds.
  42. Use your Kindle instead of cue cards, when doing a presentation.

A lot of credit to this excellent thread on ‘Unusual and Unique Uses of the Kindle’ started by Jonathan K. L.

It’s amazing to see all the innovative ways in which Kindle owners are using their Kindles. All the new ways in which you can use your Kindle, from point 10. onwards on the second list, are things Kindle owners have come up with. It just goes to show – You can never predict all the new and interesting uses people will think up for your device.

8 Responses

  1. If you do any public speaking, it can be useful for notes to read from. I am a pastor, and I keep sermon notes in my Kindle.

  2. Surf the Internet, and read sites and blogs. The Kindle 3′s browser does a decent job of displaying sites.

    WordPress, and now Blogger, have mobile modes. I’ve got the mobile version of my blog (click my name for the link) up on my Kindle 2 now, and it looks great — much better (and faster loading) than the default. There’s a bunch of short stories and two novels free for the reading there, so it’s kind of appropriate to plug the link here. ;) The default text size is a tad small, but that can be fixed with the Aa button.

    I like Greg’s idea. I’m a lay speaker at my church, so I’ll have to try using my Kindle for sermon notes too.

  3. What a dumb article. All the “features” mentioned either work badly/slowly or are “experimental”, and the list is basically “what can I do on the Internet?”

  4. Not sure what u mean by time showing up on home screen using @t. Doesn’t work for me, but the menu button brings up the time. I know not everyone has an iPad, but I use my iPad for most of what you talked about because it’s too lame on the Kindle. I suppose if you were stranded somewhere and that was your only source, it be OK.

  5. Will we be able to listen to audio streams with a Kindle 3 through its web browser? I realize this will use up battery power.

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