Our Tips for Kindle App is now out for just $1. It has 133 Kindle Tips collected over 3.5 years of Kindle blogging. It also lets you add your own tips, view tips in slideshow mode, select tips and favorites, and export your favorites in text format.
This Kindle Tips post is a continuation of a prior Kindle Tips and Shortcuts post which was a compilation of 50 useful Kindle tips.
This is a list of 40 Kindle Tips mostly gathered from the official Kindle Forum -
Read your Kindle while charging it from a computer
Notice how your Kindle goes into USB Drive Mode when you plug it into your PC. It took me over a year to figure out what the charging screen meant about ‘ejecting’ your Kindle from your computer (hey, it’s not as obvious as you might think).
Go to ‘My Computer’ and you’ll see your Kindle listed as a drive – it’ll show up as something like Kindle (D:). Right click on the drive icon and amongst the options, towards the lower half, there will be an ‘Eject’ option. Press this.
Now your Kindle will keep charging and also come out of ‘USB Drive Mode’ and be usable as an ebook reader. You will, however, not be able to transfer files.
To do that you have to go back into USB mode and the best way to do that is to pull the USB cable out of the Kindle and then put it back in.
Firstly, it’s a good idea to get a screen protector – preferably one that is anti-glare. They’re just $1 to $2.
As far as cleaning here are some of the good options that have been mentioned -
Anti-static wipes used for cleaning LCDs and laptop monitors.
Shoe-shine mitts – especially the tiny ones that hotels hand-out.
Microfiber towels, Shamwow (of all things), and iPhone cleaning cloths have also been suggested.
Create a Make-shift Vocabulary List
Ever wish for a way to add all the new words you find into a Vocabulary List?
Well, here’s one – When you find a word you want to add to your Vocabulary List just go into the Dictionary and highlight the Word and its meaning in the Dictionary. As you keep adding words the ‘Notes & Marks’ section of your Dictionary becomes a de-facto vocabulary list.
Find your Kindle’s Software Version and Type
Go to the Kindle Home Page and Press Menu.
In the Menu choose Settings.
At the bottom right of the Settings screen will be something like ‘Version: Kindle 2.3 (343534243)’. The 2.3 is the firmware version and tells you what Kindle software version your Kindle is on.
To find the type/product line flip around the Kindle and take a look at the Serial No. on the back -
Serial Numbers starting with B003 indicate the Kindle 2 International.
Serial Numbers starting with B002 indicate the Kindle 2 US.
Serial Numbers starting with B005 indicate the Kindle DX International.
Guessing that B001 is Kindle 1 and B004 is Kindle DX US.
Use iGo Universal Charger with the Kindle
The iGo is a universal charger that you can use with a variety of ‘tips’. There are different tips for different devices. Since the Kindle 2 uses a micro-USB port for charging and so do lots of cellphones it’s easy to use the iGo with the Kindle 2.
Choose the A97 tip for the iGo. If you search ‘iGo Kindle’ at Amazon it’ll show up and it specifically says – iGo Tip for Kindle 2, Kindle DX, Motorola etc.
You can also get a Kindle specific iGo pack that includes wall and car chargers and a Kindle tip.
For Kindle 1 you need to get a different tip. It’s the A00 and shows up as the second result when you search for ‘iGo Kindle’ at Amazon. It specifically states ‘for the Original Amazon Kindle’ in the title.
Delete a Book from your Archive
Warning: This will permanently delete the book and you will have to buy it again if you want to get it back.
Go to any page in the Kindle Store on Amazon.com.
Click on the ‘Manage Your Kindle’ link on the top right to go to the Manage My Kindle page.
Log-in if needed.
Scroll down to the ‘Your Orders’ section which lists all your orders.
Click the little ‘+’ to the left of the book you want to delete.
When the row opens up click the ‘Delete the Title’ button on the bottom left of the row.
This will delete the book from your archive and your account and you can only get it back by buying it again.
Highlight Across Pages
If you’re in the middle of highlighting and want to continue highlighting after the end of the current page just press ‘Next Page’. On the new page just press down on the 5-way and your highlight will continue.
Note: Don’t know of a way to do this on Kindle for iPhone.
Kindle Calculator via Browser
Use the Google shortcut in the Browser to go to Google. Type in your calculation into Google (Ex: 75*23) and then press enter to get your result (1725).
This also works for conversions ( convert 1 kilometre into miles) and for currencies (1000 usd to gbp).
Format PDFs and Documents Before adding to the Kindle
If the text sizes and (in Kindle 2.5) PDF zoom aren’t working well for you then format the PDF (or the document) before adding it to the Kindle.
For PDFs – Consider cropping out margins. Increase the Font Size.
For Documents – Increase the Font Size. Make other formatting changes that help readability.
Now when you move the PDF or document to the Kindle the larger font sizes and other changes will be reflected.
Huge list of mobile websites that work well with Kindle
Go to http://cantoni.mobi to get a huge list of websites that have well done mobile versions which will work well with your Kindle’s browser.
You can go to this site from the Kindle’s browser itself. If it hasn’t loaded in 10-15 seconds just press ‘Stop’ and most of it would have loaded and will show up.
Kindle book bargains – Movers and Shakers
Lots of cheap and free books show up in the Movers and Shakers section of the Kindle Store. You’ll have to go to Amazon.com > Kindle Store > Bestsellers and then choose Movers and Shakers.
Free books usually make it into the Kindle Bestsellers list and can be accessed from the Kindle itself.
Progress Bar Trick to mark Progress
Note: Not being able to do this on Kindle 2 International at the moment.
(Courtesy Robin) Any highlights or notes in a book are marked as a little black dot on the progress bar.
You could go to the beginning of each chapter in a book and make a note. Then on the home page you can use the progress bar to quickly see how far along the book and chapter you are.
Cheapest cover and reading light
Search ‘Kindle light Clip-on LED’ at Amazon.com to find a $4.99 book light (shipping is $2.98). No idea of quality.
Search ‘Kindle Cover’ in the Electronics Store at Amazon.com and sort by Price:Low to High. You’ll see lots of Kindle Skins, carrying sleeves, anti-glare protective screens, and more for $5 and under. No idea of the quality – although a few seem to be well reviewed.
Better Kindle Contrast via a Dark Skin
An easy way to get better contrast on the Kindle is to use a black or dark blue skin. Even one with a design in dark colors would do although a black skin would be ideal. This causes the background of the Kindle to seem whiter (in contrast) and the text of the Kindle in turn seems clearer.
Use Text to Speech to create a virtual Auto-Scroll feature
(Courtesy KCDude) Turn down the volume on your Kindle to zero. Start Text to Speech using Shift+SYM. Press Aa and choose one out of slower, default, or faster Speech Rates based on what your reading speed is.
Now just let the text to speech feature turn pages for you. Of course you might find that none of the 3 TTS speeds suit your preferences and in that case this won’t work.
Download Files directly to your Kindle
(Courtesy Tillamook Bay) Most help pages and guides talk about downloading a file to your computer, then attaching the Kindle, and then transferring files to the Documents folder of your Kindle (or for images the Pictures folder).
Instead – First plug-in your Kindle and let it show up as a drive. Then save files directly to your Kindle.
Note: If you want a backup then also save a copy on your computer.
Copy-Paste Text into the Search Field
(Courtesy PaxtonReader) Use the 5-way to highlight the text you want to search for (a name, a phrase, a book title, etc.) and then instead of clicking the 5-way again to create a highlight simply press the Space Bar.
This will copy the text and paste it into the Search Field. You can search for it or you can save it as a note (by scrolling through choices and choosing Note).
Peeramid bookrest for Comfortable Reading
At Amazon you can find the atrociously named Peeramid Bookrest which is a pyramid-shaped book rest very appropriate for use with the Kindle.
It provides a good viewing angle, one-handed reading (hands only needed when turning pages, use with the virtual autoscroll tip to free both hands), and in general looks pretty cool. It’s also supposed to be great for reading in bed.
Switch Wireless Providers for WhisperNet
Please be careful as you may lose your WhisperNet connection. Only recommended for tech savvy users.
On the Home Page press Menu and choose ‘Settings’. On the Settings Page type in 311 to get a dialog that asks you to confirm that you want to switch the wireless provider for Whispernet. Please read the dialog box before proceeding.
(courtesy Dianne Gorman)
Make your Kindle easier to Return if Lost
(Courtesy Alan) Go to Home Page and Press Menu. On the Menu choose Settings. On the Settings Page -
That way it’s hard for people to miss your information and if they intend to return your kindle they’ll be able to contact you quite easily.
You have to just press Shift, not hold it down
When typing and needing capital letters it is enough to press Shift once. You don’t have to do Shift+g to get ‘G’. It’s enough to press Shift, let go, press g and you’ll get a capital G.
(courtesy Dianne Gorman)
Ziploc bag reading
Jeff Bezos Approved ;) . To read the Kindle in the tub, at the pool, on the beach etc. without fear of getting it wet just put it inside a ziplock bag.
You could also get a Trendy Digital Waterproof case for your Kindle.
Get an Amazon Gift Certificate for your loose change
Some Coinstar machines let you choose an Amazon Gift Card in return for your loose change. The value of the gift card is the full value of your change.
Go to www.coinstar.com for a list of places that have CoinStar machines and for information on which of those let you get Amazon gift certificates.
eInk Fading in the Sun
Sometimes you might see eInk fading when in the sun (it doesn’t affect all Kindles). In case it affects your Kindle simply press Alt+G, the shortcut to refresh the screen and remove ghosting, and it will refresh the screen and get rid of the fading.
Note: No idea of why this fading happens and no idea if there are long-term implications.
Duracell Instant Charger for an extra charge
If you are travelling or just want an emergency/backup power supply for your Kindle consider getting a Duracell Instant Charger. It’s reasonably priced and there are multiple variants – http://ireaderreview.com/2009/09/05/kindle-battery-accessory/.
Get Free Books from Munsey’s – straight to your Kindle
Munsey’s has a great Kindle compatible site with lots of free books in Kindle format – http://www.munseys.com/joomla/.
Clicking on any of the links downloads a Kindle compatible .prc file. These are all public domain books and they’ve very well categorized.
Get Free Books from Feedbooks – straight to your Kindle
Feedbooks have both a Kindle compatible website and a Kindle download guide. Either can be used to download Kindle format free books.
Go to http://www.feedbooks.com/?format=mobile straight from your Kindle and then search for whatever interests you and choose to download the Mobipocket/Kindle format books.
Get Tips, Help from Amazon’s Kindle Forum
The official Amazon Kindle forum has lots of good tips and lots of kindle owners to talk to.
Type in http://www.amazon.com/tag/kindle/forum/ into your PC or Mac browser and check out everything it has to offer.
Access Your My Clippings file on your PC
All the notes and highlights you make are stored in a text file called My Clippings. You can access this on your Kindle by clicking on the ‘My Clippings’ book.
You can also access this file on your PC. Connect your Kindle to your PC and then go to the Documents folder of the Kindle and click on the My Clippings text file to open it up in Notepad. For each note or highlight it will have the Book’s name, the location in the book, the time and date of making the note/highlight, and then the note/highlight itself.
Notes/Highlights are separated by ‘==========’. You can save a backup of your notes on your PC. You can also use these notes and highlights in any way you like.
Note: Another way to access your highlights and notes is via Kindle for PC.
Access Google Reader from Your Kindle
You can access Google Reader from your Kindle by using the mobile version of the site – http://www.google.com/reader/m.
You can also access other Google products like GMail (http://m.gmail.com) and Google Calendar (http://www.google.com/calendar/m).
Get Tips and News from Kindle Blogs
There are various Kindle Blogs worth checking out – Kindle World (http://kindleworld.blogspot.com/) and Kindle Nation Daily (http://kindlehomepage.blogspot.com) are two good choices.
You can subscribe to these and other Kindle Blogs on your Kindle or just visit them via your PC.
Get Tips and meet Kindle Owners at Kindle Forums
The best options include -
Official Kindle Forum – http://www.amazon.com/tag/kindle/forum/.
Kindle Korner – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kindlekorner/.
MobileRead – http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=140.
Better Understand the Kindle Browser
Clear Cache – Deletes the browser’s cache. This is all the temporary files the browser has saved up.
Clear History – Deletes your browsing history. A good idea to clear your history and prevent other people (who have access to your Kindle) from knowing what sites you visited.
Clear Cookies – Deletes cookies that websites put on your Kindle and use to track you or keep your password so you don’t have to log-in repeatedly.
Disable Images/Enable Images – Text only browsing mode that is useful if you don’t want images to slow you down.
Turn off your Kindle
You can put your Kindle to sleep and wake it up by sliding the power button. The Kindle does not use energy when in sleep mode so you don’t need to turn it off.
To turn off the Kindle – Just slide the power switch to off position and hold it for 4 seconds. Turn it on by sliding the power switch again (just sliding it is enough).
To restart the Kindle – Slide the power switch and hold for 15 seconds.
Start Text to Speech at a particular word
To start TTS at a particular word or at a particular spot on a page – Move the cursor to the spot. Press Shift and SYM buttons at the same time. Now, TTS will start from that spot.
Once TTS is on press the Aa key to change the speed and voice. Press Space to pause/restart Text To Speech.
Restart Kindle using Menus
Instead of restarting the Kindle by sliding and holding the power switch for 15 seconds try this -
1) On the Kindle Home Page press Menu and in the Menu select ‘Settings’.
2) On the Settings page press Menu and in the Menu select ‘Restart’.
Quickly Delete a Book or Item
Go to the Kindle Home Page by pressing the Home Button.
Navigate to the item you want to delete using the 5-way cursor.
Press ‘Left’ on the 5-way cursor to bring up the little ‘delete’ button.
Press the 5-way cursor to confirm deletion.
See Cover Image and Details of a Book or Item
Press Home to go to your Kindle’s Home Page.
Use the 5-way to go to the item you want to find out more about.
Press ‘Right’ on the 5-way cursor to bring up the ‘Details’ Page.
Usually a cover image and a few other options are presented.
For books you get – Option to go to last page read, beginning, the index or a location. Option to look at your notes and marks for the book.
Keep Track of new Releases
Chris Schaeffer’s www.ReaderAlert.com lets you keep track of new releases by your favorite authors or new releases corresponding to any keyword or genre.
You could go in and create an alert for every time there is a mystery novel released for the Kindle. Create an alert for every time a book corresponding to ‘vampire+romance’ gets added to the Kindle Store or one that lets you know every time a new Robin Hobb book reaches the Kindle Store.
How to disable personal document transfers to Kindle
If you’re concerned about document transfers costing you money just go to the Manage Your Kindle section at Amazon.com.
There you can specify a personal document charge limit. Set this to zero and every document will be sent to your @free.kindle.com address (i.e. to the email associated with your Kindle instead of to your Kindle) and you never have to pay charges for personal document transfers.
Of course, you don’t get them on your Kindle (you get a notification instead) – so it’s not all win-win.
Well, hopefully a few of these 40 tips prove useful to you.