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Using the Kindle with Special Offers

Once the Kindle is charged, you simply slide the power switch on the bottom to turn it on or to wake it from its sleep mode. A green light indicates that the battery has enough charge for book reading. (If the battery gets low, the light turns to amber.)

You can put the Kindle to sleep by sliding and releasing the power switch. The Kindle will go into sleep mode automatically after ten minutes of inactivity.

Reading on the Kindle is a pleasurable experience. Since the Kindle with Special Offers is lighter than the average paperback and thinner than a magazine, it is easy to hold and to handle. The E Ink Pearl technology has a 50% better contrast than previous screens, so it is easy on the eyes. The text size adjustments make it a great reading device for those with vision problems.

Although there is a noticeable “flash” when turning pages, this has been greatly improved since the first Kindle. Since the new Pearl E ink display has a faster refresh rate, pages now turn quickly and easily.

Figure 11 shows two fairly large buttons on each side of the Kindle screen that are marked with small arrows (< and >). These are used for turning pages. The > takes you to the next page. The < takes you to the previous page. These keys are flush with the bezel on the side of the screen, so are unobtrusive yet easy to find, either by sight or by feel. Page turning produces only a faint clicking sound, so reading on your Kindle may actually be quieter than reading a real book.

Kindle Wi-Fi with Special OffersFigure 11: The keys for page turning

Battery life is excellent. If you turn the Wi-Fi off, you can get up to a month without recharging. Even if you leave the Wi-Fi on, you can read on the Kindle every day and still have the battery last from seven to ten days. This is only marred by the fact that the battery is not user-replaceable.

Although this Kindle does not have cellular capabilities, it is still easy to purchase and download a book. If you are connected to a wireless network, you can buy a book by accessing the Amazon Kindle Store right on your Kindle. The book will download to your Kindle in just a few minutes. You can also purchase a book from the Kindle Store on your computer and transfer it to your Kindle via the included USB cable.

When you connect your Kindle to the computer, it appears as a drive so that you can drag and drop files to the Kindle, as well. This allows you to add music as well as your own files.

Even though you cannot control the sequence of the music, listening to music that you like can add to a pleasurable reading experience. You can also attach headphones if you want to read and listen to music without disturbing others. The stereo speakers are on the back of the Kindle, so the sound gets slightly muffled if you add a cover to the Kindle, however, sound volume is still adequate for the reader to hear the music.

The back of the Kindle, shown in Figure 12, has two sets of openings near the top for the stereo speakers.

Kindle Wi-Fi with Special OffersFigure 12: The back

This Kindle has improved support for PDFs. There are six contrast settings for the PDFs, and this Kindle also supports password protected PDFs.

You can have ebooks, PDFs, and other documents easily converted to the Kindle format and sent to your Kindle email address. Each Kindle has a unique email address that you can customize on your Manage Your Kindle page, which you can find by accessing your Kindle account at Amazon.com. You can send unprotected Microsoft Word, PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI files to your Kindle email address. You simply attach the file or files that you want converted to your Kindle’s email address using the format: "name"@free.kindle.com. The converted files are sent to the Kindle via Wi-Fi and are also emailed to the address that is associated with your Amazon account at no charge.

The bad news about PDFs is that depending on their original formatting, even after the Kindle conversion, you may have to use the five-way controller to scroll both side-to-side and up-and-down to read them. This can be very aggravating.

Amazon support and infrastructure for the Kindle has come a long way since they introduced their first Kindle device. Their support pages are excellent, and their “Manage Your Kindle” area has many different options. You can even set up certain email addresses to be allowed to send attachments to your Kindle address for a small fee. Only the email addresses that you register are allowed to use your Kindle address – a well-thought-out feature.

Besides reading on your Kindle, you can read your Kindle books on a PC or a Mac. There are also free apps that allow you to read your Kindle books on mobile devices like an iPhone, Android phone, iPad, Android tablet, and Blackberry device. Your Kindle keeps track of how far you have read. So if you read on your Kindle and then switch to reading on your phone, you will be taken to the place in the book where you left off on your Kindle. A really great feature.

You can also lend many, but not all, Kindle books to others for 14 days and they can read them on whatever device they own. Kindle books can also be loaned from many libraries and most libraries are scheduled to be able to handle Kindle lending by the end of 2011.

Books you purchase from Amazon’s Kindle Store are automatically backed up in your Kindle library so you can re-download books wirelessly for free, anytime.

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Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up’s Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.