I know a lot of people are hungry for more Kindle tips and tricks, especially the millions of new Kindle owners who received one as a gift for Christmas! So to start the new year right, here’s the answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions people have about their Kindles.
Can I lend the books on my Kindle?
You can now! Just last week Amazon announced many ebooks can now be “loaned” to other users — so they can try them without having to buy them first! “Eligible Kindle books can be loaned once for a period of 14 days,” Amazon explained on their web site, adding that you could even read the ebooks without owning a Kindle, using one of Amazon’s free Kindle reading applications like the Kindle for iPhone app or Kindle for Mac. “Not all books are lendable,” Amazon explained (saying it was up to the publishers). On your PC, go to Amazon’s web site and find the page for any ebook that you’ve already purchased. Many ebooks will now say “Lending Enabled” in their “product details” section, which means the book is eligible for lending!
Amazon warns users that they won’t be able to read their ebooks during the period when the ebooks are “on loan” to another user. But to actually lend the ebook, go to the “Manage Your Kindle” page at the URL Amazon.com/myk. Enter the name and e-mail address of the lucky person who’s receiving your loaned ebook — and you’re ready to go.
And one webmaster has already created a new web site called booksformykindle.com which hopes to attract Kindle owners who’d be willing to loan you their ebooks!
Where can I find free ebooks?
The best place to start is Amazon’s list of the Top 100 free ebooks. It’s available online — and I’ve even made a shorter URL so it’s easier to remember.
But you can also access Amazon’s free ebook list on your Kindle. Just select “Shop in the Kindle store,” and on its front page choose “Kindle Top Sellers.” By default Amazon lists the top 100 paid ebooks, but if you click on the link at the upper-right of your screen, you can switch to Amazon’s list of the “Kindle Top 100 Free.”
(And remember, you can also go straight to the Kindle store just by pressing the ALT key and the HOME button at the same time.)
You can also download more than 34,000 free ebooks — mostly great novels and classic literature — from a web site called Project Gutenberg. Just download these ebooks to your PC, and then transfer them to your Kindle with your USB cable or over your WiFi connection — or e-mail them to your Kindle’s e-mail address.
How do I find the e-mail address for my Kindle?
Remember, Amazon has that special page where you (m)anage (y)our (K)kindle — at the URL Amazon.com/myk. The first thing they list on that web page is the e-mail address for sending documents and files to your Kindle. Note that there’s a small delivery charge of a few extra pennies — but it’s a very convenient way to send your personal documents and files to your Kindle!
Can I put my own pictures on the Kindle?
Yes! Just attach them to an e-mail and send them to your Kindle’s e-mail address. They’ll appear as a choice on your Kindle’s home page, displaying the file’s name instead of an ebook title. Highlight and click on the files name, and you’ll see it displayed on the screen of your Kindle!
Why doesn’t Amazon support the epub file format, so I can download ebooks from my public library?
UPDATE: In May of 2011, Amazon announced that they’d soon start supporting the ePub format on the Kindle.
But as recently as December, the Los Angeles Times asked Amazon’s VP of content why Amazon insisted on using a “proprietary” file format – and received this answer.
“We chose a format that we felt would give us better performance and superior ease of use. It’s the reason why the Kindle has faster page turns than some of the other devices. Because we control our own standard, we can develop applications that let customers read Kindle books on the iPhone, Android tablet, iPad, BlackBerrys and PC.”
When I delete an ebook, it just goes into my archive. How can I permanently delete an ebook?
Go to amazon.com/myk and find the ebook in the “Your Orders” section. Then click the “+” icon, and then click the “Delete this title” button.
How can I contact Amazon’s customer service?
I’ve created a “custom URL” that will take you straight to Amazon’s “Customer Support” page.
The “contact support” link lists their toll-free support number — 1-866-321-8851 — as well as other landlines if you’re trying to call Amazon from outside of the U.S.
Is Amazon selling more ebooks than printed books?
No. But they are selling more ebooks than printed books if you’re just looking at the top 1,000 best-selling titles, according to an October press release from Amazon.
And in December, Amazon’s Vice President of Content also said that the day when ebooks finally start outselling printed books “is not too far off!”