SENDTO

You’ve found an interesting web page, and you want to read it on your Kindle. There’s been tricks in the past that could make that happen — but Amazon’s just relased their own slick, official solution. Now any web site on the internet can just add a “Send to Kindle” icon right to their pages. Clicking that icon brings up a window with a preview of the article, along with a big yellow “Send” button that will deliver it straight to your Kindle!

You can try out the new icons on the web pages at Time magazine’s site (Time.com). But that’s just the beginning, because Amazon’s also created some other fun ways to send web pages to your Kindle, as well as documents off your own hard drive, and even documents on your smartphone! So even if a web site hasn’t included “Send to Kindle” icons, Amazon’s also offering some other options. Amazon’s collected them all together into a special “Send To Kindle” web page.

For a shortcut, just point your browser to
tinyurl.com/KindleSending

For example, Amazon’s created a special “extension” for two of the most popular web browsers — Firefox and Chrome — with promises that they’re also working on a third extension for Apple’s Safari browser. “We just send the content you want, and not the distractions,” Amazon brags — meaning that they’ve eliminated most of the banner ads that usually accompany web pages (along with at least some of the images that are part of the article). And I like how the articles are formatted like a book instead of a web page (Meaning you flick your finger to the right to advance to the next page, rather than swiping it down to move lower on one single continuous page.)

The best thing about the browser extension is it’s easy to use. It just puts a cute little “K” icon to the right of the search window, and you click that to bring up a window which will either send or preview the web page first. If you have more than one Kindle, Amazon gives you checkboxes where you can select which Kindles should receive the web page. And there’s even a checkbox to select whether you also want the web page to be stored in your Kindle’s “Archive” collection.

But Amazon has more some fun options, if you want to send your Kindle even more things to read. Their “Send To Kindle” web page reminds you that it’s always been possible to e-mail a document to your Kindle, just by finding its e-mail address as Amazon.com/MYK. Even PDF files and Microsoft Word documents will be converted into a Kindle-friendly format. (I had a lot of fun sending cute pictures of my dog to the Kindle, just to see how he’d look when the pictures were converted into black and white.) And Amazon’s even got a way to send documents to your Kindle from your smartphone or tablet! As long as it’s running the Android operating system, Amazon’s app can convert those documents into a Kindle-ready format and deliver them to your Kindle’s home page.

You don’t even need a Kindle to read the documents, since you can also pull them up on your Kindle App. I was disappointed that “Send to App” wasn’t one of the choices that Amazon gave me in the settings for their Send-To browser extension. But if you select the checkbox that stores the article in your Kindle’s “Archive” collection, it should still be accessible from the Kindle Apps. And on their web page, Amazon makes a point of reminding users that you can even use Kindle apps on an iPad, an iPhone, or an iPod Touch.

“Reading your documents and web content on Kindle is now easier than ever,” Amazon brags at the top of their web page, and they’ve come up with a catchy four-word slogan that sums it all up.

“Send Once, Read Everywhere!”

The 50 Most Useful Kindle URLs

January 1st, 2013

Digital Publishing vs. the Gutenberg press

Once a year, I assemble my “master list” of shortcuts to the most useful pages for Kindle owners – like all of the free ebooks and blogs that Amazon’s been making available. But this year there’s also twelve new links which tell the story of 2012 — highlighting all the new faces that finally joined the Kindle universe!

Instead of trying to memorize a bunch of complicated URLs, I’ve created shorter, easier-to-remember addresses that still lead to the same pages.

And all 50 of them start with TinyURL.com …

FREE EBOOKS

tinyurl.com/100freekindlebooks
Amazon’s 100 best-selling free ebooks are always available on this list (which is updated hourly!) And of course, the other side of the page also shows the 100 best-selling ebooks which are not free…


FREE MP3S

tinyurl.com/FreeMp3List
I love how Amazon is always giving away free mp3s — and you can always find a complete list at this URL!

tinyurl.com/KindleChristmasSong
It’s that cute song from Amazon’s 2010 Kindle Christmas ad. (“Snowflake in my pocket, let’s take a sleigh ride on the ice…”) At this URL, you can download a free mp3 of the song “Winter Night” by Little &Ashley.


BARGAIN EBOOKS

tinyurl.com/399books
Every month, Amazon picks 100 ebooks to offer at a discount of $3.99 or less. There’s always a new selection on the first day of the month, so if you visited the page on the last day of the month, you’d see 100 discounted books — and then the next day you’d see an entirely new selection!

If you’re in England, Amazon’s created a different page for their bargain ebooks — go to tinyurl.com/399booksEngland

And if you’re in France, there’s also a different URL for your (English-language) bargain ebooks — it’s at tinyurl.com/399booksFrance
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tinyurl.com/DailyKindleDeal
In addition, Amazon’s also created a special “Daily Deal” page, where they pick a new ebook each day to sell at a big discount for 24 hours. Past deals have included a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming and Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night — and I’m always surprised by the variety.

Amazon will also announce their Daily Deals on Facebook at

facebook.com/kindledeals

tinyurl.com/DailyEmailDeal
Amazon will also just e-mail you every “Daily Deal,” so you never have to worry about missing one of them!

tinyurl.com/GoldBoxPage
Every day Amazon also offers discounts on a new item — sometimes even expensive electronics equipment. And you can always find them all at tinyurl.com/GoldBoxPage


NEW TO KINDLE IN 2012

tinyurl.com/DilbertEbooks
My favorite newspaper comic strip is Dilbert, about the life of an office cubicle worker. In 2012, creator Scott Adams finally collected all the comic strips together into a series of ebooks that you can buy for your Kindle!

tinyurl.com/KindleComicBooks
Superman! Batman! Wonder Woman! Green Lantern! D.C. Comics all finally became available in the Kindle Store this year, including new, single-issue digital versions (and even some free “preview” editions!)

tinyurl.com/freeGraphicNovel
In September, Amazon also released a free full-length “graphic novel” called Blackburn Burrow. It’s a fascinating horror comic book set during the Civil War that you can read in color on your Kindle Fire or Android smartphone, or in black-and-white on the Paperwhite, the Kindle Touch, or the Kindle.

TinyURL.com/TakeiBook
George Takei is the 75-year-old TV actor who’d played Mr. Sulu on Star Trek. But now he’s also a huge internet phenomenon — and this December, he finally released his first Kindle ebook, called Oh myy! (There Goes the Internet)

tinyurl.com/DoonesburyEbook
Doonesbury, the long-running newspaper comic strip by Garry Trudeau, is now finally available on the Kindle — in four massive ten-year retrospective collections!

tinyurl.com/PlayboyEbooks
Playboy announced in September that for their 50th anniversary, they’d release 50 of their best interviews as 99-cent Kindle ebooks. They’re now available in the Kindle Store, including fascinating and sometimes even historic interviews with famous figures from the last 50 years, including Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, Muhammad Ali, Bill Gates, Hunter S. Thompson, Stephen Hawking, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jon Stewart.

tinyurl.com/Free2012CampaignBook
One of the biggest stories of 2012 was the presidential election — and two political scientists actually published a free ebook during the campaign to explain what was really happening!

tinyurl.com/KindleSerials
There’s a new format for Kindle ebooks that premiered this year called the “Kindle Serial.” Famous authors will now deliver new additional installments of their ebooks just as soon as they’ve finished writing them! The link above takes you to Amazon’s “Kindle Serials” store.

tinyurl.com/KindleSimpsons
This year The Simpson’s made a joke about the Kindle — though ironically, there are aren’t any ebooks about The Simpsons anywhere in Amazon’s Kindle store – or any ebooks by Matt Groening. But at least you can watch episodes of the Simpsons TV show on your Kindle Fire tablet or on Amazon’s “Instant Video” page — including the episode where they make their joke about the Kindle!

tinyurl.com/PrimeInstantVideo
If you’ve signed up for Amazon’s free two-day shipping service, they’ll also let you watch a ton of movies and TV shows for free on your Kindle Fire! (Or over the internet…) Browse the complete selection on Amazon’s “Prime Instant Video” page.

tinyurl.com/HarryPotterKindle
One of the biggest stories of the year was the release of all J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels as Kindle ebooks.

Two Maurice Sendak URLs
Where the Wild Things Are was written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, a beloved children’s book author who died in 2012 at the age of 83. Though his books were never released in Kindle Format, you can still download the full-length novel adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are that was written by Dave Eggers at tinyurl.com/SendakNovel. And you can even buy a DVD at Amazon of the rare 1970s adaptation of Sendak’s stories into television cartoons with narration by Peter Schickele — at tinyurl.com/SendakCartoons


MORE EBOOK LINKS

tinyurl.com/Top2012eBooks
At the end of the year, Amazon released this fun list of their top 100 best-selling Kindle ebooks of 2012.

tinyurl.com/BestBooksOf2012
There’s another list where Amazon’s editors also choose their selections for the “Best Books of 2012″. It’s a special web page with their picks in 30 different categories, including the best print books, the best Kindle ebooks, and the best biographies, mysteries, and even cookbooks!

tinyurl.com/2011Amazon
Curious about what were Amazon’s best-selling books for 2011? This URL takes you to a special Amazon web page where they’re all still listed — 25 to a page — along with a link to a separate list for the best-selling ebooks of the year. The #1 best-selling print book of 2011 was the new biography about Steve Jobs (followed by “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever.” ) But the #1 and #2 best-selling ebooks were The Mill River Recluse and The Abbey — neither of which was even available in print!

You can also review Amazon’s picks for the best books of the autumn of 2011 at tinyurl.com/AmazonFallBooks. And here’s an even handier trick. Amazon also creates a special page each month for the best newly-released books, and they’ll always take you to that page if you point your browser to the URL tinyurl.com/BestBooksOfMay


AMAZON’S CUSTOMER SUPPORT

tinyurl.com/kindle-cs
Amazon’s Customer Service has drawn rave reviews. (If your Kindle is broken, Amazon will usually mail you a replacement overnight!) This page collects all of Amazon’s support URLs. And at its far left, there’s a special link labelled “Contact Kindle Support,” which leads to the support phone numbers for 10 different countries, as well as an online contact form.

tinyurl.com/ReturnAnEbook
Amazon lets you return any ebook within 7 days, no questions asked. Just remember this address — tinyURL.com/ReturnAnEbook — and you’ll always be able to get a refund if you’re not satisfied with your purchase.


MY EBOOKS AND GAMES

It’s my list, so of course it includes shortcuts for three very special projects…

TinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel
An original word game for Kindle became one of the top 100 most-popular for the year — and I’m it’s co-author! Check it all the fun at TinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel, and discover why 28 people gave it a five-star review! And we’ve just released a brand-new sequel which you can see at TinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel2

TinyURL.com/TurkeyBook
“For Thanksgiving, try this game. Find the guilty turkey’s name!”

I wrote a special “mystery poem” that was finally published in November as a funny, illustrated ebook. There’s cartoon-y pictures which show four turkeys in a farmer’s pen on Thanksgiving Day. The farmer’s approaching with an axe — but one of the turkeys has a plan to escape! (“Can the farmer figure out which one? And can you?”) The short “Turkey Mystery Rhyme” is only 99 cents — a real bargain for a fun, holiday smile.

tinyurl.com/OurFunnyDog
Lucca is a cuddly Cocker Spaniel dog who was rescued from an animal shelter, and he now adores his new family — my girlfriend and me! My girlfriend’s been telling her friends how she received “the best present ever” — this short collection of funny photos of her dog, along with sweetly humorous captions that tell the story of his life. (Like the day he met that white cat that moved in downstairs…) If you want to preview a “sample chapter first, go to tinyurl.com/GoodReadsDog — but the whole “short picture scrapbook” is only 99 cents, and it offers a nice peek at a very wonderful dog…


GAMES

tinyurl.com/allkindlegames
Amazon has a web page devoted just to all the games you can play on your Kindle. (There’s over 200 of them!) It’s fun to see all the colorful game “covers” collected together into one magical toy store-like page.

And there’s also a list of the 100 best-selling games for the Kindle — plus a list of all “Hot New Releases” — at tinyurl.com/TopKindleGames. (For the Christmas season, Amazon’s 25 most-popular games are still on sale for just 99 cents each, including Scrabble, Monopoly, and the new Kindle version of Battleship!)

tinyurl.com/kchess
Here’s the shortcut to a free web page where you can play chess against a computer. But you can also pull the page up in your Kindle’s web browser, so I named the URL “KChess”!


FREE KINDLE MAGAZINES

tinyurl.com/FreeKindleMagazine

Amazon gave away free “trial issues” of the Kindle edition for several magazines earlier this year — and now the same URL points to a page where you can always download free magazine apps! The apps deliver full-color magazine content straight to your Kindle Fire — or to your Android smartphone. There’s one for each of these six popular magazines.

     Entertainment Weekly
     Real Simple
     National Geographic
     Time
     Better Homes and Gardens
     People

tinyurl.com/FreeSciFiMag
Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine has been publishing short SciFi stories and commentary for over 60 years — including the works of many famous authors. In 1978 they published Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” short stories, and in 1959 they ran Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” as a serial. (They also published the novella “Flowers for Algernon” and short stories by Harlan Ellison, and even published a short story by Kurt Vonnegut in 1961, which later appeared in his collection “Welcome to the Monkey House.”) Amazon’s now offering free Kindle subscriptions to a special “digest edition”. (The print edition, published six times a year, is a massive 256 pages.) The digest includes all the editorial content – editor’s recommendations, the “odd books” section, film and book reviews, plus cartoons and ‘Coming Attractions’ (highlights of each issue) – along with one short story. (And if you want the full 256-page version sent to your Kindle, you can subscribe for just 99 cents more.)


A VERY SPECIAL KINDLE BLOG

tinyurl.com/MeAndMyKindle
It’s my blog! (That’s the URL for its page on the Kindle Store.) If you want to tell your friends how to find me, this URL makes it easy to remember. Just practice saying “TinyURL com/MeAndMyKindle” and soon we’ll all be sharing the latest Kindle news together.


KINDLES ON TV

I love Amazon’s Kindle TV ads — and you can watch them all online at YouTube.com/Kindle. One of my favorite ones is this British commercial for the Kindle and the Kindle, at tinyurl.com/UKKindleAd

tinyurl.com/KindleFireSong
Their was a spectacular new TV ad when Amazon announced their new Kindle Fire tablets. It showed the evolution of print from a quill pen dipped in ink to Amazon’s latest full-color multimedia touchscreen tablet. But I loved the song they played in the background, by a new Louisiana-based band called the Givers. (“The words we say today, we’ll say… we’ll see them again. Yes, we’ll see them again…”) I’d called it an ode to all the self-published authors who are finding new audiences on the Kindle — and at this URL, you can hear the entire song on YouTube!

tinyurl.com/SheBuysAKindle
In 2011 Amazon also ran a fun series of TV ads where a blonde woman insists she prefers things like “the rewarding feeling of actually folding down the page” of a book instead of reading a Kindle — though each ad invariably ends with her borrowing her friend’s Kindle instead.

But in September, when Amazon announced their new line-up of Kindles — including one for just $79 — they released one final ad where that blonde woman finally buys a Kindle for herself. To watch it on YouTube, point your computer’s browser to tinyurl.com/SheBuysAKindle

tinyurl.com/AmyRutberg
Before she became “the woman from that Kindle commercial,” actress Amy Rutberg appeared in a zany stage production called “The Divine Sister.” Playbill (the official magazine for theatre-goers) had her record a backstage peek at the theatre and its cast for a special online feature — and it’s a fun way to catch a peek at another part of her career. That URL leads to the video’s web page on YouTube, and there’s also a second part which is available at http://tinyurl.com/AmyRutberg2

tinyurl.com/StewartBorders
On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart did a special segment in 2011 when Borders bookstores announced that it was going out of business. (“Books! You may know them as the thing Amazon tells you ‘You might be interested in’ when you’re buying DVDs…”) Correspondent John Hodgman delivered some silly suggestions about how bookstores could re-vitalize their business model — like offering in-store appearances where customers could heckle authors while they’re writing novels. Or, simply converting bookstores into historical tourist attractions demonstrating the way books used to be sold in the 20th century.


MISCELLANEOUS

tinyurl.com/kindlemap
Ever wonder where all the Kindle owners are? Someone’s created an interactive online map, where Kindle owners can stop by and leave “push pins” showing their location! There’s big clusters on the east and west coast of America (though you could still leave the first push pin for Montana or Nevada!) It’s an adapted version of one of Google’s maps of the world, so you can also spot “Kindlers” in Iraq, Romania, and Ethiopia. And if you click on the push pins, you’ll find the Kindler’s name and sometimes a comment. (One Kindler in Spain simply posted: “Tengo un Kindle DX!”)


And here’s the most useful URL of all.

tinyURL.com/50KindleURLs

It’s a shortcut to this page — so you can find all of these URLs in 2013!

Happy New Year!

Cover illustration from Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Guide

Hooray! Amazon’s started shipping today for their new Kindle Paperwhite. “Pre-orders have far exceeded our expectations,” an Amazon Kindle executive said this morning in a statement, “and we’re excited to start shipping Kindle Paperwhite to customers today.”

But even before they’ve arrived, you can still find out a lot about them — at least, if you know where to look. Over on the “Kindle Boards” discussion forum, someone’s posted the URL for an official Amazon document about their hotly-awaited new Kindle– its 28-page users guide! You can read the whole thing (in its PDF format) at tinyurl.com/PaperwhiteUserGuide. Here’s the most interesting things I learned from reading the manual…

First, there’s no home button on the Kindle Paperwhite– at least, not one that’s built into the black frame of the device. But instead, there’s a “virtual” Home choice in the menu bar at the top of the page. And it’s one of two new choices in that menu bar. There’s also another new icon — a light bulb, which you can tap to turn off the Paperwhite’s glow (or adjust its brightness up or down). “Slide your finger along the scale to adjust the screen brightness,” Amazon explains in their user manual. “Press and hold the – button to turn off the light. Tap and hold the + button to turn the light on at maximum brightness.”

But sometimes there’s even two more new choices at the top of a Kindle Paperwhite, and they suggest magazines are about to become even more important in Amazon’s Kindle Store. When you’re reading a magazine on the Kindle, there’s a grid-shaped “periodicals” icon, which pulls up a list of highlights that are available in this issue. Beside it, there’s also an icon that looks like a printed page, which will give you a full “hierarchical” list of all the sections and articles in the magazine. (Amazon must’ve been rushing to pull this user’s manual together, because they actually spelled “hierarchical” wrong!)

Plus, I’ve always enjoyed saving highlights from the books I’m reading — and now Amazon’s letting you include excerpts from magazines! When you’re reading a periodical, the secondary toolbar includes a “Clip this Article” choice, which will apparently add a complete copy of the article that you’re currently reading into your “My Clippings” file of notes and highlights.There’s also a tantalizing new feature on the Kindle Paperwhite — at least, according to this new user’s manual. When you press the Menu button from the Home screen, one of its choices is now apparently “list or cover view“.

I’ve always loved seeing the covers of my ebooks whenever I’m browsing for something new to read in my Kindle apps (or on my Kindle Touch). But It’s only really workable with a touchscreen device where you can flick through them all quickly. I don’t remember seeing this on the Kindle Touch, though, so I’m glad Amazon’s going to implement it for the Kindle Paperwhite. The “cover view” will be turned on by default, but the menu gives you the option to return your Kindle to what Amazon describes as its “traditional list view.” And it’s not the only menu that’s getting a new look.The very next page of the User’s Manual talks about a new “secondary toolbar” with more icons which appears below the first row of six icons at the top of the screen.

Icons from Kindle Paperwhite Toolbar

Most of the choices are the same ones you’d find if you opened the toolbar on a Kindle Touch. (There’s a choice for changing the text, going to a specific part of the book, or pulling up Amazon’s “X-Ray feature” for plot summaries, quotes, and other interesting information.) But on the Kindle Touch, these choices all appear at the bottom of the screen, whereas the Kindle Paperwhite appears to put them all just below the first row of icons in the toolbar. And Amazon’s also moved the “Share” choice into this second toolbar. On the Kindle Touch, instead you had to pull up that first toolbar, and then press its Menu button to get its larger list of choices (which included “Share”).

There’s also some nice smaller changes in the Kindle Paperwhite. For example, one of the choices on the font menu is “publisher font.” In the past when you’ve bought the Kindle edition of a new book, you got all the words, but not the exact same professional “look” that was decided on by the ebook’s publisher. I’m guessing that ebook publishers will now be able to specify which Kindle font they’d envisioned when they originally published the ebook.

And Amazon’s worked hard to make sure that the Kindle Paperwhite has some very attractive fonts. “All six fonts on Kindle Paperwhite have been hand-tuned at the pixel level,” Amazon explains on the Paperwhite’s web page, “for maximum readability and comfort. Higher resolution allows for unprecedented sharpness. The new high-resolution display allows for elegant typeface options including Baskerville and Palatino.” All I know is these pretty descriptions are making me even more impatient for Amazon to hurry up and finish shipping my Kindle Paperwhite!

Remember, you can order one of Amazon’s new Paperwhite Kindles
at tinyurl.com/KindlePaperWhite

Download Amazon's new Send to Kindle software app

Amazon has quietly announced a new application. There’s now an easier way to get your own documents onto your Kindle. Just download and install Amazon’s “Send to Kindle” software onto your PC (by pointing your computer’s browser to amazon.com/sendtokindle.) “Support for Mac is coming soon,” Amazon promises further down the page…

Once you’ve installed it, a “send to Kindle” choice appears whenever you right-click on a file in Windows Explorer. And “send to Kindle” also appears as a choice on the “Print” menu in Microsoft Word, “or in the print dialogue of any Windows application.” In the past, you had to e-mail your documents to the e-mail address which Amazon had created for your Kindle. Or you could also connect your USB cord to your PC, and then transfer documents by connecting the other end to your Kindle.

This was seems much more convenient, and it might get me to use my Kindle for more than just reading ebooks I’ve downloaded from Amazon.com. “Kindle Personal Documents Service makes it easy to take your personal documents with you,” Amazon explains at the top of another web page at amazon.com/kindlepersonaldocuments, promising that it eliminates the need for a print-out!

I say Amazon “quietly” announced the news, because I only found out about it from a post on their “Kindle Daily” blog. And they also suggested another way you can use Amazon’s servers to manage files that you want to store. “You can also simply archive documents in your Kindle Library for re-download later. Your last page read along with bookmarks, notes and highlights are automatically synchronized for your documents (with the exception of PDFs) across your Kindle devices and supported Kindle reading apps .”

Part of me wonders if Amazon is up to something. Once your personal documents are stored on Amazon, it becomes a part of your life – and then it’s even harder to switch to a competing digital reader! You’d have to transfer all the individual documents — and more importantly, you’d feel a personal attachment to your Kindle. “It’s not just that device where I downloaded 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. It’s also where I stored that draft of an important manuscript that I’m trying to finish…”

I think Amazon has concluded they’ve got a real business reason to encourage their customers to store documents “in the cloud.” The new, trendy concept in technology is the idea that your smartphone and your PC and your Kindle (and other tablet devices) can all access the same set of files – your own personal collection of digital content. You can buy an mp3 of your favorite song for your new Kindle Fire tablet — but you’ll also be able to listen to it on your PC using Amazon’s “cloud player.” Of course, you can also just download that mp3 straight to your hard drive, and then do whatever you want with it.

But if you’ve ever tried that, you’ll know that Amazon adds extra steps to that process. It’s like they’ve optimized their mp3 service for use with the Amazon Cloud Player, and they’re simply supporting, reluctantly, the old-fashioned custom of listening to mp3s directly from your hard drive. Maybe I’m just suspicious because “cloud storage” still feels new — and in time, I’ll wonder how I ever lived without storing everything on a universally-accessible cloud drive. But for now I still find myself wondering what’s the catch. Do I really want my personal documents to be stored in Seattle, and beamed to an orbiting satellite in outer space?

It does sound cool — like something that James Bond might do. But in any case, this capability has arrived, and how we use it is up to us. “Reading your personal documents on Kindle is now easier than ever,” Amazon explains on their web page.

“You can download archived personal documents from your Kindle Library on Kindle Keyboard, Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle for iPad, Kindle for iPhone and Kindle for iPod…”

The 30 Most Useful Kindle URLs

December 30th, 2011

Digital Publishing vs. the Gutenberg press

Once a year, I assemble my “master list” of shortcuts to the 30 most useful pages for Kindle owners – like all of the free ebooks and blogs that Amazon’s making available. But instead of trying to memorize a bunch of complicated URLs, I’ve created these shorter, easier-to-remember addresses that still lead to the same pages.

And all 30 of them start with TinyURL.com …

FREE EBOOKS

tinyurl.com/100freekindlebooks
Amazon’s 100 best-selling free ebooks are always available on this list (which is updated hourly!) And of course, the other side of the page also shows the 100 best-selling ebooks which are not free…


BARGAIN EBOOKS

tinyurl.com/399books
Every month, Amazon picks 100 ebooks to offer at a discount of $3.99 or less. There’s always a new selection on the first day of the month, so if you visited the page this Saturday (December 31st), you’d see December’s 100 discounted books — and then on Sunday (January 1st), you’d see an entirely new selection!

If you’re in England, Amazon’s created a different page for their bargain ebooks — go to tinyurl.com/399booksEngland

And if you’re in France, there’s also a different URL for your (English-language) bargain ebooks — it’s at tinyurl.com/399booksFrance

tinyurl.com/DailyKindleDeal
In addition, Amazon’s also created a special “Daily Deal” page, where they pick a new ebook each day to sell at a big discount for 24 hours. Past deals have included a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming and Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night — and I’m always surprised by the variety. For Christmas, Amazon discounted five holiday-themed romance novels to just 99 cents each, and they also slashed the price on “Call Me Mrs. Miracle” (from $12.99 to just 99 cents). Once they even discounted So Now You’re a Zombie: A Handbook for the Newly Undead!

You can also see past “Daily Deals” on their Twitter feed at twitter.com/kindledailydeal — or on Facebook at facebook.com/kindledeals. And there’s also a new web page where they’re archiving the deals at http://thekindledailydeal.com/


MORE EBOOK LINKS

tinyurl.com/2011Amazon
What were Amazon’s best-selling books for 2011? This URL takes you to a special Amazon web page where they’re all listed — 25 to a page — along with a link to a separate list for the best-selling ebooks of the year. The #1 best-selling print book was the new biography about Steve Jobs (followed by “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever.” ) But the #1 and #2 best-selling ebooks were The Mill River Recluse and The Abbey — neither of which was even available in print!


AMAZON’S CUSTOMER SUPPORT

tinyurl.com/kindle-cs
Amazon’s Customer Service has drawn rave reviews. (If your Kindle is broken, Amazon will usually mail you a replacement overnight!) This page collects all of Amazon’s support URLs. And at its far left, there’s a special link labelled “Contact Kindle Support,” which leads to the support phone numbers for 10 different countries, as well as an online contact form.

tinyurl.com/ReturnAnEbook
Amazon lets you return any ebook within 7 days, no questions asked. Just remember this address — tinyURL.com/ReturnAnEbook — and you’ll always be able to get a refund if you’re not satisfied with your purchase.


MY EBOOKS

It’s my list, so of course it includes shortcuts for two very special ebook projects that I worked on this year…

TinyURL.com/TurkeyBook
“For Thanksgiving, try this game. Find the guilty turkey’s name!”

I wrote a special “mystery poem” that was finally published in November as a funny, illustrated ebook. There’s cartoon-y pictures which show four turkeys in a farmer’s pen on Thanksgiving Day. The farmer’s approaching with an axe — but one of the turkeys has a plan to escape! (“Can the farmer figure out which one? And can you?”) The short “Turkey Mystery Rhyme” is only 99 cents — a real bargain for a fun, holiday smile.

tinyurl.com/OurFunnyDog
Lucca is a cuddly Cocker Spaniel dog who was rescued from an animal shelter, and he now adores his new family — my girlfriend and me! Since I released this ebook just before Christmas, my girlfriend’s been telling her friends how she received “the best present ever” — this short collection of funny photos of her dog, along with sweetly humorous captions that tell the story of his life. (Like the day he met that white cat that moved in downstairs…) If you want to preview a “sample chapter first, go to tinyurl.com/GoodReadsDog — but the whole “short picture scrapbook” is only 99 cents, and it offers a nice peek at a very wonderful dog…


FREE KINDLE BLOGS AND MAGAZINES

tinyurl.com/Omnivoracious
The book editors at Amazon.com publish a blog that’s filled with author interviews, news from the book world, announcements, about new books, and lots of good “book talk”. And they’ll deliver it for free to your Kindle! (Just point your computer’s web browser to tinyurl.com/Omnivoracious …)

tinyurl.com/freeAmazonblogs
Amazon actually publishes six free blogs for the Kindle — and you can find them all at this URL. Besides their Omnivoracious book blog, there’s also a blog about food (and fine dining) called “Al Dente,” and a blog about movies and TV shows called “Armchair Commentary”. If you’re into automobiles, Amazon offers the “Car Lust” blog, and there’s even a blog called “Toy Whimsy” with reviews and information about — what else? — toys!

They’re all available at the URL — but you can also get all of Amazon’s free blogs delivered to your Kindle in just one big super-subscription. Just look for the Amazon Daily blog — which is a great way to try them all out and see which ones you like best!

tinyurl.com/FreeSciFiMag
Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine has been publishing short SciFi stories and commentary for over 60 years — including the works of many famous authors. In 1978 they published Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” short stories, and in 1959 they ran Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” as a serial. (They also published the novella “Flowers for Algernon” and short stories by Harlan Ellison, and even published a short story by Kurt Vonnegut in 1961, which later appeared in his collection “Welcome to the Monkey House.”) Amazon’s now offering free Kindle subscriptions to a special “digest edition”. (The print edition, published six times a year, is a massive 256 pages.) The digest includes all the editorial content – editor’s recommendations, the “odd books” section, film and book reviews, plus cartoons and ‘Coming Attractions’ (highlights of each issue) – along with one short story. (And if you want the full 256-page version sent to your Kindle, you can subscribe for just 99 cents more.)


A VERY SPECIAL KINDLE BLOG

tinyurl.com/MeAndMyKindle
It’s my blog! (That’s the URL for its page on the Kindle Store.) If you want to tell your friends how to find me, this URL makes it easy to remember. Just practice saying “TinyURL com/MeAndMyKindle” and soon we’ll all be sharing the latest Kindle news together.


FREE AND DISCOUNTED MUSIC

tinyurl.com/KindleChristmasSong
It’s that cute song from Amazon’s 2010 Kindle Christmas ad. (“Snowflake in my pocket, let’s take a sleigh ride on the ice…”) At this URL, you can download a free mp3 of the song “Winter Night” by Little &Ashley.

tinyurl.com/25xmasMP3s
Amazon also released 25 free Christmas songs as part of a special promotion in December. Their “25 Days of Free” page features 25 different mp3 files that you can download for free — each one with a different Christmas song — and right now they’re still available online. There’s songs by Bing Crosby, Mannheim Steamroller, the Irish Tenors, and Celtic Woman — plus songs by more modern artists like Brian Wilson, and Macy Gray. And there’s even some Christmas songs by groups like the Flaming Lips, Shonen Kinfe, and even one by Twisted Sister.

tinyURL.com/AmazonXmasMP3s
Amazon’s also offering discounts if you’d like to buy a whole album’s worth of Christmas songs by your favorite artist. This page offers Christmas albums that have been discounted to just $4.99, including a great selection of both traditional and modern recordings. There’s Christmas with the Rat Pack (and A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra), Bing Crosby’s I Wish You a Merry Christmas, and an expanded version of Vince Guaraldi’s music for “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” But there’s also Christmas albums from Weezer, Christina Aguilera, Zooey Deschanel’s band “She and Him,” and even the cast of Sesame Street – plus some performers you wouldn’t expect, like Bob Dylan (and of course — the Twisted Sister Christmas album).


GAMES

tinyurl.com/allkindlegames
Amazon has a web page devoted just to all the games you can play on your Kindle. (There’s over 200 of them!) It’s fun to see all the colorful game “covers” collected together into one magical toy store-like page.

And there’s also a list of the 100 best-selling games for the Kindle — plus a list of all “Hot New Releases” — at tinyurl.com/TopKindleGames. (For the Christmas season, Amazon’s 25 most-popular games are still on sale for just 99 cents each, including Scrabble, Monopoly, and the new Kindle version of Battleship!)

tinyurl.com/kchess
Here’s the shortcut to a free web page where you can play chess against a computer. But you can also pull the page up in your Kindle’s web browser, so I named the URL “KChess”!


KINDLES ON TV

tinyurl.com/DoorstepAd
Amazon’s latest ad shows a woman arriving home and discovering that Amazon’s delivered her new Kindle Fire tablet. The ad’s official name is “Placing the Things You Love at Your Fingertips,” and you can watch the whole thing on YouTube if you point your computer’s web browser to this URL.

And you can watch all of Amazon’s Kindle TV ads at YouTube.com/Kindle

tinyurl.com/KindleFireSong
Their was a spectacular new TV ad when Amazon announced their new Kindle Fire tablets. It showed the evolution of print from a quill pen dipped in ink to Amazon’s latest full-color multimedia touchscreen tablet. But I loved the song they played in the background, by a new Louisiana-based band called the Givers. (“The words we say today, we’ll say… we’ll see them again. Yes, we’ll see them again…”) I’d called it an ode to all the self-published authors who are finding new audiences on the Kindle — and at this URL, you can hear the entire song on YouTube!

tinyurl.com/SheBuysAKindle
This summer Amazon also ran a fun series of TV ads where a blonde woman insists she prefers things like “the rewarding feeling of actually folding down the page” of a book instead of reading a Kindle — though each ad invariably ends with her borrowing her friend’s Kindle instead.

But in September, when Amazon announced their new line-up of Kindles — including one for just $79 — they released one final ad where that blonde woman finally buys a Kindle for herself. To watch it on YouTube, point your computer’s browser to tinyurl.com/SheBuysAKindle

tinyurl.com/AmyRutberg
Before she became “the woman from that Kindle commercial,” actress Amy Rutberg appeared in a zany stage production called “The Divine Sister.” Playbill (the official magazine for theatre-goers) had her record a backstage peek at the theatre and its cast for a special online feature — and it’s a fun way to catch a peek at another part of her career. That URL leads to the video’s web page on YouTube, and there’s also a second part which is available at http://tinyurl.com/AmyRutberg2

tinyurl.com/StewartBorders
On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart did a special segment this year when Borders bookstores announced that it was going out of business. (“Books! You may know them as the thing Amazon tells you ‘You might be interested in’ when you’re buying DVDs…”) Correspondent John Hodgman delivered some silly suggestions about how bookstores could re-vitalize their business model — like offering in-store appearances where customers could heckle authors while they’re writing novels. Or, simply converting bookstores into historical tourist attractions demonstrating the way books used to be sold in the 20th century.


MISCELLANEOUS

tinyurl.com/kindlemap
Ever wonder where all the Kindle owners are? Someone’s created an interactive online map, where Kindle owners can stop by and leave “push pins” showing their location! There’s big clusters on the east and west coast of America (though you could still leave the first push pin for Montana or Nevada!) It’s an adapted version of one of Google’s maps of the world, so you can also spot “Kindlers” in Iraq, Romania, and Ethiopia. And if you click on the push pins, you’ll find the Kindler’s name and sometimes a comment. (One Kindler in Spain simply posted: “Tengo un Kindle DX!”)


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.

     tinyurl.com/100freekindlebooks

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.

      tinyurl.com/kindle-cs

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!”

Birthday cake drawing

I’m hoping I’ve discovered some new tricks that will surprise even experienced Kindle users. But first, here’s my favorite tip of all.


Jump to the Kindle Store

The Kindle has a built-in shortcut that will take you straight to the front page of Amazon’s Kindle store. Just press the ALT key and HOME button at the same time — and your Kindle will do the rest!

And there’s always lots to see on the front page of The Kindle Store. You can browse through Amazon’s list of magazines, newspapers, and blogs — and, of course, ebooks. There’s the New York Times best-seller list, plus Amazon’s featured “New and Noteworthy” ebooks, and even some personalized book recommendations at the bottom of the page. (But here’s Amazon’s dirtiest secret. Sometimes they’re only recommending a book because someone paid them to, according to a long but fascinating new article about bookstores in The Boston Review!)


Improve your Web Browsing with Kinstant

Last week I discovered a free web site called Kinstant — and it makes it much easier to then surf to most other sites on the web. “The Kindle includes a built-in web browser,” Kinstant’s webmaster explains, “but most websites are not easily viewed on the Kindle’s grayscale e-Ink screen. Kinstant helps Kindle owners get more mileage out of their devices: by connecting them to Kindle-compatible websites, and by filtering sites to achieve faster download speeds.”

Once you’re at KInstant.com, you can enter URLs into their text-entry windows — and usually it’ll pull them up with much better than you’d normally see on your Kindle. The site launched just seven weeks ago, but it’s already become my most frequently used bookmark on the Kindle!


Erase Everything You’ve Typed

Whenever you’re typing something into your Kindle, there’s an easy way to erase everything and start over again. Just press the ALT and DEL key! Whether you’re typing a note, a URL, or even some search words, those two keys together will instantly “clear” the text entry field — so you can start over from the beginning!


Get a Free Blog for your Kindle

In many cases, it’s possible to read a blog on your Kindle for a small monthly subscription fee, usually just 99 cents a month. But there’s eight blogs for the Kindle which are absolutely free. The first free blog on the Kindle is the “Amazon Daily” blog — published by Amazon — which highlights interesting products throughout their massive online store. There’s posts about music, movies, food, and toys — plus books, ebooks, and the Kindle. The posts come from seven different blogs that are published by Amazon, and you can also subscribe to any one of those seven blogs individually. To scroll through the list, just point your web browser to tinyurl.com/freekindleblogs

If you’d first like to try a sample of the “Amazon Daily” blog, you can click here to read it on the web! It’s currently the #1 “Arts and Entertainment” blog in Amazon’s store — though for a long time it was the only that was free, so it had an advantage that the other blogs didn’t. (But don’t blame the bloggers if you think their subscription fee is too high. It’s actually Amazon who sets the price of any blog which is available on the Kindle!)


There’s Free Games For the Kindle

You can learn a lot by browsing Amazon’s list of the best-selling titles — especially the “free” section. Here’s a list of some of the great games which are now available for free in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

Every Word
Shuffled Row
BlackJack
Minesweeper
Sudoku
Three “Junior Jumble” Puzzles

But last week my friend “MacLifer” sent me a wonderful tip about another free game that you can play on the Kindle — a game that goes back more than 30 years. It’s one of the very first computer games ever — a miniature version of the classic text adventure game Zork. “Use your browser and check out kindlequest.com,” and it’s the adventure game from back in the Apple ][ days of yore; albeit a somewhat stripped down version…”

“It plays fine on the Kindle for those interested in it!”


That’s it for today. But if you’re looking for more information, click here to read “My 10 Best Kindle Tips and Tricks” and “Five MORE of My Best Kindle Tips and Tricks.”

Click here to subscribe to this blog on your Kindle!

Or click here to buy Kindle Shortcuts, Hidden Features, Kindle-Friendly Websites, Free eBooks & Email From Kindle: Concise User Guide

What’s New in the Kindle 3?

September 30th, 2010

New Amazon Kindle 3 Wifi Wireless

Everyone’s excited about Amazon’s new Kindle 3. It’s smaller, lighter, and cheaper, and its battery seems to last forever. (According to Amazon, it runs without a recharge for up to a month if you turn off the wireless receiver.)

But what’s new about it? What can you actually do with a Kindle 3 that you couldn’t do before? Here’s a handy list.

1. The new Kindle feels different. Not only is it lighter and thinner. It’s now got a textured back which Amazon describes as “soft touch”.

2. There’s a new screen, which Amazon boasts offers a “50% better contrast.”

3. There’s been several changes to the font menu. There’s now eight font sizes to choose from — more than the six that were available on the original Kindle — but now there’s even a choice of font styles, according to Amazon’s Kindle page. (There’s “our standard Caecilia font, a condensed version of Caecilia, and a sans serif option.”) The new Kindle even supports different kinds of letters. It can now display Cyrillic (Russian) characters, as well as Japanese, Korean, and Chinese characters (both traditional and simplified) — along with Latin and Greek script.

4. Amazon claims the new pages display 20% faster.

5. The newest font menu also lets you change the line spacing — small, medium, or large. (Though last month the “KindleLove” blog reported this was also available as a special hidden feature on the Kindle 2. Just type a number between 1 and 9 while holding down both the Shift and Alt keys!)

5. The web browser has been improved on the Kindle 3, and now includes a special capability called “Article Mode,” according to Wired News. Complicated web pages with lots of graphics can be simplified, so that “Instantly the web page will be laid out in an easy-to-read text column…”

6. Amazon beefed up the PDF reader, and its native support even lets you zoom in (up to 300%) and then pan across the page. It’s also possible to adjust the contrast on PDF files, with five settings from “lightest” to “darkest”. And of course, there’s an easy way to convert your PDF files into the native Kindle format (which then allows you to change font sizes using the Kindle’s menus, or use other Kindle features like text-to-speech or annotation). Just e-mail the PDF to your Kindle e-mail address with the word “convert” as the subject line.

7. Text-to-speech capability has been added to the menus. It’s always been fun using Amazon’s text-to-speech features, but they only worked for the actual ebooks, and not when when trying to navigate around the Kindle. This got Amazon in trouble with the Department of Justice, which worried that the Kindle wasn’t fully accessible to blind students who might want to use the Kindle at a university. Fortunately, the Kindle 3 now extends its text-to-speech features to the navigation menus. (This “Voice Guide” feature is located on page two of the “Settings” page.)

8. There’s now password protection. If James Bond lost his Kindle in the desert, would his enemies be able to read all his ebooks? Not if he was using a Kindle 3, since it’s now possible to “lock” a Kindle with your own personal password. This is more important than it seems, since many people also carry personal files on their Kindle – so it’s possible that a Kindle could be storing documents that are highly confidential.

Finally, a blog called “Kindle Minds” offers another tip that changes the sorting on the home page. He’d wanted his collections to appear at the top of the home page, before all of the individual books. To accomplish this, he re-named every collection so they started with a high-priority character — like ~ or the number 0 or a hyphen.

“Now my collections sort to the top again,” he wrote, “and life is good… now I’m using the hyphen plus a space, which gives them a sort of bullet-list look.”

Click here for Amazon’s page about the new Kindle 3

Or click here to buy Kindle Shortcuts, Hidden Features, Kindle-Friendly Websites, Free eBooks & Email From Kindle: Concise User Guide


I didn’t know this was possible, but Google offers an interactive map of the world which shows the location of other Kindle users. Sort of…

A computer consultant in Croatia created the “Kindler’s Pincushion,” a collaborative version of Google Maps where other Kindle users can add a blue pin to show where they’re located. Nearly 600 proud Kindle owners have come forward so far, some adding funny extra comments.

      “A five-Kindle family!”
      “love mysteries and chocolate cake.”
      “Me and my Kindle and my cat live here!”
      “Tengo un Kindle DX”

The fun began in January of 2010, when a young man named Dragi Raos entered Amazon’s Kindle forum and announced his project’s humble beginning. (“We have four pins on three continents…”) But soon other Kindle owners had caught his enthusiasm, and were leaving comments of support.

      “First Dane on the map!”
      “Kansas on the map now.”
      “It will be fun to watch the pins overtake the world…!”

There’s now pushpins marking Kindle owners in Europe and Australia, as well Africa, Asia, and both North and South America. There’s pushpins in Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, and Canada, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, and most of the states in America. I even recognized the names of two of the Kindle users — Bufo Calvin and Mrs. Wizard — who are both authors of blogs about the Kindle. “It’s a fun visual,” Calvin wrote when the project was announced, “and you can add your own pin!”

Ironically, I can’t view the map on my Kindle! (I’m still using my original Kindle 1, and it’s always had trouble with Google Maps.) To test it, I converted its complicated web URL into an “alias” that was easier to type — http://tinyurl.com/kindlemap. Fortunately, that URL is also easier to remember, if you want to test the “Kindler’s Pincushion” in a PC-based web browser. If you’ve set up a “Google Account,” you can even log into the map as an editor.

And then you can even add in a pincushion for your own location — along with your own funny comments!

Number five on a billiards ball
I went looking for more Kindle tips and tricks — and discovered the mother lode. When the Kindle was first released, a hacker named Igor Skochinsky poked around through the Kindle’s hardware, and discovered some undocumented features. For example, he posted instructions on how to create a book on your home page which is actually a set of your favorite pictures. (When you e-mail pictures to your Kindle, each picture appears as a separate ebook, but Skochinsky appears to have found an unsupported way to pull up a special “Picture Viewer,” which can also re-size pictures to fit the Kindle screen, adjust their dithering, and even select one of them as the Kindle’s screen saver.)

Confession: I didn’t actually try that tip, because I was afraid it might void my Kindle’s warranty. But I can pass along five of the other tricks which worked great on my Kindle 1.

1. Automatic Page-Turning with “Slideshow” Mode

You can teach your Kindle to turn the pages for you! When you’re reading an ebook, just press Alt-0 to “enable” the special slideshow mode. Then pressing Alt-1 will start the automatic page-turning — and Alt-2 will stop it. It seems to have only one speed, but it’s easy to keep up with if you increase your text’s font size, which reduces the number of words on each page. And pressing Alt-0 again will “toggle off” this special functionality.

“Slideshow mode” can also be used like one of those educational tools that they use to teach speed readers to read faster…

2. Display the Current Time

If you’re reading an ebook, pressing Alt-T will actually spell out the current time, in letters, in the lower-left corner of the screen (where the Kindle usually displays your current location in the ebook).

If you’re on your Kindle’s home page, pressing Alt-T will display the current time, in numbers, in the same lower-left corner.

And entering @time as a search will also display the complete time, including the month and day!

3. Switch to a Different Song

If you’re playing an mp3, pressing Alt-P will stop (and re-start) the Kindle’s music player. But if you want to continue playing music, and just switch over to a different song, then press Alt-F to go Forward to the next song in your Kindle directory.

4. Find Out How Many Hours You’ve Used Your Kindle

On a phone you’d dial 411 to call information. On the “Settings,” screen, you type 411 to get information about your Kindle. It’s a diagnostics page, with mostly cryptic technical information like “Kindle Version: Linux version 2.6.10-lab126.”

But it’s kind of fun to see your Kindle’s “awake time” and “sleep time” statistics.

5. Find Nearby Restaurants on Google Maps

If you’re using the web browser, try typing Alt-3. This automatically brings up Google Maps with a page listing restaurants near your current location. (And Alt-2 brings up nearby gas stations, while Alt-1 shows your current location.)

Note: I’ve had some erratic results using this feature. It seems like now, Google simply displays “Not Avail, Not Avail” for my city and state — and then performs the search using the last city that I’d accessed through Google Maps. But that’s still a pretty handy feature….

Click here for an earlier article, My 10 Best Kindle Tips and Tricks.

Or click here to buy Kindle Shortcuts, Hidden Features, Kindle-Friendly Websites, Free eBooks & Email From Kindle: Concise User Guide

The Count of Monte Cristo original illustration

My girlfriend just finished reading a massive novel on the Kindle, and wanted to share what she’d learned from the experience.

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So a couple of weeks ago I mentioned reading The Count of Monte Cristo at a tender young age, and then there, before my eyes, in the Kindle Top 100 Free section, is the book itself! I remembered the basic plot line. A young man with a bright future gets taken down by jealousy and political maneuvering. He plots his revenge against the three men who caused his torturous imprisonment, then returns incognito as a count, wealthy beyond all imagining (how convenient).

I wondered if I would have a richer reading experience now that I’m a adult. Boy! The things I missed the first time around.

And the things I learned reading this book on the Kindle…

This is a two-part post; this week I’ll talk about the things I learned using the Kindle. Later, I’ll talk about the book itself and the surprise lesbian storyline. (She’s the daughter of one of the bad guys…. But I digress).

The first thing I learned is that The Count of Monte Cristo is llllloooooonnnnnnggggg. Like a-real-novel-that-you-check-out-of-the-library long. The end came at location 24681. (The Malacca Conspiracy, the free action thriller I reviewed here previously, is 6554 locations and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is 4274 locations by comparison). Obviously back in 1844, when the book was written there was no TV, no radio, no electric lights, and no Wii — so there was lots of time to read a good book. The novel as an art form was still pretty new at that time and Dumas is a master of the craft. The book moved along briskly, and kept me intrigued at every step.

I found the “Locations” tracking at the bottom of our original Kindle’s screen, in the dark gray area, to the left of the Menu button and the battery life and signal strength indicators. (As you probably already know, the numbers change as you read, allowing you to track where you are in the book.) But the trick is playing with the line directly above that gray bar — the one with all the dots. If you move your cursor one click above the Menu button, it’s placed directly across from this line of dots. When you press the scroll button, the bar highlights and you see little boxes with numbers. These are almost like the chapters in a printed book, and allow you to move through the book without using the “Go To Location” function on the Menu screen.

The next thing I learned is that I’m completely addicted to the Lookup Function! I yearned for this capability while I was growing up, reading voraciously. (You can even use Lookup if you don’t know what “voraciously” means — sooooo easy!). I knew that when I ran across a word I didn’t know, I should get up, go get the dictionary to find its meaning, and fully understand the novelist’s intention. Did I do this? Hardly ever. Yet, now, at my fingertips, I have that ability — and I rejoice!

However, there are two important caveats. The first caveat is that the Kindle doesn’t always provide definitions for foreign phrases or words. For example, “rouleau” was defined, but several other words of French origin were not. Being as Dumas wrote in French, this was a slight drawback for me with this specific novel. Still, it was a fun gamble using the Look Up feature during reading The Count of Monte Cristo. My other caveat is the Lookup Function provides you with every single word in the sentence. Every. Single. Word. I want to Look Up “rouleau” and get the definitions for “eye,” “hundred,” “hand,” and “rose” as well.

The third thing is I became adept as using the Highlight feature (just below LookUp on the menu that pops up when you scroll to a specific row. And you can use the same technique to add a note to yourself just by picking “Add Note” instead of “Add Highlight.”) Magic, indeed, to a reader who spent years thumbing through books looking for favorite passages!

                        *                        *                        *

We love my Kindle, and she loved The Count of Monte Cristo. Click here to read it as a free ebook!

10 Kindle Tips and Tricks
This week I’ve been writing more about my favorite authors — instead of about the Kindle itself. So here’s the 10 best tricks I’ve learned so far for enjoying the Kindle…

MY FAVORITE TIPS

1. Instantly Clear a Note or Search

I discovered this tip by accident. If you hold down the Alt key while hitting the backspace button, your Kindle automatically erases everything you’ve typed into a note or search field!

And it’s also possible to simply change the cursor’s position. (I discovered this while playing Minesweeper on the Kindle, which uses similar navigation keys.) Typing Alt-H will always move your cursor back one space, positioning you to backspace over characters that you’ve already typed earlier (or to insert new letters). Typing Alt-J then moves your cursor forward, if you want to return towards the end of the line.

2. Justify Your Kindle’s Text

This appears to be a hidden feature on the original Kindle 1 that was secretly added into the Kindle’s font menu. Press the font key, and the Kindle displays its usual six choices for your font size. But if you then type the letter J, the Kindle suddenly presents you with two more choices. There’s “Full Justification” and “Left Justification,” and it dramatically changes the way your ebooks will look!

3. Skim Faster

On the original Kindle, holding down the Alt Key while pressing the “Next Page” or “Previous Page” bar also lets you skip forward much more quickly, jumping past several pages each time you press the key.

 
4. View Your Own Photos on the Kindle

I only recently discovered you can send your own pictures to your Kindle. The file name appears as a separate entry among the ebook titles on your home page. (Just click on the file name, and that picture magically appears!) The pictures are displayed in black-and-white, of course, but it’s still fun to see a familiar image that’s all your own.

Amazon can support almost every format for image files, including .gif, .png., .bmp, .jpeg, and .jpg.The secret is e-mailing the image to your Kindle’s e-mail address, as an attachment. (If you’ve never done this before, just remember that your Kindle’s e-mail address appears on Amazon’s “Manage Your Kindle” page, which has a URL that’s very easy to remember.)

               Amazon.com/manageyourkindle

On my original Kindle, I also finally discovered that it was possible to zoom in on any image. Using the scrollbar, I could always scroll up and click to “select” an image — which would expand it to fill the entire screen!

FUN ON YOUR HOME PAGE

5. Skip Instantly To a Different Page of Titles

I’ve always been jealous of people who could jump to a title by typing its first letter. (This is only possible if you’ve sorted your titles alphabetically, which allows skipping instantly through the list to arrive at “the first item that begins with that letter”.)

But it turns out there’s also a skipping trick for people who haven’t sorted their titles alphabetically. Even if your titles are sorted by Author (or by which title is “Most Recently Read”), it’s still possible to skip quickly from one page of titles to the next. Type in the number of your desired page of titles, and the Home Page will automatically refresh to display the titles appearing on that page!

6. Only Show Periodicals and Blogs

This is handy if you’re one of those people who’s actually reading lots of magazines or blogs on your Kindle. The “Show and Sort” menu at the top of the home page will let you zoom in to a smaller listing that shows just your books (without blogs and magazines cluttering up the list) — or, to show only the periodicals and blogs, without clogging the listings with books!

7. View Your Own Documents On Your Kindle

Besides pictures, it’s also possible to send text documents to your Kindle. (It’s something I didn’t even think about for several months, because I was so excited to be reading digital ebooks!) But Amazon’s “approved file types” for e-mailing include all the basic file formats for documents, including Microsoft Word’s .doc format and .rtf , as well as .html and .htm, and recently, even .pdf

8. See Your Reading Progress on the Home Page

Here’s something I didn’t know until I read the Kindle User’s Guide. I actually thought Amazon was just displaying a decorative dotted line below the titles of my books — until I realized it was those heavy dots at the beginning of the line that were indicating how much of the book I’d read! (“Your place in the book is indicated by the progress indicator beneath the book title,” Amazon explains in the user’s guide…)

GETTING WHAT YOU WANT

9. Edit Your Highlights

I’d always get annoyed when I’d try to highlight a single sentence, and Amazon insisted on including a few words from the previous sentence, or the sentence that came after it. But after syncing the Kindle to my PC, I realized Amazon stored them all in a single text file called “My Clippings” in the “Documents” folder. All I had to do was pull them up in a text editor, and I could chop out the extraneous words!

When highlighting a clipping, you can also highlight more words on a single page — just by selecting a smaller font size!

10. Searching Has Shortcuts

By default Amazon searches through the documents on your Kindle, and also offers to run a search on the same words in its Kindle store. But if you prefix your search with special codewords, Amazon will conduct the search in a different location. @store searches the Kindle store, while @web runs the search words through Google. But the most useful code is probably @wiki, which will automatically take you to your search term’s page on Wikipedia!

UPDATE: It turns out I’m now Google’s #1 match for the phrase “Kindle tips and Tricks”. So be sure to click here for “Five MORE of My Best Kindle Tips and Tricks.”

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