Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kindle, the Root of All Evil

Kindle, FREE

Kindle, the root of all evil. Well, not really. The root of my insomnia is more like it. I am addicted to Kindle.It is what I mostly do on my device. Read. Read. Read.

So what is Kindle?

Kindle is a free universal app optimized for iPad, iPhone, and iTouch. The problem with universal apps is that they look great on small screen devices like iPhone and itouch, but the quality is greatly reduced when viewed on a much bigger screen, like the iPad. What you are doing is just zooming in (2x) on what is generally made for a smaller screen. That is not the case with Kindle.

Kindle, thumbnail view
Kindle's home screen is a delicious visual pleaser. I prefer this over the boring "real-looking" bookshelf forms of most e-book readers (including iBooks).

On the bottom part of the screen, you have your "archived items": Books that you have bought on the Kindle Store and is ready for download on your device.

Next to it are buttons for how you want to view your books. The thumbnail view (The image shown on the left) is my favorite. I like seeing my individual books in all its glory. Clean. Uncluttered. Just book after book.
Kindle, list view

The detailed list view (The image shown on the right) gives you a small version of your book, its title and author, and how far you've come on your reading.The alphabet on the right of the screen is for browsing, just tap on the letter of your choice and it will direct you to the list that starts with that letter.

You can arrange your books according to the recent ones you've read, according to author, and according to the book titles. Whichever you prefer. Mine is set on author for now.

And on the far right corner of the home screen is a small "i" icon, a pull up tab of info regarding Kindle: Settings, About, Provide Feedback, Contact Support, Terms of Use, Legal Notices. Beside the "i" icon is an icon for refreshing your app, checking for items, and syncing.

It is beautiful and functional. Tapping the top or the bottom part of an open book, shows the menus you need to further enhance your reading experience. Tap it again, to hide the menus, helping you just focus on enjoying a good book. You can look up word in the dictionary by simply tapping and holding the word: The dictionary definition, and the links to Google or Wikipedia will appear on the bottom part of the screen.

I love this aspect of Kindle. I don't have to leave Kindle to have something defined. You can also note, highlight, or share any word or phrase using the same tapping and holding motions. Easy as pie.

You can customize the font size, page effect, and the brightness to fit how you like to read. I always use the sepia tone, it makes me feel like I'm reading an ancient tome: the white setting makes me think of A4 sized research papers. Not pretty. But then again, that's just me.

Of course you can bookmark your page, the icon is located on the top right hand corner. You also know where exactly how far you are on your reading, thanks to the location bar on the bottom of the page.

With the search function you can find the words and phrases, like characters or topics without having to manually look for the exact page yourself.
You can easily go to your notes and marks, go back to the cover, view the table of contents, or find an exact page without flipping through hundreds of pages.

Kindle's Whispersync Technology is awesome!
I have other e-book apps in my iPad. The same apps are on my iPhone too. But they don't sync. So I don't have the same read books or pages on my devices. Not so with Kindle. All my devices are synced automatically. So i can use any device and not have to worry about manually updating the other device. 
"Whispersync technology syncs your last page read, notes, bookmarks, and highlights across devices, so you can pick up where you left off."
Of course, with Kindle you buy your books at the Kindle Store (or get free samples of the books). There are also free books available on Kindle, but the book cover is not pretty.

Get your books on Kindle

It is possible to put  your e-books (e-books you already have on your computer) on Kindle. It is free. All you have to do is drag and drop your e-book to your itunes.
  1. Open your itunes.
  2. Click your device (e.g: Cyndy's iPad)
  3. Click the Apps tab
  4. Scroll Down until you see the "File Sharing" section
  5. Choose Kindle from the list of apps available for file sharing
  6. Drag and drop your e-books to the documents section.
Important note: Your e-book format must be in .MOBI so that your Kindle can read it.

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