Awesome Tricks Every Kindle User Should Know

Posted by jun auza On 4/20/2011
Kindle is a portable e-book reader from Amazon.com that has gained huge popularity since its launch. The Linux-powered gadget allows reading files in most of the popular formats including PDF, if you're using the latest version. Though it utilizes Amazon's own DRM format for Amazon e-books, it is not as heavily walled as Apple's iPad. Hence, there are some pretty cool tricks that can help you get more out of your Kindle. Here are 3 such tricks:



Reading manga on Kindle:

Manga is the Japanese word for comics. It is used in the English-speaking world as a generic term for all comic books and graphic novels that were originally published in Japan. Though Amazon.com doesn't sell any mangas especially for the Kindle device, users have found a way to download and read them on Kindle. Mangle is one software that does that really well.

Mangle is a cross-platform open-source application that helps users read mangas on their Kindle device. The tiny application written in Python, allows users to convert and transfer the manga images to the reader using an USB cable. The mangas are read on the device with the help of Kindle's image viewer. Also, Kindle being black-and-white doesn't pose much of a problem as most of the mangas are already in black-and-white. However, if you have a colored manga, it will show up in black-and-white on the Kindle.

The software can be downloaded HERE.

A detailed tutorial on how to setup and use the software can be found HERE.


Read Documents and Online Articles on Kindle for free:

Though Kindle comes with a JavaScript-enabled web browser, it is not the most convenient device when it comes to full-fledged browsing. Besides, the clumsy keyboard makes typing a real drag. But hey, one can never complain about Kindle's browsing capabilities, as long as it does what it says on the tin – read eBooks. But, when it comes to reading documents, transferring them manually using an USB becomes very tedious. Moreover, documents in other formats don't always look as good as they should.

There's a neat solution for that problem. When you buy a new Kindle device, you are provided with a @kindle.com email address where you can send any documents you want to read on your kindle. Amazon then converts those articles into its DRM format (ouch!) and then transfers it wirelessly (3G or Wi-Fi) to the device. The whole process costs a little money, but if you have a Wi-Fi connection, the same can be done for free. Instead of mailing the documents to your @kindle.com address, mail them to @free.kindle.com, and the document will be converted free of cost. Only caveat of this process is that, the article won't be delivered over 3G; hence, having a Wi-Fi connection is a must. Also, Amazon doesn't convert files sent in PDF format.

But what about those really long articles on the web?

Enter Send To Kindle. Send to Kindle is a browser extension that pushes the current page you're reading to your Kindle device. The setup is simple and just pushing the button sends the article instantly. Send to Kindle works on Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari. It is a great way to read web articles without any distractions.

Download the extension from HERE.

If you prefer some other service that does the same job, here are 2 nice alternatives:

Later on Kindle (Google Chrome Extension): https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ncpgbjikhdoedlilphcppnglbipboglf

Send To Reader (Bookmarklet): http://sendtoreader.com/


Essential Kindle keyboard shortcuts:

Keyboard Shortcuts: A couple of years ago Reverse Everything blog hacked the Amazon Kindle and posted some nifty keyboard shortcuts for the same (see: http://igorsk.blogspot.com/2007/12/hacking-kindle-part-3-root-shell-and.html).

Here are some of the best ones:

Alt-Shift-R: Reboot Kindle (press all buttons together for every combo henceforth)
Alt-Shift-. : Restart GUI

Some useful keyboard shortcuts while using the reader:

Alt-B: toggle bookmark
Alt-PageForward/PageBackward: go to next/prev annotation or one "chunk" (1/20th of a book) forward or backward

Hidden Trick: Playing Minesweeper!! (Yes, you heard right)

Alt-Shift-M (press together): Start Minesweeper

Here are the keyboard shortcuts to playing the game:

I,J,K,L: Up,left,down,right
M: Mark mine
R: Restart
Space: Open cell
Scroll: move cursor up/down
Alt-Scroll: move cursor left/right
H: return to Home screen


One great advantage the Kindle has over other eBook readers including the iPad is its $139 price tag. Moreover, being a Linux-powered device, you can tweak it to the max at the cost of your warranty of course. If you haven't bought it yet, here is a link to the product page. Also, if you know any Kindle tricks apart from the ones mentioned above, feel free to share them with us via comment.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

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