How to Do (Almost) Everything With a Kindle 3 by Tim Carmody

Photo of third-generation Kindle. Courtesy Amazon.com

Amazon’s Kindle can do a lot more than just buy and read Amazon-sold e-books. This is often a surprise. I usually wind up in conversations where someone says “I’d like to try a Kindle, but it can’t _______.” Usually, it can.

I was actually surprised when I bought my Kindle not just by how much it could do, but by how well it did it. The Kindle suffers from two things: 1) it’s never going to do everything that a full-fledged computer or even a color touchscreen tablet can do; and 2) the Kindle 3 has improved on a whole slew of features that were either poorly implemented in or entirely absent from earlier iterations of the Kindle.

Here I want to gather up knowledge generated from and circulated by many of my favorite e-reader blogs, just to try to give you an inkling of all the things that a new Kindle can do. For organizational purposes, I’m going to do it as a Q&A. Most of these questions I’ve actually been asked (some of them frequently); others are rhetorical. (There are many features you wouldn’t even think to ask about.)

Q. Can the Kindle read PDFs?

A. Yes — and it actually handles them very well. You don’t need to email yourself copies; you can hook up your Kindle to your computer through a USB cable, mount the Kindle’s drive, and drag-and-drop.

One big suggestion. Just because of its screen size, viewing PDFs on the Kindle is much better if they’re oriented in portrait rather than landscape, and if they’re single-page documents rather than spreads (i.e., where a book is scanned/photocopied two pages at a time). Printed office documents, downloaded journal articles, maps, etc., all look great. They’re monochrome, obviously, but they read as well as an e-book. You can even highlight and annotate them just like you can Kindle books — that is, assuming they’re real text PDFs, not just bundled images.

Click on link to read Tim’s article

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