You’d be forgiven for thinking your Amazon Kindle is just a tiny slate only fit for reading. That’s what it’s designed for, sure, but your humble e-reader has some hard-to-find, little-known tricks up its sleeve. Here are the best Kindle features you absolutely need to know about (but probably don’t).
1. Play Apps And Games
Is your mind feeling a bit mushy after reading too much Kierkegaard? Take a break and download some games so you can kill some time with Scrabble, Sudoku, or rack your brain trying to complete the latest New York Times crossword.
2. Read Instapaper Articles
Work and play tend to get in the way of your backlog of must-read, longform articles. You could read them on your phone, but why strain your eyes when you can send them to your Kindle? With Kindle Digest, Instapaper will send a selection of your queue to your Kindle as often as you’d like so you always have something fresh to page through.
3. Send Documents To Your Kindle
Instapaper works great for web articles, but maybe you want to load up your Kindle with documents for on-the-go review. Amazon has a Send to Kindle feature for PC, Mac, and mobile that makes it easy to send Word documents, PDFs, and more to your device.
4. Get Free Library Books
Avid bookworms might notice a good chunk of their budget going towards their reading habits. If you want to cut back on your spending, there’s a good chance you can nab free e-books from your local library.
5. Take A Screenshot
Some people like to tear their favorite pages out of a book to hang onto. Why ruin all those perfectly good books? When you find a passage that resonates with you, just tap two opposite corners of the screen and your Kindle will take a screenshot of the page. When you want to look at all your screenshots, plug your Kindle into a computer via USB and they’ll all be there.
6. Extract Your Highlights
If you’re reading a book for research, you’ll probably want to keep track of critical passages and quotes. If it’s a paper book, you could use a highlighter or those fickle plastic sticky tabs. On a Kindle, you can use the touchscreen to highlight text but referring to them later can be a hassle. Protip: you can export everything you’ve selected. Your Kindle creates a .txt file of all your highlights, complete with citations, that you can access from any computer via USB.
7. Reformat PDFs For Kindle
Got some important documents to review before your next meeting? Why lug your laptop when you could review them on your Kindle? Using K2pdfopt, you can reformat pdfs to be more readable on your Kindle. Now you’ll be able to zoom through that urgent contract on an easy-on-the-eyes Kindle instead.
8. Automatically Sync Books From Dropbox
Obviously, the easiest way to get ebooks onto your Kindle is through Amazon. If you look around, you can find classic, public domain titles for free… but getting them onto your Kindle can be a stumbling block. Bookdrop lets you sync a Dropbox folder to your Kindle, so all your ebooks and documents are automatically loaded onto your device whenever you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
9. Loan Books To A Friend
Just suggesting a book to a pal probably won’t get them to read it. Instead of pestering them every week to see if they’ve finally gotten around to it, just send it over to them with Amazon’s 14-day loan policy. Once they’ve seen it show up on their Kindle, they might feel guilty enough to sink their eyes into your latest obsession.