Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tips for new Kindlers on Mother's Day. Free Kindle books. Battery use.

Mother's Day greeting at left, is from the Manhasset Library.

Since many will be opening new Kindles today, I thought I'd mention a couple of things that can help with finding free books, to give it a workout, and do a reminder on tips for getting the most out of the Kindle battery.
  At the top of this blog's reference column, you can always find free books available at the moment (some are temporarily free due to promos).

Temporarily-free books -
- USA: by:
NEW: Last 30+ days  May 2011
   Publication Date   Late-listed
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
   Top 100 free
USEFUL for your Kindle (U.S. only, for now):
  99c Notepad for Kindle,   99c CalendarPro

You can also get an idea of other sources for over a million free books as well as get some pre-set links for low-cost Kindle books, at the Free Kindle Books guide here

SPECIAL BOOK DEALS TODAY - temporary promos
The Amazon Kindle Forums often has message threads on discounted books that include some free books.

  Yesterday's included a tip on Kindle books from Rosettabooks that have tie-ins with movies, available at $0.00 today.  I've no idea for how long.  These include: A Passage to India, The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, and others.

  There are also some Dr. Vook TextVooks available for $0.00 today BUT BEWARE of any that are animated, with audio/video, as those features work ONLY on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod (Touch) -- they don't work on the Kindle or even the Kindle for PC app either.

    However, the NON-animated TextVooks are extremely "brief" (maybe 15-20 pages only) and said to be good 1/2-hour refreshers for some.  For $0, those may be worth a download for the Kindle.  I have to believe the product descriptions are thoroughly tongue-in-cheek, by a cheeky professor who says outfront that these are written by graduate students.  The "Did you know?" boxes can be fun, and the TextVooks are like more-filled-out outlines.

More from The Complete Works Collection
The blog entry just before this had to do with the Complete Works Collection offerings for $2.99.

  What I hadn't noticed among the sets was the Harvard Classics set, which my family actually had when I was growing up.  A lot of families did.  They must have been sold by radio or door to door.  This is quite a set though.

TIP 1 - for using Table of Contents to get to Chapters and back
I've read that some who jump to a chapter have felt that they must then page through until they can get the next chapter or another one they want.

  The trick is that if you want to go back to the LAST place you were when you 'jumped' by clicking a link, you just press the "Back" button and you're back where you were before the 'jump.'  This works for footnotes too, generally.

  For those who bought Shakespeare sets, some families might be interested in a not-free but much-praised Shakespeare GLOSSARY.  Warning: it's $12 but many feel it's well worth it while trying to read that old English :-)

The Kindle is known for its long battery life, but certain functions use a lot more battery power than others, and one involves a process that's a part of putting new books on your Kindle (UK: K3).

  Indexing - The Kindle allows you to do a Search on the entire device to find a key word or phrase that may occur in any book or magazine on the Kindle.

  In order to do that, the Kindle "indexes" all new text material that is placed on it, which means it makes lists of key words found in each so that they can be found when you decide to do a Search, either within a book (commonly done) or of all the text on the Kindle (less common and it takes awhile to get search results but this can be very useful).

  That indexing takes a LOT of battery life.  New Kindles seem to use a lot more juice than people had expected, and that's because they are usually getting a lot of new books on them, with a lot of indexing to be done.

  Sometimes, a book might not finish indexing for some reason, and that can cause slowdowns.
  TIP 2 - If you think the Kindle is being a bit slow and you want to check to see if a book has not completely finished indexing but should have completed (a day later, say), do a SEARCH on a nonsense word, such as "xwzq" and the search will end without finding that (normally!).  However, if a book has not completed indexing, you'll get a message to that effect.

  It shouldn't take more than an hour or 4 to do indexing, but I've seen that people put hundreds of books on right away, or even a thousand, in a couple of cases.  That will take quite a bit of time to index.

  If a book never finishes indexing (after a day or two), it probably became corrupted during a downloading session due to weak reception with the WiFi or 3G. I'd delete it and re-download it.

  TIP 3 - Plug in the charger when you're putting a LOT of books on it, because you can read while the device is charging.  That way, the indexing won't use battery power, and you won't be surprised by the battery being unusually low after you've added a great many books.  A few books, no big difference -- but as I say, some just download or transfer hundreds right away.

I collected the ones that were made over a year ago, and they still hold.

  Essentially, no battery power is used for a screensaver/screensleeper or for any page of content, until something changes in that page. Kindle Team recommends you just let the Kindle go to sleep rather than power it down.  It takes more power to turn it on often, actually.

  TIP 4 - When you're through reading for a while, CLOSE the book by pressing the "Home" button.  This records the last-page you read so that you return to that page when you next open the book (or when you next open the book but you're using your smartphone which is sync'd with the Kindle - a nice feature).  Closing the book by pressing the "Home" button also saves, to a special file, your highlighting and notes, so it's important to do that.

  The type of battery in the Kindle shouldn't be brought down to Zero.  Amazon recommends you not let it get below 25% or so.  Leaving enough there prevents problems.  There's no harm in topping off, because there's no "memory" effect as with the older type of batteries.

  Read much more in the Battery Advisories from Amazon Kindle Customer Service.

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  1. Is there a place that shows what offers an owner of a $114 special offer kindle would have seen?

    Thanks, Don Lloyd

  2. The 'nonsense word' I use is '.'.

    Since non-alphanumeric characters are not indexed, you are guaranteed to have zero search results, leaving only 'No Items' or 'Items Not Yet Indexed'. Plus there is no shorter word you can type. But now all of the keystrokes I've saved while using this shortcut have been used to explain it here.

  3. Tom,
    :-) I just use whatever occurs to me at the time and luckily I've always used something that doenn't exist. Nice strategy with '.'. though!

  4. I find that if I leave my kindle 2 on sleep for a couple of weeks, it dies- some battery must be lost

  5. Anonymous,
    the Kindle 2 was released February 26-27, 2009, so it's been almost 2-1/2 yrs. The battery loses some each month whether you use it or not. After 2.5 years there'll be less staying power. If it was manufactured back then, it will have lost capacity. Usually by the time the 3rd year comes around, it'd be time to put in a new one.

    Also, I guess you do have 'wireless' Off when it's sleeping?

    That will help. Oddly enough, my Kindle 1 from Aug 2008 is still pretty strong. It lasts about 3 weeks and a bit more if I do nothing with it. I do leave it on 'sleep'... So it depends on the Kindle too.

    Good luck on it!


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