Thursday, June 21, 2012

9 Ways To Get More from Your Kindle Fire

Michael Salsbury

  1. Consider Amazon Prime Membership:  The Amazon Prime membership program offers free two-day shipping for all products sold by (but NOT products sold through Amazon by third parties), free instant streaming of many movies and television shows, and access to the Kindle Owner Lending Library which allows you to check out one book free per month from a fairly large list.Prime membership isn't cheap, costing $79 per year.  However, if you order items regularly from Amazon, the free two-day shipping on purchases (of any dollar amount) can add up quickly.  I often find that once Prime covers my shipping, I can order many items from Amazon more cheaply than I can buy them locally.The selection of videos available for free streaming through Prime may not be quite as good as Netflix, but it's impressive.  For example, you can stream a wide variety of TV shows, including Arrested Development, 24, Lost, Glee, Grey's Anatomy, Dora the Explorer, Cheers, Firefly, Doctor Who, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and more.  Available movies include Mrs. Doubtfire, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Caddyshack, Office Space, and many more.In the Kindle Owners' Lending Library you'll find books my Suzanne Collins, Debbie Macomber, Richard Dawkins, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Stephen R. Covey, and many more.  If you are purchasing at least one regular-priced Kindle book ($8 or more) per month, this would probably pay your Prime subscription. (Assuming of course that you can find a book in the library each month that you want to read.)

  2. Check Out Project Gutenberg:  The Project Gutenberg sitetouts itself as the first producer of free ebooks.  It's certainly been around longer than the original Kindle, so I'm not going to question their claim.The electronic books on the site are all public domain books, which no longer have valid copyrights.  You can download any book on the site at no charge and load it onto your Kindle Fire to read.  The site offers free classic books like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Herman Melville's Moby Dick, Agatha Christie's Secret Adversary, and many more.If you're not sure how to load these free eBooks on your Kindle Fire, see the next tip.

  3. Download and Use the Calibre eBook Management Software: Calibre is a free application available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.  It can help you manage a library of electronic books, convert electronic books from one format to another, download news from the web and convert it into an eBook on your Kindle Fire, and browse your eBooks on your computer.Using Calibre with the Kindle Fire is easy.  Unlock the Kindle Fire.  Connect a micro USB cable to the computer and the Kindle Fire.  Launch Calibre.  It will automatically identify the Kindle Fire. The eBooks you have already downloaded and imported into Calibre's library can be loaded onto your Kindle Fire by selecting the book and clicking the "Send to Device" button.  Calibre will load the book onto the Kindle.  Tap the Disconnect button on the Kindle Fire screen, unplug the cable, and the book should appear in your Kindle Fire device library.  Calibre will take care of converting the book to the proper format and putting it where it needs to go on the Kindle.

  4. Keep an Eye on eReaderiQ for free and discounted eBooks.The eReaderiQ site monitors Amazon for free Kindle books and big price drops.  It provides a list of the available free Kindle books and provides direct links for downloading them.  The books you select can be directly loaded onto your Kindle by Amazon.

  5. Monitor the Kindle Daily Deal for Inexpensive eBooks.Amazon offers the Kindle Daily Deal each day.  This is a Kindle book that is priced for one day only at a significant discount, usually reduced to $0.99 or $1.99 instead of a price of $7 or more.  On the day I'm writing this, the Daily Deal is Lawrence Block's Not Comin' Home to You novel which is normally $7.69 but available today for $0.99.

  6. Get More Free Books Through HundredZeros.comThe site provides a list of free Kindle books as well.

  7. Check Your Local Library for eBook Lending Options:  My local library has access to a wide selection of eBooks, audio books, and other materials I can download to my Kindle Fire free of charge.  Yours may have a similar arrangement.

  8. Try for legally free books, textbooks, and lecture notes:  The site offers a large number of free and legally downloadable books, textbooks, and lecture notes on a variety of subjects.  Available eBooks cover computer science, algorithms, data structures, object oriented programming, artificial intelligence, parallel computing, operating systems, and software engineering.

  9. Check out the Free App of the Day in the Kindle App Store:  Each day, Amazon offers an application for the Kindle Fire free of charge.  To get to the App of the Day, turn on and unlock your Kindle Fire (while connected to Wi-Fi).  Tap the Home button if you aren't already at the home screen.  Tap the "Apps" link at the top of the home screen, then the "Store" link.  At the top of the screen you'll see an app listed, with its normal price displayed and crossed out, and a button to obtain it free of charge.  If you have an Android phone or tablet, installing the Amazon App Store application on that device will allow you to get the same app for free there as well.

About the Author

Michael Salsbury / Author & Editor

In his day job, Michael Salsbury helps administer over 1,800 Windows desktop computers for a Central Ohio non-profit. When he's not working, he's writing, blogging, podcasting, home brewing, or playing "warm furniture" to his two Bengal cats.


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