I bought a basic Kindle recently and I’m enjoying it. I don’t currently plan to buy many e-books, but rather use the Kindle as a better tool for existing reading compared to my computer and phone. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far:
I’ve found a number of free books in PDF form that I plan to work through:
- A number of books and articles by James Jordan are available at Biblical Horizons. Through New Eyes is a great introduction to Jordan’s work if you are unfamiliar with him.
- Gary North has a number of books available for free. At a minimum, right now I plan to work through some of the books by North, David Chilton, Ken Gentry and George Grant.
- There are a number of free books available at the von Mises Institute. Bruno Leoni’s Freedom and the Law in particular comes highly recommended, and I’ve just finished Henry Hazlitt’s outstanding Economics in One Lesson.
PDF’s aren’t the best format for reading on Kindle. I’ve found two tools for converting PDFs to e-books and uploading them to my Kindle. For simple PDFs (e.g., single column, and not a scanned image), Calibre is great for converting and uploading. However, Calibre does a poor job with PDFs that are scanned copies of books (this applies to many of the books linked above). For these I use a two-step process: first, I run the PDF through the K2PDFOpt tool (at the time of this writing, version 1.63 crashes for me on some books, but 1.51 is stable). This increases the size of the PDF file significantly, but it organizes it in a form that Calibre is much better able to handle. Then I use Calibre to convert these PDFs to e-books, and upload them to my Kindle.
Until now, I saved longer articles and blog posts for later reading using open tabs in my browser. This quickly grows unwieldy. The Instapaper service allows you to save web pages for later reading, and it integrates with Kindle. Now when I run across a longer article, I click a button to send it to Instapaper, and by the next morning the article is ready to read on my Kindle.
The Kindlefeeder service allows you to send blog and news feeds to your Kindle. I’ve selected several of the blogs I read (ones that tend to have longer articles) to be sent to my Kindle, and now I read them there rather than on my computer.
If you have any other tips and tricks I’d appreciate hearing about them.
All of the above should work with e-readers other than Kindle. In the case of Instapaper and Kindlefeeder, you may need to upload a file manually to your reader instead of having it automatically sent there.