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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Macs Get Send-to-Kindle Option

It hasn’t been all that long since we first saw the release of the Send-to-Kindle program for the PC, but it has already proven to be a huge improvement to the Kindle’s functionality for many users.  Not only does it make things like exporting DRM-free eBooks from Calibre that much easier (nobody likes having to find their USB cable, assuming they even have one), the ability to print from practically any window directly into a Kindle document makes life a lot easier.  Now Mac users will get to experience the same benefits, thanks to Amazon’s newest software release.

If you are a Mac user and have an interest in taking advantage of this new feature, head over to this page on the Amazon.com site and download the application.  The installation is simple and will result in having a “Send to Kindle” icon sitting in your dock.  Any time you want to send something to your Kindle, you can simply drag and drop the document into the dock icon.  Multiple simultaneous documents are acceptable as well, of course.

If you want to send something active to the Kindle, perhaps a web page or working document from Word, the Send to Kindle application also includes the same sort of “printer drivers” that the PC version makes available.  Simply print as you normally would, choosing “Send to Kindle” as your device of choice.  The same window will appear that you see when dragging document icons into the dock.

This window offers a few useful options.  Most importantly, you get to tag your document with both Title and Author metadata.  This means that it is not important to worry about file naming prior to transfer.  One less hassle.  You also get to decide on delivery options.  You can choose to have your documents sent via Wi-Fi or Whispernet.  If you choose Whispernet, the usual charges will apply and as such it is usually preferable to avoid it.  You also get to decide which Kindle or Kindles get access to the document being sent.  This can be everything on your account, just your smartphone’s Kindle for iOS app, or any combination in between.

You also get the option of archiving your document in your account’s Kindle Library.  This is particularly handy and may get used more often than you expect.  While each account only gets 5GB of free storage space, this does not generally fill up quickly when it is used primarily for document storage.  This means that anything you think might be handy to have available can be stored in the cloud even when it is not worth the trouble of keeping on your Kindle itself at any given time.  I find myself frequently using this function even when I have no reason to need an immediate transfer to the Kindle.

So far we lack any information about a possible “Send to Kindle for Linux” option.  That would seem to be the next big step if another were to be take.  Given Amazon’s enthusiasm for Linux as a platform, it might be a fairly long wait.  It is definitely nice to see Kindle eReader and Kindle Fire functionality continuing to be expanded and made available to the largest possible audiences, however, and we can only anticipate the trend continuing as Kindle eBook prices drop in the near future.

New York Public Library Launches E-book Central

From January 4th-13th, the New York Public library is stepping up their efforts to help new owners of the Kindle and other e-readers learn how to download e-books from the library’s vast digital collection.

NYPL has over 22,000 e-books ready to check out, and in addition to on site help through trained reference librarians, the library system has also launched a website called E-Book Central.

Lending Kindle e-books in libraries is a fairly new service, but as a librarian I see first hand how much a service like E-Book Central is needed.  I get questions about it often at the library where I work.  E-reader sales this holiday season were record breaking, so the demand is  much greater.  Just like regular books, good Kindle books are snatched up quickly.

The process for checking out e-books is quite simple once you find the book you want.  The New York Public Library provides a detailed, step by step guide for downloading e-books from their collection onto any mobile device or e-reader.

Two things you need before you start: An Amazon account, and an account with your local library that supports Kindle e-books.  If you don’t have a Kindle itself, there are apps for the Mac, PC, smartphones, and iPad that you can download for free.

Kindle books from the public library appear in your Kindle’s home screen just like other books.  After the check out time is up, it will automatically disappear.  Check out times usually run anywhere from 7-21 days depending on the library.

Now that the Kindle Library Lending program is up and running, I hope more libraries will follow NYPL’s example and provide more formal e-book training for their patrons.  Many libraries don’t have the staff or time available to dedicate to a project like this, but it is something that would save time in the long run.

So, if you live in NYC, see the E-Book Central website for dates and times when training is available, or check out the guides for checking out e-books on different mobile devices.

Kindle Applications

iPhone Kindle Application

Kindle for iPhone or iPod touch gives you about all of the features you can get on a regular Kindle or Kindle DX.  You can download any of the books from the Kindle Store, sync to pages and adjust the font.  Kindle for iPhone or iPod touch uses a backlit screen so you can read your book in the dark if you want to.  The home screen allows you to sort your books by recently added, author, or title.

Additional features include the ability to download the book in the background for IOS 4.0 devices, read free and out of copyright books from Project Gutenberg and other similar sources.  For a more comprehensive list of features go check out the Kindle for iPhone page on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Software requirement: IOS 3.0

To install: Search for Kindle for iPhone in the iTunes App Store on your computer or on your iPhone or iPod touch.  Get the latest version: 2.5.1.

Windows PC Kindle Application

The Windows PC Kindle Application allows you to read your Kindle books on your computer.  It includes full screen color and brightness adjustments, the ability to sync annotations and last page read, and you can search for all books available in the Kindle Store.

Requirements for the Windows PC Kindle Application:

Windows XP Service Pack 2, Vista and 7.

At Least 128 MB of RAM

Screen Resolution of 800 by 600 or greater

500MHz Intel or AMD processor or faster

100MB of disk space

Most PC’s nowadays fill these requirements easily.

To install: Click “Download Now” on the Kindle for PC product page and the installation should begin automatically.  If it doesn’t, Amazon provides you with a page that gives you a link to try installing it again.

Mac Kindle Application

Kindle for MacKindle for the Mac does has most of the same features as Kindle for PC except that the Kindle for the Mac just allows font adjustments.

Requirements for Kindle Mac Application:

A Mac with a 500MHz Intel processor or faster

512 MB of RAM

Leopard or Snow Leopard OS

800 by 600 or greater screen resolution

100MB of Disk Space

To install: You can install directly from the Kindle Mac Application Product Page, or you can install from the Mac App Store.

Blackberry Kindle Application

Kindle for BlackberryThe Blackberry Kindle Application is available for:

Bold 9000 and 9700

Curve 8520 and 8900

Storm 9530 and 9550

Tour 9639

Torch 9800

To install: Sign into your Amazon account and send an email to your Blackberry or download directly from your browser at “amazon.com/kindlebb”.

This is the only app that is available to just U.S. customers.

iPad Kindle Application

The Kindle for iPad Application is the same as the application for the iPhone, but on a larger device.  It also includes Kindle Audio and Video.

Software requirements: iPhone/iPad 3.2 OS software update.

To install: Download Kindle for iPad from the iPad App Store.

Android Kindle Application

Kindle for Android users can share reading progress, read in landscape or portrait mode, zoom in with a double tap and read over 100 magazines and newspapers in addition to the 810,000 books in the Kindle Store.

Software Requirements: Android 1.6 or greater

To install: Search for “kindle” in the Android Market or use your phone’s sensor to capture the Kindle for Android Application barcode on the product page.

Windows Phone 7 Kindle Application

Windows Phone 7The Windows Phone 7 Kindle application has 5 different font sizes and 3 background colors to choose from. You can also email a link to a book you are currently reading or one from your library to a friend.

To install: Download the Windows Phone 7 Kindle application from the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

Mangle: Manga Meets the Kindle

For anyone interested in manga, there is a free, open source software available called Mangle.  Manga is a series of Japanese cartoons or comics that cover all genres such as action, comedy, romance, sports, science fiction, fantasy and others.  Manga has become a huge hit in Japan and worldwide.  Usually the comics are printed in black and white, but there are a few color versions floating around.

Mangle was created by Alex Yatskov several years ago for the older generation version of the Kindle.  This software works really well with the Kindle 3.  Click here for downloading instructions, and for images of software demonstrations.

The Kindle 3’s improved screen makes graphics much easier to read.  Graphics have been a common complaint among Kindle users, but that seems to be improving.  You can zoom in or out and rotate the images as desired.  Manga pages in the physical books are small, but there are a lot of them.  More pages take up space, so transferring them to a digital format solves that issue.

The other cool thing about providing manga in a digital format is that it attracts an audience who might not like to read regular books.  Some people just enjoy reading a story through graphics rather than words.  It would be awesome if this option could be provided on all of the Kindle platforms: PC, Mac, Android, iPhone and iPad.  When I think about it though, the black and white aspect of manga might just be a better fit for the Kindle device itself.

There is a good selection of manga available in the Kindle Books section on Amazon.  A lot of them seem to be either in the romance or horror category.   Anyone know of any particularly good novels they would recommend?  I have been introduced to the world of manga, but would like to hear about what great titles are out there to check out.