Kindle Buffet: Free books, all you can eat!

More sites for finding Kindle freebies

Pixel of Ink

The Cheap

Ereader News Today

Free Kindle Books and Tips

Kindle Nation Daily

The Kindle Daily Deal

MORE GOLD MINES OF FREE BOOKS

Purchasing free books on Amazon

Exploring Project Gutenberg

The perks of Amazon Prime

The Kindle Owner’s Lending Library

Recognizing illegal content

Current books offered as free PDF downloads

Bundled books

Adobe Digital Editions

Library Books

HOW TO READ A BOOK (and more), KINDLE STYLE

Using Kindle’s Personal Documents Service

Briefly: Keeping a lid on @Kindle

Converting documents.

Using the ‘Send-to-Kindle’ application on your computer

Using the Books ‘Library’

Borrowing Kindle books from a library.

APPS FOR KINDLE FIRE

Apps for Fun

XiiaLive Lite

Go Launcher EX

Angry Birds

Utilities

Kaspersky Tablet Security

Wi-Fi Analyzer Free

imo

Productivity

QuickOffice

Evernote

Office Calculator Free

Managing apps

Free your Kindle

FEED YOUR READER WITH WEB CONTENT

Using Calibre

All the news you can eat, and Calibre picks up the check

eBooks, Calibre, and the Kindle

Briefly: For the love of Calibre

Let’s go shopping!

Briefly: The Pirate Code

Exploring Calibre Further

Kindlefeeder


Kindle Buffet

Find and download the best free books, magazines and newspapers for your Kindle, iPhone, iPad or Android

 

 

 

By Steve Weber

 

All Rights Reserved Ó 2012 by Stephen W. Weber

 

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

The information in this book is offered with the understanding that it does not contain legal, financial, or other professional advice. Individuals requiring such services should consult a competent professional. The author and publisher make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in this book for any purpose. This material is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind.

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this book, errors and omissions can occur. The publisher assumes no responsibility for any damages arising from the use of this book, or alleged to have resulted in connection with this book.

This book is not completely comprehensive. Some readers may wish to consult additional books for advice. This book is not authorized or endorsed by any company mentioned in the text.

 

 

Published by Stephen W. Weber

Weber Books    www.WeberBooks.com

ISBN 978-1-936560-13-4


 

Kindle Buffet: Free books, all you can eat!  

One of the best things about Amazon’s digital bookstore is that many of its most popular books are offered completely free of charge during brief promotional periods. If you manage to find and download a book while it’s offered free, it’s yours to keep—forever. It’s a great way to sample a new genre, or perhaps discover an author you hadn’t noticed before.

 

This section of the book will describe a series of websites designed to help you locate free Kindle books. The first, Kindle Buffet, is dear to my heart: I’m the founding publisher and update the site each day.

 

Yes, I love downloading free books to my Kindles so much, I started the website and newsletter called KindleBuffet.com to help keep track of the very best books currently available free. (The free promotions usually last only a few days, but there’s a new crop every day). Take a look, and I’m sure you’ll be amazed at the wealth of great books—usually there are several hundred freebies in virtually every category of fiction and nonfiction, every day of the year. And these aren’t just the dogs that nobody wants, the selection includes bona-fide bestsellers from the most famous authors in the world. You may never have to pay for a book again! Heaven knows I’ve already downloaded more books than I’d be able to read in three lifetimes. But there’s two things I’ve never been able to refuse—free food and free books.

 

Of the thousands of new books made available every day, I whittle the list down to highlight only the best on Kindle Buffet . For this, I use a two simple yardsticks: how many five-star reviews have Amazon customers posted about the book? Then, to skim the cream a bit more, I compare a book’s number of positive reviews versus negative reviews. Although individual reviewers frequently disagree about a given book—and Amazon certainly has its share of knuckleheads offering their two-cents’ worth—the bottom line is usually clear: the best, most widely enjoyed books attract the most (and best percentage of) positive reviews.

 

Kindle Buffet also has bestseller lists, updated hourly, of free Kindle books for every Amazon category—fiction, romance, business, cookbooks—you name it. So if you’d like to load up your Kindle with plenty of great reading material without spending a dime, visit KindleBuffet.com.

 

If you’re curious as to why authors and publishers sometimes offer their books free in Kindle format, the answer is pretty simple: it boosts overall sales, especially for authors who’ve written a series of books. Sure, a few sales are “lost” for a certain title while it’s free, but the word-of-mouth generated by the Kindle givewaway usually boosts sales of the author’s other titles.

 

 

Figure 1. The home page at KindleBuffet.com. Visit the site and get the free newsletter showing Editor’s Picks of the highest quality Kindle books currently offered free.

No Kindle? No problem!

Recently Amazon’s line of Kindle devices have gotten so inexpensive it’s hard to resist buying at least one. But you don’t need any of Amazon’s hardware to enjoy Kindle books. Amazon offers free Kindle apps for nearly every brand of cellphone, tablet, and desktop computer. For that matter, you can read Kindle books in a Web browser.

For more information on Kindle reading apps, search your device’s app store for “Kindle” or consult this page: http://bit.ly/ReadApps

One footnote: In a coming section, we’ll discuss how to “borrow” Kindle books, and for that you’d need a Kindle device.

More sites for finding Kindle freebies

As I mentioned, I have a special interest in Kindle Buffet since it’s my baby. But there are several worthy competitors, and I’ll list them here. Each has a different focus that you might find useful. Kindle Buffet’s main attraction is that its “Editor’s Picks” section focuses on the very best Kindle books currently offered free, so if your reading time is limited, Kindle Buffet might be an effective time-saver. Some of the other sites, however, offer a more complete selection. Also, some of the other sites accept advertising from authors who pay to have their books featured. Nothing wrong with that, except that it results in these sites recommending some truly awful books from time to time.

 

Like Kindle Buffet, the sites mentioned here participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program that pays advertising fees for linking to Amazon.com. While this list isn’t exhaustive, these sites are among the best:

 

Pixelofink.com

 

Pixel of Ink offers a daily selection of free Kindle books and hot deals, which includes bargain Kindle books priced under $1, under $3, or under $5. If you’re a reader of Christian or Faith-based literature, you’ll want to check out this site’s “Inspired Reads” section.

 

the-cheap.net

 

The Cheap provides a rundown of daily and monthly Kindle deals, freebies, prizes and giveaways. This site includes links to special deals for users of other eBook systems such as the Nook, Kobo, and iBookstore.

 

ereadernewstoday.com

 

Ereader News Today features free Kindle books, Kindle accessories, bargain Kindle books, and “book of the day” selections.

 

fkbooksandtips.com

 

Free Kindle Books and Tips publishes Kindle Daily Deals, daily selections of free Kindle books and apps. This site also includes helpful tutorials and shortcuts for using your Kindle.

 

kindlenationdaily.com

 

Kindle Nation Daily publishes Kindle picks, tips, news and commentary, and includes sections on Kindle apps and children’s books. You can search for all currently available free Kindle books here.

 

thekindledailydeal.com

 

The Kindle Daily Deal publishes daily deals, bestsellers, bargains, free books, and popular quotes.


 

MORE GOLD MINES OF FREE BOOKS

Until now, our discussion has focused on current books—those published within the past few years and usually available free only through Amazon for a limited time. However, there is a whole new category of books freely available on Amazon and other sites. These “Public Domain” works include the classics from authors like William Shakespreare, Jane Austen, Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and countless others. Unlike the books featured in Kindle Buffet’s “Editor’s Picks,” these old classics remain free all year long.

 

You can browse the most popular free classics in Kindle format at this link.

 

These free classics can pop up any time you’re browsing or searching Amazon. For example, enter a search for “Bronte,” and among the results are free Kindle editions of up books by the Bronte sisters—Ann, Charlotte and Emily—as shown below:

 

Figure 6: Free eBooks of classic novels by the Bronte sisters.

 

Notice the books with the generic covers and the book with the Kindle graphic for a cover. They’re all priced at $0.00. These are Public Domain titles, so Amazon lets you download them for free to your Kindle. The beige and green covers appear on several of the books in my library, pictured below. These are all free—and rather hard-to-find in printed form—books that I got from Amazon.com.

 

In the image below, King Henry V by Shakespeare, Four Weird Tales by Algernon Blackwood, The Centaur by Algernon Blackwood, The Return by Walter de la Mare and the Raven by Edgar Allen Poe were all free. Amazon has a huge collection available.

 

Figure 7: My Library showing several free books.

 

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TIP: Many rare and out-of-print books are now available as eBooks from several different sites. If you’ve been searching for a book that means a lot to you to own—maybe something from your childhood or with similar sentimental value—be sure to check Project Gutenberg and Amazon. It may well be available on one of these sites.

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Purchasing free books on Amazon. Even though a particular book might be “free,” you’ll still need a One-Click payment method at Amazon to download them. You’ll get a receipt in your email that will show the purchase but nothing will show up on your credit card or bank statement.

 

 

In addition to Amazon, several other websites offer vast selections of Public Domain books. The most well-known is likely Project Gutenberg, located at http://www.gutenberg.org/.

 

Exploring Project Gutenberg

 

Figure 3: The Project Gutenberg homepage

 

Figure 123 shows the Project Gutenberg homepage. The left navigation menu gives you access to the site’s entire book catalog. You can choose to Search Catalog, Browse Catalog or you can view Book Categories.

 

Let’s search for a well-known suspense story, “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James. Here is the result from Project Gutenberg:

 

Figure 4: Search results for ‘Turn of the Screw’ at Project Gutenberg.

 

Notice that, on the right of the page, there are two results listed. The first is a link to all the eBook versions of The Turn of the Screw. The one below it is a link to the audio version of the story. Project Gutenberg has a lot of audio books that are public domain and that are read by volunteers. If you want to stock up on audio books for a long trip, this is a good place to do it!

 

Let’s click on the like to the eBook version of The Turn of the Screw.

 

Figure 5: The eBook Versions of ‘The Turn of The Screw.’

 

Project Gutenberg will typically offer books in a variety of formats. Notice that there are HTML, EPUB, Kindle, PLocker, QiOO Mobile and Plain Text versions of this eBook.

 

The perks of Amazon Prime

This is a good point to mention Amazon Prime, a subscription offered to Amazon customers for $79 annually. Membership entitles you to watch thousands of free movies and TV series on Kindle Fires and compatible televisions. In addition to free and low-cost shipping rates on physical goods sold by Amazon, Prime membership provides access to a Kindle lending library described below. Customers who purchase a Kindle Fire receive one free month of Prime. For details on Amazon Prime, see Amazon.com/prime.

 

The Kindle Owner’s Lending Library

You also have access to the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, a feature that comes if you choose to keep your Amazon Prime subscription. This is very easy to access:

 

·      Open up your Books library and go to Store

·      On the right-hand side of the screen, select “Kindle Owner’s Lending Library

·      Select a Category

·      Look for books with the Prime logo under them that are proceed at $0.00

·      Tap on the book to select it.

·      Select “Borrow for Free

·      The item will be downloaded to your library.

 

Figure 8: The fiction Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.

 

Books may be returned at any time, but you have to return the book you have before you can borrow another. Go to http://Amazon.com/myk to return a book so that you can borrow another.

 

Finding free content for your ereader isn’t difficult. In fact, you’ll find that there are plenty of sites out there offering free content of one type or another. These sites may offer a variety of different types of content, from video to audio to books. While you’re exploring them, you’ll want to avoid illegal pirate sites.

Recognizing illegal content

When you’re specifically looking for free content, it’s imperative that you understand how illegal sites work and how to recognize them. Copyright infringement can turn into a very big deal for people who commit this crime, whether or not they know they’re doing it at the time. Here are a few of the red flags to watch out for.

 

Current books offered as free PDF downloads

One of the most common ways that people pirate eBooks is to strip the DRM anti-copying protection off of them, then upload them to peer-to-peer networks. If you know a book is currently selling in eBook form, then a free version is unlikely to be legitimate.

 

Amazon and other sites, however, do offer samples of books quite frequently. These usually consist of the cover, the table of contents and a few pages that give you an idea of what the author’s writing style is like. A free chapter is not too uncommon, either.

 

Bundled books

Sometimes, you might run across a compressed file containing a large number of eBooks; sometimes these archives contain hundreds of books. These are almost always pirate files. Be sure not to download them. If you consider for a moment that eBooks usually range around $10 a piece, downloading a file containing 100 pirated eBooks equates to $1,000 worth of piracy. That’s certainly enough to get you in hot water!

 

Legal worries might be only part of the problem with illegitimate content. Sometimes the stuff includes a computer virus or malware.

 

Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe Digital Editions is a software package many folks use to help borrow eBooks from the library. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, you may want to consider doing so now. It allows you to make sure you’re in-line with DRM requirements and it’s free. Without it, some sites will not let you download free content. Here’s how to get it:

 

Visit http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/ and download the installer to get started.

 

After you install the program, it will automatically manage your purchases and your library loans for you. Notice the two buttons on the top left-hand side of the screen in Figure 119. These allow you to switch between Library View and Reading View. If you want to read your downloaded documents right on your computer, you can do so by clicking on the Reading View icon.

 

Figure 2: The Adobe Digital Editions home-screen.

 

When you purchase books from Amazon, you can just go to http://Amazon.com/myk to manage them. When you get books from a public library or from some other sources, however, you’ll have to use Adobe Digital Editions to manage them.

 

Library Books

Library books will show up automatically in this program when you download them from sources other than Amazon.com. One of the handy things that this program does is put up a banner that lets you know how much time you have remaining on the library loan. The other great thing it does is return the book for you.

 

What do you mean ‘Return?’

With an eBook, there’s no physical object that you borrow or return. You’re simply given a license that allows you to read the eBook for however long you check it out. At the end of that licensing term, the content is no longer accessible to you.

 

The book will, however, show up in your Library. If you click on it, you’ll get a dialogue telling you the item is expired. To get it out of your Library:

 

1.  Click the arrow to the left of the title

2. Select “Delete Item

3. The item will be removed from yourLibrary

 


HOW TO READ A BOOK (and more), KINDLE STYLE

 

When most people think of a “Kindle,” they think of an eReader. Before the Fire came along, that’s about all you could do with an eReader—read books. Back then, most eReaders came with a black-and-white display called E-ink. The older models—which are still quite popular—don’t emit any light. The Kindle Fire, however, functions more like a computer monitor—generating its own light of varying colors. The reading experience is quite different, but the Fire functions quite nicely as an eReader. And although there are zillions of Kindle eBooks from which to choose, they’re only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reading on your Kindle

Using Kindle’s Personal Documents Service

If you’re going to use your Kindle frequently as an eReader or productivity tool, taking advantage of Amazon’s Personal Documents Service is a must. Although Amazon’s Kindle books use a proprietary format—you need a Kindle (or a Kindle app) to read them—you can send virtually any kind of digital document to your Kindle using the Personal Documents Service.

 

You can use the Personal Documents Service along with your Send-to-Kindle email address. The email address is usually formatted as follows:

 

[Your Name]@Kindle.com

 

If you’re unsure of your Send-to-Kindle address, you can review it at Amazon’s “Manage Your Kindle” web page, Amazon.com/myk.

 

Before you can actually use the document service, you’ll need to approve the use of the Send-to-Kindle email address. We’ll take care of that right now:

 

1.  Visit Amazon.com/myk and log in

2. On the left hand side of the screen, you’ll see “Personal Document Settings.” Click on that link.

3. Under the pop-up labeled “Add a new approved e-mail address,” enter the desired address and click “Add Address.” The screen is pictured below:

 

Figure 8: Adding an email address to the Personal Document Service list at Amazon’s ‘Manage Your Kindle’ page.

 

Note that the regular email address registered with your Amazon account is already added to the approved list.

 

Briefly: Keeping a lid on @Kindle

Be very selective about what email addresses you add to this “approved” list. The last thing you want on your Kindle is spam. If you have friends with a penchant for forwarding humorous emails, you might not want that on your Kindle either. Instead of giving out your Kindle address—or adding friends’ addresses to your “approved” list, just forward any important documents to your @Kindle address yourself.

 

Now, let’s actually send a document to see how it works. Most text or photo documents work fine. You can attach up to 25 documents to a single email, but their combined size must not exceed 50 megabytes.

 

Attach a document to an email and send it to your Kindle address, address ([Your Name]@Kindle.com). Leave the subject line of the email blank if you wish.

 

You can send the document from any Internet-connected device.

 

After you’ve sent your document, you have two options for storing it. You can archive it on your Kindle (in which case it will be accessible without Wi-Fi) or you can store it in the Cloud. Documents sent to your Kindle appear on your Docs bookshelf.

 

TIP: If your document doesn’t appear on your device promptly, tap the Sync button in your Gear Icon menu. It can take a few minutes for the document to arrive.

 

Converting documents. One of the best features of the Personal Documents Service is that it can automatically convert most common document formats to the Kindle format, called AZW. You don’t have to know the technical details, it just works. Then once the document is on your Kindle, you can use many of the functions available with Kindle documents—you can make annotations, change the font, adjust the text size, and so forth. To convert your documents, enter the word “Convert” in the subject line of the email.

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TIP: Don’t use Personal Documents Service for commercial purposes, such as sending out a commercial newsletter. It’s against Amazon’s terms of service, and that’s why it’s called the Personal Documents Service.

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Using the ‘Send-to-Kindle’ application on your computer

There’s an alternative to the Send-to-Kindle email method that’s even easier to use, especially if you forward many documents from your computer to your Kindle. Free software provided by Amazon, called the “Send-to-Kindle application,” is available for PCs and Macs. You can download it here:

 

Windows PCs: www.amazon.com/sendtokindle/pc

Macintosh: www.amazon.com/sendtokindle/mac

 

When you launch the software for the first time, you’ll be asked for Amazon username and password.

 

The Send-to-Kindle application is quite efficient and easy to use, and it automatically converts documents to the Kindle format. After installing it on your computer, it offers two methods of sending documents. First, using your mouse, right-click on your document as illustrated below. You’ll see a right-click menu with the option to “send to Kindle.”

 

Figure 9: Sending a document to Kindle using the Send-to-Kindle app using Windows.

 

Your second option for sending documents is to use the regular “print” command while viewing your document. But instead of selecting your printer from the menu, you’ll select “Send to Kindle.”

Figure 10: The option to ‘Send to Kindle’ appears as a printing option after installation of the Send-to-Kindle’ app.

 

Send to Kindle will be added as a printer option in office programs and other software that allows printing.

 

Using the Books ‘Library

Yet another cool feature of the Kindle is the potential for borrowing and lending Kindle eBooks. Specifically, you can:

 

·   Borrow books from your local library, when available, or;

·   Lend books to friends and colleagues from your Kindle.

 

Remember the days when you’d loan your printed books to friends, and (depending on the friend) rarely see the book again? Well, a great feature of lending books via your Kindle is that all your books will actually be returned—there’s no way around it. Loans are capped at 14 days by Amazon’s system.

Not all Kindle books are eligible for lending—the publisher has to agree to the program. When you’re shopping for Kindle books nowadays, you’ll see a notation—whether lending is “enabled” or not—in the “Product Details” of the book’s listing on Amazon.

 

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TIP: Remember, you can loan Kindle books to virtually anyone with an email address, regardless of whether they have a Kindle device. Kindle reading apps are available free for practically every type of computer, smartphone, and other digital gadgets.

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Here’s the procedure for lending a Kindle book:

 

1.  Visit the “Manage Your Kindle” page, Amazon.com/myk.

2. Click on the “Actions” button on the right-hand side of the title you wish to lend. In the pop-up menu, select “Loan this title.”

 

Figure 10: Select “Loan this title” to Get to the Next Step.

 

Next you’ll arrive at this screen:

 

Figure 11: Lending Details.

 

Simply complete the form, and your friend will receive the book. It will be returned to your library automatically in 14 days or, if the borrower finishes the book before then, it can be returned early. Remember, while your book is being borrowed, you won’t have access to it on your Kindle.

Unfortunately, you may loan a Kindle book only once—that is Amazon’s current policy. But I would not be surprised if the lending program, which is relatively new, is amended to be more lenient in the future.

 

Borrowing Kindle books from a library. You can also use your Kindle to borrow eBooks from public libraries, as long as the facility offers a digital lending service—and a great many do so nowadays. If you’re unsure whether your local library offers Kindle books, visit http://Search.Overdrive.com. OverDrive is the name of the service libraries use to administer Kindle lending.

 

Compared to the old days, borrowing books from the library is mighty convenient. For one thing, with your Kindle, you don’t have to travel to the library to find and borrow a book. Also, you don’t need to remember to return it. With Kindle editions, the fines for overdue books are a distant memory.

 

Here’s how to borrow a Kindle book from a library:

 

1.  Visit your library’s website.

2. Search for the Kindle book you want. EBooks are usually listed in a separate section than printed books.

3. If the book is available, check it out—or place a hold on the title.

4. You may have to enter your library card number.

5. When prompted for your email address, provide your regular address, not your @Kindle address.

6. If available, you’ll be given an option to Get for Kindle. Select that option.

 

Figure 12: Selecting ‘Get for Kindle’ from a library website.

 

7. You’ll be taken to the Amazon Public Library Loan page

8. Click on the “Deliver to” menu and select “Get library book”

 

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TIP: Due to the anti-copying restrictions used by some publishers, not all Kindle books available through libraries can be transferred wirelessly—sometimes a physical connection with a USB cord is required. But you can obtain software for transferring the books via USB from OverDrive at http://www.overdrive.com/software/omc/.

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Figure13: Note that transferring this title requires a USB cable.

 

If you finish the book before the expiration date, you may return it early via the Manage Your Kindle page.

Like other digital items, Kindle books—including those you borrow—can be added to your “Favorites” by tapping and holding on their icon. This adds a shortcut to the book at the bottom of your Kindle’s home-screen , allowing quick access.

 

Navigating books and documents

Ah, the virtues of the eBook—they’re convenient, easy on the environment, and a lot of fun. But that’s only the beginning. EBooks enable you to combine computing horsepower with your own reading skills, opening vast new horizons for learning and literature appreciation. Let’s explore some of the possibilities.

 

Searching within books

Finding a needle in a haystack is as easy as falling off a log—if you’re using your Kindle. The Search button, represented by the magnifying-glass icon on the right side of the menu shown in below allows you to search for words or phrases. Here’s how to perform a search:

 

1.  Tap the center of the screen to call up the menu.

2. Tap the Magnifying Glass.

3. Use the keyboard to enter your term(s) in the search field on the top of the screen.

4. Tap “Go” on the keyboard or the Magnifying Glass next to the search field.

 

Remember that the search function will find every single instance of the term or phrase you specify. If you search for a common word like “the,” for instance, you’ll get bogged down with a ton of references.

 

The search function is quite handy when you’re using reference books, and it’s smart too. For example, if you were searching for the word “antidisestablishmentarianism,” you needn’t type the whole thing. Just type “antidisest,” and your target will show up.

 

To navigate from the search results to the text location where the word actually occurs, just tap the appropriate display in the search results.


APPS FOR KINDLE FIRE

 

With the potential to download apps created by thousands of Android developers, your Kindle Fire’s horizons are virtually unlimited. We’ve explored the App library previously, and now it’s time to actually look at some of the apps that take the Kindle Fire to another level beyond its out-of-the-box functionality.

 

Although you can obtain apps from many sources, the most convenient and safe option is dealing directly with Amazon’s own App Store. You can access from your device, or from your computer at www.amazon.com/b?node=2350149011.

 

TIP: Never download an app from an unknown source. Untrusted apps can cause technical difficulty and pose a security risk.

Apps for Fun

Plenty of great apps can be loaded onto your Kindle Fire that provide different types of entertainment and to customize the look and feel of your device.

 

XiiaLive Lite

No matter how much great music you have stored on your device or available in the Cloud, occasionally you’d rather hear something fresh and new. Streaming Internet music provides relief. For example, Internet radio stations broadcast online, offering an incredible variety of music in every genre. If you want someone else do the work of selecting the tunes, streaming radio is a great option and that brings us to our first app: XiiaLive Lite. The Lite version is free; a paid upgrade offers more features and no advertising.

 

Figure18: The XiiaLive Lite Interface.

 

XiiaLive Lite allows you to play Internet streams in most formats, and you can open them directly from your browser when you find the web page they’re hosted on.

To find and download this app, search the App Store for “XiiaLive.”

 

TIP: Check the webpages of your local broadcast radio stations to see if they have a stream also.

 

Go Launcher EX

The Kindle Fire interface is, to put it bluntly, a bit plain. But you can customize the look to suit exactly how you use it. Enter Go Launcher EX.

 

You can’t download Go Launcher EX from the Amazon App Store because Amazon hasn’t approved the app. Go Launcher allows you to customize your interface however you want and, because of that, you can set up your Kindle to be an even better productivity and entertainment tool. All of your Amazon libraries and other functions will still be there; but they appear as an application rather than as the default layout for your screen. Even though you might prefer to use your Fire this way, Amazon would prefer that you’re constantly bombarded with offers to purchase new content.

 

Go Launcher’s homepage is http://golauncher.goforandroid.com/.

 

To illustrate how radically you can change Kindle Fire’s interface, see the illustration below. The Go Launcher EX app has a huge number of themes that you can apply. You can see that I’ve added weather, XiiaLive and the Amazon default desktop—shown as “Launcher”—to my desktop for easy access.

 

Figure18: Kindle Fire interface altered with Go Launcher EX.

 

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TIP: Altering the Kindle Fire interface may make things a bit confusing for you at first. It’s best to master all of the default settings from the Amazon interface and then to expand your options as far as looks go, if you prefer.

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The interface on Go Launcher EX is designed for any Android device, so it includes icons related to cellular phones, which you can remove.

 

Angry Birds

You’ve surely heard the name. Angry Birds is a game that allows you to enjoy some classic, addicting arcade-style gaming on your Kindle Fire. It’s free, and you can download it instantly from the Amazon App Store. Kids of all ages enjoy this one, and it can make long road trips more tolerable.

 

TIP: Many apps, Angry Birds included, have a free version that contains advertising, and a paid version without ads. If you really love the free version, it’s hard to resist buying the paid version for a few dollars more. But this free/paid system enables you to sample almost everything without risking a dime.

 

Utilities

Some of the utilities available for the Kindle Fire keep you safe and make it easier to get the most out of it. Here are a few to consider.

 

Kaspersky Tablet Security

Not too many years ago, people using the Macintosh operating system enjoyed bragging that they were free of viruses and malware. Nowadays, this type of scourge is affecting Mac users, too, and Android isn’t immune either.

 

Kaspersky has consistently gotten good reviews for its antivirus products for mobile devices. You’ll have to download it from their website, however.

 

TIP: There are free anti-virus applications on the Amazon App Store and on other sites, so it pays to shop around.

 

Wi-Fi Analyzer Free

The Kindle Fire needs a Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet and, sometimes, you need a bit more information than the Settings panel gives you. This is where Wi-Fi Analyzer Free really shines. It gives you a great deal of information on the wireless networks around you, including a meter that shows you their strength. This makes it a lot easier to find the sweet spots in some buildings where the Wi-Fi might work better than in others. It also allows you to see how many networks are in your area and whether or not yours may be on a channel that is too crowded.

 

Figure19: The Wi-Fi Analyzer Free’s nifty analog meter interface.

 

imo

The imo app allows you to connect to multiple types of instant-messaging services. You won’t have voice chat on it, but you can certainly text chat all you want, making it a great choice for anyone who uses these services for work or pleasure.

 

The imo app is compatible with:

 

·   AIM

·   Facebook Chat

·   Google Talk

·   ICQ

·   Jabber

·   MSN

·   MySpace Chat

·   Skype

·   Yahoo

Sometimes, the best thing about a Kindle Fire is that it lets you get away from your desktop computer and still enjoy everything the Internet has to offer. With imo, you can be sure that you don’t miss any important messages when you get away from your desk for a while!

 

Figure20: Let your friends know you’re on your Kindle Fire!

Productivity

 

QuickOffice

QuickOffice allows you to open and edit documents in the most popular office formats, including Microsoft. It’s a required equipment if you plan on using your Kindle Fire as a productivity tool. Fortunately, it’s right in your App library by default.

 

To use QuickOffice, tap its icon and accept the license agreement. If you want the pro version of this software, you can purchase it from the Amazon App Store. It’s one of the handiest utilities to have on your Kindle Fire.

Figure21: The QuickOffice welcome screen.

 

Evernote

Evernote is an application that allows you to write notes, take picture notes, record audio notes, clip web pages, and much more. If you do research in any capacity—for fun or business—it’s a must. You can share your notes between your devices, so whatever you clip on your PC or Mac will be available on your Kindle Fire.

 

Figure22: The Evernote icon

 

Office Calculator Free

The Office Calculator Free program is a great choice for anyone who wants more advanced capabilities out of their calculator but doesn’t venture into trigonometry or other advanced forms of math. As the name says, if you need an office calculator, this one might be for you. It even keeps a tape of your calculations! The free version has small advertisements at the top of the screen, pictured in Figure 100. The paid version does not.

 

Figure 23: The Office Calculator Free interface.

 

Managing apps

Apps consume storage space on your device. So if you install an app and you don’t like it, remember to uninstall it to free up that space. You don’t want your Kindle stuffed with apps you don’t want.

 

To check your App storage quickly:

1.  Click on the Gear Icon

2. Tap Device

3. Look for “Application Storage”.

 

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TIP: The ratings on apps in the Amazon App Store are a good indication of their quality. Be sure to scan the reviews before investing time or money with an app.

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Free your Kindle

If you want to install apps from locations other than the Amazon App Store, you’ll have to select the appropriate option on your Kindle:

 

1.  Tap your Gear Icon

2. Tap “More

3. Tap “Device

4. Set “Allow Installation of Applications From Unknown Sources” to “On

 

This allows you to install applications from any source that you wish. Remember, however, that applications from sources other than Amazon might not be tested or safe.

 

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TIP: The Google Play Store is the largest marketplace for Android apps. Your Kindle Fire works on the Android operating system but installing apps from Google Play is about as convenient as trying to get water to run uphill. There are other sites you can explore that make it easier. They include:

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·   Only Android, www.onlyandroid.mobihand.com/

·   GetJar, www.getjar.com/.

·   SlideMe, www.slideme.org/.


 

 

 

FEED YOUR READER WITH WEB CONTENT

Using Calibre

Let’s jump right in and download the Calibre application right now. I have been using the program, along with thousands of others, for the past three years. The best things in life are free, and believe me, Calibre is one of them.

 

·   Go to http://calibre-ebook.com/ and select “Download Calibre”

·   Open the downloaded program to install the package once it’s completed

 

On your first run, you’ll get the Welcome Wizard. This is designed to help you set up your libraries and to import your books, as well as to help you select the correct device!

 

The first screen, pictured below, will set your Calibre Library directory. The default choice is a good one.

 

Figure 23: The Calibre Welcome Wizard screen 1

 

On the next screen, you’ll have to choose your device. Obviously, choose Kindle Fire!

 

Figure 25: Select Amazon, Kindle Fire from the list.

 

This sets the program up so that it knows to look for your Kindle when you click the Send to Device icon.

When you have the program installed, launch it, and you’ll see the screen shown below. If you can’t see all the icons across the top of the interface, simply expand the window until they fit.

 

Study the interface for a moment. This program is capable of doing many things; even offering you a way to shop for content across a number of different stores. What we’ll concern ourselves with first, however, is opening up new sources of literature by using the features built into this program that allow you to convert books from other formats into ones that your Amazon Kindle can read.

All the news you can eat, and Calibre picks up the check

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a book nut. But I have an even bigger problem. I’m addicted to newspapers, too. I was a “news junkie” before anyone ever heard of such a thing. Twenty-five years ago, I paid about $75 a month to have three different newspapers dropped at my doorstep every morning—my local paper, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Now, since I discovered Calibre, I’ve been reading six newspapers a day—plus bunch of blogs and magazines like Newsweek and Time—and it doesn’t cost me one red cent. The New York Times. The Washington Post. The New York Post. And, if I still have time, I can read The Onion and a couple others—just to get my humor fix. Your local newspaper is probably available, too. Calibre downloads the content they post on their websites, and sends it, nicely formatted, to your Kindle. The only cost is the few minutes you’ll spend setting it up once, and then it works every day. Here how to get started:

 

1.  Click on “Fetch News” in the Menu.

2. Select your language.

3. Select a news source.

 

In the illustration below, you can see that I’ve selected The Washington Post.

 

Figure 28: Selecting the Washington Post.

 

Note that I’ve opted to have it download automatically every day of the week after 6am. If you were the ultimate news junkie, you could set it to download the Associated Press news wire every 10 minutes. Calibre has hundreds of different news sources available in a huge number of languages, you just click them and enjoy—free.

 

Of course, you have to leave Calibre running so it automatically downloads your news sources. If you have several news sites on your list, it will take a while. Personally, I leave my computer on 24/7, and Calibre is finding news for me constantly, and feeding my Kindle. In the old days, I used to finish my three newspapers and still want more. Now, with Calibre, I don’t have a prayer of skimming everything I’m tempted to read every day.

 

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TIP: In this section, we’re talking about downloading content for free. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s totally above board. We’re not stealing, we’re just using the stuff that publishers are posting to their websites. Calibre simply does the work of formatting it for the Kindle and email it to us.

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After the news site has converted, you’ll be able to transfer it to your Kindle using the same interface that you use to transfer books. One of the best things about the Calibre program is that it’s smart in meaningful ways. The program, for instance, will transfer newspapers to your Newsstand.