Unless you write book reviews for a living, it may be not easy to imagine how to use your e-reader in everyday work. An iPad (or any other tablet) would do better, right? But assuming that you write or read anything at work, Kindle is the perfect solution to make it easier and healthier for your eyes. And it’s distraction-free.
Here are some of my ideas how to make amazon’s e-reader really useful.
1. Websites and articles on your Kindle? Read them offline!
Whenever you have to read anything online – an article, blog post etc. – you can send it to your e-reader. There are several tools that do this, along with stripping the page from all ads, sidebars and other irrelevant elements, concentrating just on the content. So instead of having your eyes burned out in front of the monitor, read web articles on your Kindle, just like an ebook.
Here are my top 3 tools:
- Send to Kindle – a bookmarklet, simple and great. Just drag it to your Bookmarks Bar and… that’s it! Whenever you’re on a page you’d like to read on your Kindle – click the button and you’ll get the article via amazon’s Whispernet.
It does pretty much the same, but the tool itself is more advanced. It also has another great feature – it can just strip the website from any irrelevant elements and adjust it to your reading preferences. It’s surely great if you decide to read something from your monitor.
However, if you want to read a website on your Kindle, you’ll have to pay. You can decide how much you want to spend on this ($5/month is minimum) – a part of what you pay goes to writers and publishers.
Even if you’re not willing to pay, I recommend you at least check this app. It looks great, provides both browser plugins and bookmarklets, and it’s free to convert a website to a „readable” format.
Now this is something different. You also get a bookmarklet, but clicking it won’t send an article right away. Instead it’s going to be saved and Instapaper will send you a compilation of all unread articles daily (or weekly). That’s perfect for situations when you find something interesting, but don’t have the time to read it immediately.
Instapaper can also connect to your Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Evernote and even Readability accounts. You can manage your saved articles, mark them as favorites and so on.
2. The obvious – reading documents and reports
If you have any documents in doc/docx format, txt, html etc. there shouldn’t be any problems reading them on your device. You can either upload them via USB or send them via email to your Kindle address.
One thing that Kindle isn’t good at are PDFs. Of course you can read them, but the zooming makes it pretty uncomfortable to read (that is unless you have a Kindle DX). So usually the best method is to read PDFs horizontally.
You can also try to convert a PDF to Kindle format – the easiest way is to send the PDF to your Kindle email and write „convert” in the subject field. There are many tutorials to be found using Google, but I usually find amazon’s way satisfying and most convenient.
The biggest problem is with PDF created from images or containing a lot of pictures. In such cases you may try using tools like PDF Scissors. It’s basically „hard-cutting” one page into pieces, so later such a „half-page” looks bigger on the Kindle screen.
3. Read your RSS feeds
You can easily switch to reading your RSS news on your Kindle – just sign up to Kindlefeeder. You get to subscribe up to 12 feeds in the free version. The disadvantage here is that you have to manually send the feeds from the Kindlefeeder website.
But if you decide to use the paid premium version, you’ll be able to subscribe to an unlimited number of feeds, have them sent automatically and use a few extra features.
Of course not every feed may look good on your Kindle, but I guess that’s what the free version is for – you can check your favorites.
4. Online notepads
There are a lot of tools here, but the general idea is to make notes and access to them with your Kindle. However, it’s best to check as many applications as you can in order to find the one that will suit you best.
One of my favorites is Quicklyst. Probably because LaTeX (which I like very much) is supported. You can also connect a Quicklyst account with your Kindle (and have your notes automatically sent), iPhone or an Android device.
Also Jottit is very friendly, although at first glance it looks just like a simple textarea. But after you sign up, you’ll be able to compare your past edits, set a custom URL etc. Wrttn.me on the other hand allows you to specify your own CSS.
Many of those apps are just supposed to create nice text pages, but they’re also to be used with Kindle, Instapaper etc. It’s only about what and how you prefer.
If you have to proof or edit any texts – why not use Kindle?
Ok, let’s be honest, it’s not THAT good. I prefer to work the old way, with pen and paper. But if I have a lot of documents, I don’t want to read all that on my computer. I use my Kindle instead and just mark the places which could use an edit (usually commenting with a few words).
It’s probably a matter of preference, but I don’t imagine doing all the work with a Kindle – the real editing it still more convenient with a regular PC/Mac and a text processor. But having everything figured out and marked just makes it quicker. The thing is that it’s worth the trouble only when you have a lot of documents to work with (or a few, but very long ones).
But wait, there’s more!
There is a number of nice extra features, like a built in Oxford dictionary. You can check a word while reading any document simply by placing the cursor on it.
You can also browse the web. There’s an experimental browser, which works actually pretty fine. It may not be rocket fast, but it surely usable. Try to combine it with the mentioned online notepads.
Perhaps you’d like to cut off the noise and listen to some music or a podcast? Just plug in your headphones and run Kindle’s MP3 player. Ok, it’s not an iPod, Winamp or anything, but you’re using an e-reader, remember? It may be poor, but it works.
What else can you do?
Well, you can show this post to your boss, so he’ll know that you’re using your Kindle to do your job. Then simply sit back in your chair an enjoy your favorite novel ;)