he speed with which e-books have moved from the preserve of tech nerds to the mainstream has been impressive to behold. In large part this is down to publishing giants championing affordable e-book readers such as Amazon’s Kindle.
The chances are that if you’re an iPad devotee you’ll have skipped the e-reader. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the world of Kindle altogether. Kindle offers an impressively pared-down reading experience, allowing you to submerge yourself with no distractions. Books are lightning-fast to download through the Amazon store, and best of all, many out-of-copyright books are free, so there’s no excuse for not finally reading Crime and Punishment and the complete works of F Scott Fitzgerald.
The app syncs across all your devices over Amazon’s Whispernet network, which means you can open a Kindle e-book on, for example, an iPad exactly where you left off on your iPhone or Kindle device.
Device: iPhone/iPad/iPod touch
Time required: 10 minutes to set up. Then hours of glorious reading
What you need
iOS 3.2 or later
Kindle app (Free)
Step 1: Screen bars
While the iPad’s backlit screen is great for standard browsing, over long periods of time the glare can leave you feeling a little bug-eyed. Tapping the ‘Aa’ icon allows you to adjust the screen brightness and font size to make the reading experience more comfortable. Choosing sepia paper can cut down on glare.
Step 2: Nip out to the shops
After a lengthy spat between Apple and Amazon, the latter had to remove any links to its bookstore from the Kindle app, forcing the user to duck out of it and on to the Amazon website to buy books. This feels very strange if you’re used to the Kindle device’s near-instantaneous purchasing.
Step 3: Shelf interest
The titles you’ve bought or read most recently are stored in your Home library; there are separate libraries available for books, newspapers and periodicals, and documents. Tapping the ‘list’ view in the bottom-left corner shows your documents as lists, with a graphic showing how much of each you’ve read.
Step 4: In the clouds
Titles you’ve finished or haven’t looked at in a while are archived in the cloud; tap Archive to see a list of these. Press an e-book to download it to your Home screen, ready for you to read; you’ll need to be connected to Wi-Fi or 3G to do this. Press Author to toggle between organising your books by author or by title.
Step 5: What's up doc?
Kindle is excellent for ploughing through reports. Upload documents by emailing them to Kindle as attachments. In Amazon, go to Your Account > Manage Your Kindle > Personal Document Settings and add the address you’ll be emailing from. Then email attachments to the address shown on your Docs Home page.
Step 6: Tweak the settings
Tap the ‘i’ icon in the bottom right-hand corner to reach your Settings. This is where you can sign into your Twitter or Facebook accounts, allowing you to share passages. While the Popular Highlights feature can be useful, showing you what other users have highlighted, it can also be distracting.