I have to be honest: I was a long-time hater of the e-reader movement. I thought that there was never a chance that I would give up the feeling of a good ol’ fashioned book in my hand in favor of yet another electronic device. But then I finally decided to try out a Kindle, and now I am such a big fan of it that I tell literally everyone I know to get one.
I decided to make the switch back when I was actually commuting to work on public transportation (which feels like a lifetime ago now) because I figured it would be much easier to throw a small Kindle in my bag than lug around a big book. And although I might not be doing a regular commute anymore, I do still love how small and easy to carry my Kindle is. I find myself throwing it in my bag wherever I go, just in case I have some downtime and can get a few pages in. It even fits in my belt bag, so now I’ve started to bring it on walks with me so that I can stop for a while to just relax and read.
I’ve heard countless people say that a Kindle has made them fall in love with reading again, and I can definitely say the same. I think it has to do with how easy it is—I mean, you can literally have any book in the world right at your fingertips in an instant. It’s also amazing for travel, because instead of trying to decide how many books to pack (and maybe regretting not bringing another), you just have to pack one small, lightweight thing that can provide you with endless options.
Another major perk (that may seem silly, but frequent readers will understand) is how easy it is to read in bed. If you’ve ever tried to read in bed in any position other than sitting up with two hands on a book, you will know how valuable this is. With a Kindle, you only need one hand, so feel free to lay on your side, your stomach, or however else you feel most comfortable. This also applies to when you’re trying to read while laying out in the sun. The Kindle is also backlit (with adjustable settings), so you don’t need to have any sort of lamp or reading light on at night.
Many of our editors are absolutely obsessed with our Kindles, so we figured it was finally time to share everything we’ve learned to make the most of your Kindle experience. Here are five Kindle hacks you should know about:
1. Connect to your library card with the Libby app
In my opinion, this is the #1 best thing about owning a Kindle. If you have a library card, you can download an app called Libby by Overdrive, which allows you to check out e-books (just as you would check out a real book from a library) and send them directly to your Kindle. It’s insanely easy and a great way to get the most bang for your buck as a Kindle owner. And if you don’t have a library card yet, many cities offer e-library cards that you can easily sign up for online. Your library will provide you with a number, which you then enter into your Libby app.
I will warn you that just as there are limited copies of a book in a brick-and-mortar library, there are also limited copies of e-books in e-libraries. Because of that, sometimes you will end up on semi-long waiting lists for popular books—but they often become available sooner than expected, so it’s never been a deal breaker for me.
2. Try out Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading
When you first purchase a Kindle, you get a free trial of Kindle Unlimited, which is $9.99 per month when the trial ends. I used it during my free trial and liked it but decided to cancel it after the trial ended. However, I just decided to renew my subscription. Although it doesn’t have every book you might search for, it does have a ton of books to choose from, including some popular titles. If you are an avid reader who is open to a wide variety of books, I would recommend Kindle Unlimited.
And if you already have an Amazon Prime account, you can read some e-books for free with Prime Reading. You can access these books by navigating to the Kindle Store in your Amazon app and then selecting Prime Reading at the top. And just so everyone knows, the entire Harry Potter series is available to read for free with Prime Reading!
3. Use Goodreads on your Kindle
I’ve recently become a huge fan of the Goodreads app. I love that you can set challenges for yourself, read reviews from fellow bookworms, and track all of the books you’ve read and want to read. The Goodreads experience is great on its own, but it’s even better when you connect your account to your Kindle.
There is a Goodreads tab at the top of your Kindle homepage, where you can access everything you see in the app: your lists, reviews, recommendations, and friends. And if you go to your “Want to Read” list, you can download those books directly from the Kindle store. It will also show this list directly on your homepage as your “Reading List.”
4. Explore free and super cheap book options
Outside of Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading, you can also find books on Amazon that are completely free or under five dollars through a quick Amazon search. Typing in “free Kindle books” turns up a ton of results. You can also filter “Kindle Book Deals” in the Kindle Store, which will give you lots of popular titles for super affordable prices (like the entire Bridgerton series for $4 per book).
You can also find free books through a wide variety of websites on the internet. If you simply search “free Kindle books” on Google, you’ll get a ton of results on different platforms where you can find free books. Some of the most popular are Book Bub, ManyBooks, and Project Gutenberg, which aims to make classic novels accessible to everyone by providing free e-books online.
5. Lend books to other people
If you’ve purchased an e-book yourself, you can lend that book to family and friends through Amazon. But this only works for books that you’ve actually bought and now own, not ones that you’ve borrowed for free.
Here’s how to lend a book:
- Go to “Manage Content and Devices” in the settings section of your Amazon app
- Find the book you want to loan and open up the actions menu
- Select “Loan this title” and enter the recipient’s email address, then select send
- They will get an email notification where they can download the book to their device
- They get to keep it for 14 days, then it is returned to you
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