Traveling With Your Kindle
If you like to read and travel then you know the dilemma of trying to pack light and still have enough books to read during your trip. The Amazon Kindle, an electronic book reader, solves this problem. It is one small thing to pack but it holds all the books you need for your trip - novels, newspapers, magazines, travel guides - and you can purchase more things to read while traveling.
Your Kindle is linked to your online Amazon account - purchase Kindle books directly from your Kindle or purchase online and send them to your Kindle. Or download books to your computer and then put them on your Kindle. The Kindle communicates with the Internet via available Wi-Fi or the 3G cell phone network. You do NOT pay for the 3G connection (i.e. you do not have to have a cell phone account). Read more below about how the Amazon Kindle works.
Take Your Kindle to Europe
Load your Kindle up with books before your trip or buy books while traveling. All you need is a plug adapter so you can plug it in to charge.
The new Kindles released September 2010 are perfect for travel to Europe. The Kindle Wi-Fi ($139) connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi and the Kindle 3G ($189) connects by Wi-Fi or the 3G network. Using Wi-Fi there are no "roaming" fees when downloading books, magazine and newspapers to your Kindle when outside the US. On 3G you pay a small weekly fee for downloading newspapers and magazines, but you can avoid this by downloading via Wi-Fi. This makes it easy to get your subscriptions when traveling, or to purchase new books.
We each bought the first Kindle as soon as it was available (December 2007) and have upgraded to the new version. We both do most of our reading on the Kindles and always take them with us when traveling.
The early versions of the Kindle worked only in the US. Any Kindle purchased after 2009 works internationally. If you have one of these older versions, you can still travel with it. Read more below about traveling with the older Kindle.
Charging the Kindle in Europe
The Kindle works on North American or European voltage for charging. You do not need a converter. The plugs for both the Kindle 1 and 2 say 100 - 240V meaning that they work on North American and European voltages. You need an adapter for the plug so that it will plug into a European wall socket (varies by country).
Beware of Hidden Charges When Traveling!
When using the Kindle on Wi-Fi, there are no extra charges when downloading books and subscriptions from outside the US. But, if using the 3G network, there may be extra charges for downloading. Amazon frequently changes their policy on this, so check their website. Currently Amazon charges $4.99 per week if downloading newspaper or magazine subscriptions via the 3G network from outside the US, but there is no charge for downloading books.
The Kindle is an electronic book reader available only from Amazon. It communicates with the internet via your Wi-Fi internet connection or via the 3G cell phone network. You do NOT pay for the 3G connection (i.e. you do not have to have a cell phone account).
The Kindle was introduced in December 2007. A new slimmer version was released a year later. These early versions were available to purchase in the US only and could communicate with the Internet only in the US. In mid-2009 the new Global 3G Wireless version, which worked in many countries (US, Canada, most of Europe), was released. And in September 2010 a newer, smaller version that works on Wi-Fi or on 3G + Wi-Fi was released.
Purchase Kindle books on Amazon.com from your computer or straight from your Kindle. Books purchased download to your Kindle within a minute or two. If purchasing on your computer, you tell Amazon which Kindle to download the book to (if you have more than one). Books usually cost $9.99 for new releases (some are higher), $6.99 for older books.
A nice feature from Amazon is that you can download books samples (usually the first chapter) for free. Read the sample then decide if you want to purchase it.
Every morning I turn on my Kindle and that day's New York Times is downloaded.
The Kindle holds a lot of books (I have hundreds on mine and have not used up the space) and your books are also stored up on Amazon. If you lost your Kindle, you could download everything again. Or if you filled up your Kindle, you could delete some knowing they are on your Amazon account and could be downloaded again. You can also store the books on your computer.
The Kindle is associated with your Amazon account. If you purchase a second Kindle on the same account, you can download a purchased book to all your Kindles (this works for up to five Kindles). You cannot share newspaper or magazine subscriptions like this.
When I purchase a book Steve can choose to download it to his Kindle (and vice-versa). Since you cannot share newspaper and magazine subscriptions Steve and I both subscribe to the New York Times.
Amazon owns MobiPocket which has a lot of free books (older, out of copyright books) - MobiPocket Free Books. Download these books to your computer, attach your Kindle to your computer and copy the files to your Kindle.
I downloaded many books from MobiPocket and put them on my Kindle so I will always have something to read.
Putting PDF and Word Documents on the Kindle
The Kindle reads PDF files, Word documents and HTML format. Copy them to your Kindle from your computer or email them to your Kindle (there is a small charge for this - read more on the Amazon site).
I purchased a book in PDF format from lulu.com, emailed it to my Kindle email address (you set this up when you get your Kindle) and the PDF appeared on my Kindle in a few minutes. When preparing for a trip, I create Word documents with information I want to take with me and put them on my Kindle.
It is very comfortable reading a book on the Kindle. The screen is designed to be easy on the eyes. You can bookmark multiple pages, make notes, save a page to a clippings folder and search the book for words or phrases. The Kindle remembers where you were in a book, even if reading several at once.
I find it very comfortable to read books on the Kindle. Since I got my Kindle I have read only a few physical books - all my reading is done on the Kindle. I used to be a book collector. I bought my favorite authors in hardcover and have a good library. But, I read a lot and go through a lot of books (many junky detective novels). With the Kindle I no longer have to box up my used books and haul them to the library or used book store.
The book files have a .AZW extension and are not large since they are text with no graphics. Book files range from 274kb to 1,009kb (1,009kb is about 1mb). One issue of the NY Times is 1mb.
Some books (usually older ones) come in a .AZW1 format which is a larger file size (2 - 5mb) and does not look as good as regular Kindle books.
I checked the book that I have in .AZW1 format (an older Peter Lovesey - The Summons) and the page is not as nicely formatted as on the other books. It almost looks like a scanned page.
If you travel outside the United States the older Kindles cannot connect to Amazon via Wi-Fi or the 3G network, so you can only purchase new books or get newspaper and magazine subscriptions onto your Kindle via a computer with an Internet connection.
- If traveling without a computer, purchase books and load them onto your Kindle before you leave. You will not receive any newspaper or magazine subscriptions direct to your Kindle while traveling.
- If you have access to a computer while traveling, download purchases and subscriptions from Amazon to your computer and then move to your Kindle via the USB cable (more details below).
Downloading from Amazon to Your Computer to Your Kindle
All the books and periodicals you purchase are stored online in your Amazon account. From your Amazon account you can choose to download a book to your Kindle or to your computer. If you download to your computer, a .tpz file is saved (you specify where to put the file). When you connect your Kindle to your computer via the USB cable, the Kindle is seen as an external hard drive on your computer. Drag the book files from your computer to the Kindle. You can also do this with newspaper and magazine subscriptions.