Showing posts with label Kindle Fire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kindle Fire. Show all posts

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Three Best Ways to Read Kindle Books

The three best ways to read Kindle books. Information and review from a long-time Kindle owner.
The author with her short-stack of Kindle readers and Fire tablets.

Most people who know me are aware of my Kindle obsession. I've had an Amazon Kindle e-reader since shortly after they first were introduced to the market in 2007 and I currently own a stack of Kindle readers and Fire tablets.

Back in 2007 it was easy to decide which Kindle to buy; there was just one model and it cost $399. But things have changed and now, with multiple models of both readers and tablets that go by the name "Kindle," it can be hard to determine which is best for you.

Maybe I can help. Let's review the various choices to determine the three best ways to read Kindle books. Hopefully this information will help you choose the device that will serve your needs the best.

The Best Way to Read Kindle Books: The Kindle Reader


In my opinion, the very best way to read a Kindle book is to use a dedicated Kindle reading device, i.e. a reader that is designed specifically for people who simply love to read books. The original 2007 e-reader, almost 10 years later, has evolved into four different models that range in price from around $80 to nearly $300. That's a huge difference in price, so it's important to understand the features of each model.

The goal of Amazon is to provide a screen that makes your brain believe you're reading a "real," paper page. Through the years, the clarity of the printed page, the resolution of the screen, and the available fonts and font sizes have improved greatly and, indeed, the screen really does mimic a high-quality paper page with its gray-scale e-ink. The size of the page itself is the same for each of the models too, six inches, a comfortable size to hold and similar to a "real" paperback book. Another feature of all the Kindle e-readers is that the pages are glare-free, again just like a real book.

The differences come in when we look at the additional features. The most obvious difference is that the screen of the bottom-of-the-line Kindle is not lit, which means that, just as with a paperback book, you can't read in the dark unless you have a separate light source. If you read with a lamp nearby or in the daylight, then there's not a problem. But if you like to read in bed or in a low-light environment, you definitely will appreciate the LED lighting that is built into the next three models. The Paperwhite has four easily-adjustable LEDs that work great in a range from very dim to somewhat bright. The Kindle Voyage has six LED lights with adaptive light sensors and the Kindle Oasis even tops that with 10 LEDs that automatically adjust the lighting to stay consistent if you move from one area to another.

Another feature that is important to me is the weight of the device. While a couple of ounces doesn't sound like much, it is much more comfortable on the hands and wrists to manipulate a lighter-weight reader. The weight really comes into count when we talk about the second best way to read Kindle books, the Amazon Fire tablets.

Second Best: Amazon Fire Tablets


Tablets are all the rage these days. The price point has dropped tremendously the last couple of years as the features and apps seem to multiple exponentially almost daily. While the dedicated Kindle reader is perfect for reading e-books that look like "real" books, Amazon's line of Fire tablets arrive ablaze with bright colors and populated with cool apps that many of us have come to depend on in our daily lives.

Since our topic today is reading books, I'll leave it up to you to explore all the apps and other features (movies, music, games, camera, etc.) available for as little as $50 (price subject to change) starting with the 7-inch Fire. If you have a smart phone you're probably familiar with how many of these features work. In fact, if you have an up-to-date smart phone that you're comfortable with and just want to add a comfortable reading capability, then I'd suggest sticking to your phone and moving on down to my third best choice for the reading app.

While we're here, though, let's talk about why you might actually want a Fire tablet for both reading and entertainment. The answer in a word is "color." If you like having colorful children's books at your fingertips, or perhaps you like comics or other heavily-illustrated books where color really does count, one of the seven, eight, or even the 10-inch Fire tablets might be a great choice for you.

I talked a lot above about the quality of the screen for reading on the Kindle Reader and mentioned the LED lighting capability of all but the low-end model. Perhaps the best part of that reading quality is that it's easy to read in any light source without glare. When we get to smart phones and tablets, we're talking about a totally different type of light which, most definitely does glare. Likely you've tried to take a picture in bright light and had a difficult (or impossible) time seeing what's on the view finder screen.  Or maybe you've tried to navigate a GPS program in bright light where, again, it's difficult to see. The bright LCD display on tablets and phones may be beautiful, and the Fire tablets have outstanding, high-definition displays, but glare definitely can be a problem. If you're reading indoors, no problem. Reading at the beach? While the function and screen layout of the "books" section on the Fire is excellent, you might wish you had a Kindle reader if you're simply in the mood for reading a good book.

Third Best: Free Kindle Reading Apps 


Keep in mind that third best doesn't mean "awful." In fact, the quality of the reading apps that Amazon supplies absolutely free to anyone, on most any device that you already own (PC, laptop, MAC, phone, tablet, etc.) is quite good. And the best part (did I mention this already?) is that the app is free. In other words, if you're looking for a totally free way to read Kindle books, the Amazon app on a device (or more than one) of your choosing is an excellent solution.

Now, don't misunderstand, this is a free way to read a book, not a way to get e-books for free. While plenty of Kindle books are available for free, where to find those is a topic for another day. For now, let me explain how to get the free app. It's easy as one, two, three:

  1. Go to the Free Kindle Reading Apps link in the Kindle store. (Full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, but I'm sending you there for the free stuff.)
  2. Fill in the box with your email or mobile number, depending on where you want the app delivered. Click "send link."
  3. Follow the directions in the email that you'll receive almost instantly to download the executable file. Run the file and watch for the reading app to appear on your screen. All of the books you've already acquired for Kindle will be accessible from the app (as will the Kindle store). Simply access and download whichever book(s) you want to read.



In Summary


First, if you have a phone, laptop, or other device that you love, and if your budget is low, go with the free reading app to read books you already have without spending any money.

Second, if you want one device that includes just about any form of entertainment you can imagine, and especially if you want to watch movies or read books in color, decide whether the 7-inch, 8-inch, or 10-inch tablet best suits your fancy (and the size of your pocket or purse). Budget plays a role here, of course. Don't skip the 7-inch tablet because it's "cheap." I have one, use it every day for apps, and it's absolutely awesome. The only place "cheap" comes into play is in the price.

Third, if you truly love reading traditional books, indoors or outdoors, and you either already have a phone with apps or you don't really care about those, then I recommend choosing the best-equipped stand-alone Kindle reader that you can afford. I use my amazing Paperwhite because it has the lighted screen, but if I had a bigger budget I would buy the top-of-the-line Kindle Oasis. I love that it's thin and lightweight and that the cover (included) automatically boosts the device's battery power.

Clearly, after all these years I still love Amazon's e-book reading gadgets and recommend any of these devices and the app without reservation.

There are a few other Kindle features that I didn't have time to discuss. The links highlighted above provide comparison charts to make it easy for you to find detailed specifications. Then if you still have questions about which is the best way for you to read Kindle books, I'll do my best to answer your questions in the comment section below.

Happy e-reading!

~Susan
Read more of my reviews.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Kindle Fire HD8 Reviewed

To Think It Began As Just An E-Reader

kindle
Kindle Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com
Doing a review of the Kindle Fire HD has been done, I know. It is not exactly new to the market, I know that, too. The thing is, Amazon just keeps making it better as they go along.

Way back in 2009, I got my very first Kindle. It was the second generation of the e-reader that had taken the world by storm. I loved that little thing! At the time, it was state of the art and quite dependable. Of course, the only thing you could do was download books and read them but it was pretty danged awesome for many of us avid readers. 

Those original Kindles were limited when we look back. One could only download books sold by Amazon but there sure were plenty to choose from. There was no color options, just good old fashioned black text (unless you played with the options for a different color of text). 

After a few years, I did switch to a Nook. There was the ability to have color images and you could, if you knew what you were doing, download books from other sources besides Barnes and Noble. I have to admit, I wore that one out. I had re-charged it so much that the little piece that slipped into the port snapped off. 

By that time, I had a tablet and I could just download the app for both Barnes and Noble and Amazon and read to my heart's content from either site. The bonus was the tablet could surf the internet and all that great stuff. So, when the Nook crossed over the digital rainbow bridge; I saw no reason to replace it. That is until the on and off switch went wonky. Suffice it to say, I do use my devices a lot. They rarely sit idle on any given day.

So, what does a girl do when she finds that she needs a new device to continue to be able to read her books along with just about any other task she wants to do? This girl, took another look at Kindle. This girls is also extremely happy with her choice!

I knew that the Kindle had grown in leaps and bounds from that one I had 8 years ago but I had no idea just how much. I knew there were options of just getting an e-reader but after having had the tablet and its capabilities, I knew a Kindle Fire was my best option. I quickly discarded the option of the HD7 which just means the size of the screen. I thought that might be a little too small for me. I also knew that I did not need an HD10 because it would probably be bigger than I wanted. So, the 8 inch was my choice. I do love the size!

The big surprise was that with this latest generation, Alexa is built in. I have toyed with the idea of getting an Echo but just felt like it was something that was not really necessary. I have had so much fun playing with the Alexa feature on this tablet! Now, it is limited from the perspective that it is not always on waiting for a command. Actually, I like that better. In order to operate the function, I have to hold my finger on the Home button for a second and it comes on. Then, I just say, "Alexa", and whatever command I want. I like the privacy of it all. I also like that it is set-up so that without my personal code, no one can accidentally or on purpose order something that I did not authorize.

The battery life before it needs to be charged is really good. The HD quality of graphics and images is superb, at least a much better quality than on my old tablet. The speakers are good, I wouldn't say that they are superb but better than adequate for my needs.

I was also pleased at the pricing! Way back in 2009 we paid around $400 for my first Kindle. Now, with the specials that are easily found, I paid less than $100. Obviously, the price is something that changes often but right now, they are offering some great deals!

So, if you are looking at replacing your current tablet or gifting someone with one; I highly recommend considering one of the Kindle Fire HD's. I honestly think that you will not be even slightly disappointed. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Friday, December 2, 2016

The Night Before Christmas Book Review

The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collin is a very cute vision of the beloved poem illustrated with bears instead of people.
The Night Before Christmas is a classic children's Christmas book that we all know and love! 

The poem, Twas the Night Before Christmas, is often one of the first poems a child memorizes.  Children quickly embrace the poem's meter without realizing they are being exposed to a true art form.  It has such a lyrical cadence that it could almost be sung instead of recited.   Most parents have it memorized so well that they are rarely actually reading when they select that book for the bedtime story.

Every home with a child has at least one copy of this wonderful holiday book and some of us have several copies.  It is fun to compare the different illustrations!  Actually, the pictures are every bit as important as the story itself. 


History of "Twas the Night Before Christmas"

 The Night Before Christmas - 1963
It may surprise you to know that the author of the poem is contested.  

The story was originally named A Visit from St. Nicholas and published anonymously in 1823, but claimed four years later by Clement Clarke Moore.  The validity of that claim has been disputed.  

The family of Henry Livingston, Jr. maintains that he was the actual author.  Henry Livingston, Jr. was in fact a distant relative of Clement Moore's wife.   

In my opinion, that dispute casts a bit of a shadow over this wonderful poem.  It is so very sad when someone tries to steal another's work.  Obviously, 200 years after the fact, we can't know for sure which is the thief.  

It is just a real shame that a story with such impact for centuries cannot be unequivocally attributed to the proper author.


Review of the Visual Art


 The Night Before Christmas
by Rose Collins
The classic illustrations are colorful and magical.  We can almost feel the warmth of the fireplace, the cold of the snow and the see the twinkle in Santa's eye.  They beautifully reflect the words of the poem.

I was recently given a copy of "The Night Before Christmas" by Rose Collins.  I discovered an illustrated version that evokes nostalgic feelings in parents, but has a whole new appeal for children.  Instead of people, this version features bears.   Santa Claus is still human, but he visits a family of bears on Christmas Eve.

This digital book appeals to me personally because I love teddy bears!  Of course, I still love the original illustrations, but this is a really cute way to embrace yesteryear while giving it a touch of current day fun.

Rose Collins also makes a few changes in the words to current day language.  For instance, instead of "the children were nestled, all snug in their beds", she writes "the children were sleeping all snug in their beds".  I also emitted a wee giggle when I noted that she renamed Donner, Donna, which is obviously current day influence as well.

http://amzn.to/2gvyps8
A Page from the Kindle Book, The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collins


Reading Books with Illustrations Digitally


For several years, I have enjoyed reading books on my Kindle Paperwhite.  However, I have often lamented that I wish I could see the images in color, especially when reviewing children's books or viewing cookbooks.  So often, those images really do make a huge difference.  I asked my fellow contributor, Susan Deppner, our resident electronics guru, if she had a solution for that.  Boy, did she ever!  

I quickly hopped over to her comparison review of the different Kindles and knew in just a few moments that I needed the Kindle Fire! 

You, too, can read Susan's excellent comparison of the digital readers by clicking this link.  It is a must read when selecting a new Kindle.


I will continue to read my novels on my Kindle Paperwhite, but I have to tell you.  I do love my new Kindle Fire that shows images in color.

The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collin is a very cute vision of the beloved poem illustrated with bears instead of people.
A photo of my own Kindle Fire opened to a page of "The Night Before Christmas" by Rose Collins

Encourage Your Child to Read with Their Own Kindle Fire





The Night Before Christmas Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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