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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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February 2017
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Kindle Touch Hidden Gem

There is one issue with my Kindle that I wish Amazon would make more intuitive.  That issue is deleting books directly from my Kindle.  I understand that there is a lot of room for books on the device itself, but often, people would like to get rid of books that aren’t really serving any purpose anymore.

On my Kindle 2, I just slid the 5 way toggle button to the side and it gave me a menu option to remove a book or game from the e-reader.  I just figured out how to do this randomly when I was maneuvering around on it.

Figuring out how to delete books are little more difficult on the Kindle Touch, but once you know the trick, it is quite easy.  If you have an iPad or iPhone you have to press down the app for a few seconds, and an x will pop up and allow you to close or delete the app.

Using this same idea based on the iPhone delete commands, I pressed down on a book on my Kindle’s Home screen for a few seconds and sure enough, a dialog box popped up giving me an option to delete the book.

So why is this worth mentioning?  Now that you can check out Kindle Books from the library or Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, there are a lot of books coming and going.  When you return a book, the title still shows up in the list, and says “recently returned.”

Frankly, they are annoying, and can really clutter up the device’s library.  They also hide the books you actually need or want.

A friend asked me once how to do this, so I thought I’d pass it along in case you were wondering the same thing.

And don’t worry, even if you delete a book from your Kindle, it remains stored in your account on Amazon.  You can always re download it on any Kindle or Kindle app supported device at any time.

 

 

“Send to Kindle” First Hand Review

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) just released a new software program called Send to Kindle that makes it easier to send most printable documents to both the e-ink Kindles and the Kindle Fire.

I downloaded the new “Send to Kindle” app on to my Kindle Touch with ease using the detailed instructions that Amazon provides and the prompts from my browser.

Right now this program is only available on Windows, but a Mac version is coming soon.  Once downloaded, you can access the application in two ways.  Through Windows Explorer, you can right click on the document and select “Send to Kindle”.  You can also go into a program such as Microsoft Word that supports printing and select “Send to Kindle” from the list of printer options.

To test it out, I sent my resume to my Kindle.  It appeared on my home screen within seconds, and formatted nicely to fit the screen.  Just make sure the Wi-Fi or 3G access is enabled.  Something like this is much more useful for sending documents like articles set up as a PDF that would be easier to read on the Kindle than the computer.  I could have used this during graduate school when all of my classes required reading a lot of PDF articles.

The Send to Kindle program is also great for storing documents and can be used to email the documents to contacts on your pre approved contact list.  Instructions on how to manage your Kindle’s email address are available as a link from the Send to Kindle page.  Just search for send to kindle in the AMazon search box.

Send to Kindle works on all Kindles and devices that support it such as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod.  There’s no mention of Blackberry or even Android yet.

As with all of your other Kindle content, any documents you send to your Kindle is stored in the archives for retrieval from your Amazon account anytime.   Send to Kindle also saves your last page read, bookmarks, and highlights and includes the ability to sync across devices.

With such easy access to portable storage and unlimited cloud storage, there should be no more excuses for losing a document again.  So much for the “the dog ate my homework” excuse.

 

No, The Kindle Fire Line Will Not Get Its Own Siri

Several weeks back, speculation rose about the possibility for Amazon’s following in the footsteps of Apple with a Siri-like product of their own for the Kindle Fire.  Siri, for those who aren’t aware, is a virtual digital assistant for the iPhone.  It allows users to conversationally ask questions and make requests that the software will try to accommodate.  For the most part it does an impressive job and when Siri can’t cope it will come up with a variety of witty or whimsical responses tailored to the user input.

The cause for speculation with regard to Amazon stems from their acquisition of Yap, a voice to text company whose specialty is transcribing voicemail.  While Amazon wasn’t mentioned by name in the acquisition, the company that Yap merged with lists its headquarters at an Amazon building.  There are a few reasons to make a move like this, of course, but it is fairly clear that the idea of copying Apple’s efforts was not one of them.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that Yap is absolutely nothing like Siri.  Yes they both involve accurately pulling information out of the spoken word, but that is as far as it goes.  Siri is an attempt at artificial intelligence that will try to understand user intent by pulling key words and phrases out of what it hears.  Yap’s specialty is simply putting words on “paper”, so to speak, in a cheap and fast manner.  Cloud computing is Amazon’s new big thing, of course, so the fact that Yap does its work mechanically on the cloud servers also fits in well with their philosophy.

What this could be a precursor to is an Kindle Fire type of smartphone.  While Amazon has not yet announced any official plans to add such a device to their growing selection of hardware, it’s a possibility.  The Yap software would be helpful for both its original voicemail applications as well as for voice commands, in this case.  The voice command idea in general would likely go over well on future Kindle Tablets, but since the only mic we’ve seen in a Kindle has been the disabled one inside every Kindle 3 it might actually be a bit surprising.   There is also the chance that this was simply a matter of acquiring Intellectual Property to guard against lawsuits and license to other companies.

Quite possibly my favorite potential use for this would be on demand transcription of audio files.  This would come in handy for practically anybody who regularly needs to deal with presentations or meetings, especially in business environments that require fast turnaround on their reference material.  That might be a long shot, though.

Regardless of how Amazon decides to actually make use of the Yap acquisition, there’s just no chance it will be as a Siri clone.  The Kindle Fire is great at what it does, but it lacks the hardware to make a Siri possible.  Even if that hardware were present, the speech to text component of such a feature would be only a small part of a huge endeavor.  It would be great to have that kind of capability, but it’s overoptimistic for the foreseeable future.

Inkstone Finds A Way To Compensate For Apple’s Anti-Kindle Stance

The iPad and the Kindle have always had a curious love/hate relationship that can be enough to drive many users nuts.  While they were expected to compete for users from the moment they were both on the market, the iPad depended on the Kindle for iOS app to deliver a great reading experience to potential adopters while the Kindle just didn’t even try to offer the same kind of tablet versatility.  The iPad does lots of things quite well, the Kindle does one thing really well, and users of both devices like to read.  Of course it’s at that point of overlap that problems arose.

Amazon was making money, Apple wanted that money for themselves, and now there’s nobody really making much money.  You can’t buy books through the Kindle app, the iBooks app is still not really something most people have any particular desire to adopt, and getting the Kindle Cloud Reader set up requires users to look outside of the Apple App Store.  eBook acquisition is still perfectly doable, but it is a bit more of a hassle and that means some people just won’t bother.

Enter Inkstone Software with what they hope will be the solution to many peoples’ eBook problems.  The company has claimed that this is their way to help out the community that they have benefited so much from.  Their new free iPhone and iPad app, called simply “eBook Search”, will allow users to peruse over 2 million free titles from all around the internet.  Not only that, the app will allow users to select their reading app of choice and will then acquire their books in a compatible format, ending the hassle of maintaining multiple collections in multiple apps or converting hard to find titles to your preferred format.

The attraction of such an application goes beyond convenience in acquisition of out of copyright “classics”.  The developer claims to have allowed for discovery of free eBooks being offered by indie authors, and even popular fan fiction.  They hope that this will allow readers who do not have a sufficient budget to allow for prolific reading in an environment where eBooks cost as much or more than physical books to indulge with less hesitation.

If this is at all up your alley, it is definitely worth checking out.  Not only will you be getting great literature that can be read on your iPad, Kindle, or whatever else you happen to have, but the more people take advantage of these types of offers the better things start looking for the future of eBooks.  If authors are successful in gaining exposure through free eBook offers, more authors will be inclined to try similar campaigns.  If readers are loathe to purchase high priced eBooks in the Kindle Store because they can find equally good titles without spending the money, maybe publishers will start getting the message. If nothing else, the worst that can happen from giving it a chance is the loss of a few moments of your time.

Unique Leather Kindle Covers

leather casesIf you are in the market for a unique, high quality style Kindle 2 or Kindle 3 cover, check out this etsy shop.  The leather covers are handmade and custom designed by Tovicorrie, a small business owned by a couple based in London.

The designs are printed directly onto the cover.  There are some really pretty flower designs, as well as more abstract ones.  So, you have a good variety to choose from based on your taste.  As you can see from the pictures, the case has a snap at the bottom to allow for easy sliding in and out, as well as charging.

The inside of the leather Kindle case is lined with suede to help protect your Kindle from scratches.  The case is also sturdy enough to handle traveling or toting around.  The sturdiness and protection are keys to a long lasting case.

Tovicorrie also has a number of cases available for the iPhone or iPod as well.

AccessTechGeek now a Kindle Blog

accessibility and technology geekI decided to try my hand at publishing my blog on the Kindle Blog platform just to see what happens.  Anyone can submit their blog through Amazon’s Blog Publishing platform as long the blog provides good quality content, and has a niche.

Accessibility and Technology Geek is a disability awareness blog.  I write about how various devices such as the Kindle, iPhone, iPad, etc are being made accessible for people who have vision loss, hearing loss or mobility impairments.  I have friends share their own personal thoughts and experiences so that the blog has a variety of different voices and viewpoints.

The new gadgets, including the Kindle, can be considered assistive technology themselves, and have made great strides in recent years to allow people with disabilities to access them right along with everyone else.  The Kindle includes large font sizes, audio, excellent text to background contrast, and an accessibility plugin for the Kindle for PC application.

One of the reasons why I published AccessTechGeek to Kindle Blogs is to make the blog itself a lot more accessible.  With the Kindle, it can be read anywhere.  Plus, the Kindle fonts can be enlarged pretty big, so it is a easier reading experience.  Sometimes I find that the glare of the computer screen can be really hard on my eyes.  So, reading it on the Kindle can bring some relief.

The blog content is updated daily.  If you just want to give AccessTechGeek a trial run, there is a 14 day free trial for just signing up.

A Hybrid E-Ink and LCD Screen in the Works?

So, one way to stop the e-ink vs. LCD war is to put both of them in one device.  Apparently, Apple (NASDAQ:APPL) has such a device in the works.

This is one of those things I’m going to have to actually see to grasp exactly how this can be done.  Comparing a Kindle e-ink display and an iPhone’s LCD display is like comparing apples to oranges.  They are so different.  They each have different functions and the Kindle is designed just for reading.  Sometimes it is good to escape internet and games, and just read.

From what I understand, the user will be able to switch between the iPhone 4 display and an e-ink display depending on their needs.  So, in theory, you could use the Kindle Application on your iPhone, and it would be more Kindle like than than the current version that is on the iPhone.  If you can use that application, it would still allow you to download and purchase books from the Kindle Store.

So, could this development kill the Kindle if it went into production?  Probably not.  Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) could either make a rival Kindle device, or they can focus on the Kindle software platform and e-book sales.  E-book sales are getting better and better all the time.  Especially with authors writing books exclusively for the e-book platform. Another key factor is cost.  Many people can’t afford an iPad yet.  Even an iPhone costs more than the Kindle does.

More on Apple vs Kindle for iOS devices

So, Apple vs the Amazon Kindle platform.  I brought this topic up a few days ago, I know, but it bears repeating now that representatives from Apple have come out to clarify their position and put an end to the speculation based mainly around the rejection of Sony’s Reader app submission to the Apple app store.

For those who haven’t been following the situation, Apple has apparently decided to start enforcing some of the rules regarding in-app purchasing that they have seemed uninterested in until this point.  As a result of this, Sony was unable to get its iOS Reader app published, and Amazon’s Kindle app, along with all the other eBook readers out there linked to a store, may be in some pretty serious trouble.  Up until now, the way things work has been for the Kindle app to send you to the Amazon.com website whenever you want to pick up something new to read.  It results in convenience for users and neatly bypasses the need to work within the app store infrastructure.  That part, I doubt Apple minds.  What they are objecting to is the fact that these sales, going through the website as they do, fail to make Apple any money.  So, new restrictions. Now, since Apple wants a 30% cut and Amazon is making as little as a 30% cut as it is on many sales (specifically those coming from its self-publishing authors), many people are foreseeing a problem.

Heading off many of the potential solutions that Amazon could have used to address the new restrictions, Apple reps have made clear that there can be no linking to outside stores from inside an app anymore, and definitely no marking up of in-app sales to dissuade their use.  Basically, anything you’re selling to users of your app had better be available through the app so that Apple can get its cut and it must cost the same or less than in any other store you operate.  Not good news for the Kindle platform.

It remains to be seen how Amazon is going to respond to this.  There really seem to be very few options.  The question may come down to a matter of how much of Amazon’s eBook sale numbers comes through Apple devices.  I would imagine it would have to be a large percentage to persuade them to raise prices across the board for eBooks, which is what would have to happen for Apple’s percentage to be accounted for.  But it is also highly unlikely that the numbers could be so low as to make pulling the app completely a viable option.  Simply forgoing their own percentage of the price on a product that many believe is already being sold at cost or below is the least likely scenario of all, in my opinion.  Short of withdrawing the app, it seems like any compromise in favor of Apple will have a negative impact on users of Amazon’s own Kindle owners and that seems like a silly choice to make unless it’s overwhelmingly necessary.

Maybe this is a move intended to bolster Apple’s unimpressive efforts to take over the eBook industry’s distribution network the way they have that of the music industry, but if so then at best this will be an uphill battle that will earn them no small amount of ill will.  With the eReader capabilities of the iPad in particular being a selling point for many people, all Apple may be accomplishing here is diminishing the value of their devices by causing problems with one of the most popular apps they have seen to date.

Kindle Applications

iPhone Kindle Application

Kindle for iPhone or iPod touch gives you about all of the features you can get on a regular Kindle or Kindle DX.  You can download any of the books from the Kindle Store, sync to pages and adjust the font.  Kindle for iPhone or iPod touch uses a backlit screen so you can read your book in the dark if you want to.  The home screen allows you to sort your books by recently added, author, or title.

Additional features include the ability to download the book in the background for IOS 4.0 devices, read free and out of copyright books from Project Gutenberg and other similar sources.  For a more comprehensive list of features go check out the Kindle for iPhone page on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Software requirement: IOS 3.0

To install: Search for Kindle for iPhone in the iTunes App Store on your computer or on your iPhone or iPod touch.  Get the latest version: 2.5.1.

Windows PC Kindle Application

The Windows PC Kindle Application allows you to read your Kindle books on your computer.  It includes full screen color and brightness adjustments, the ability to sync annotations and last page read, and you can search for all books available in the Kindle Store.

Requirements for the Windows PC Kindle Application:

Windows XP Service Pack 2, Vista and 7.

At Least 128 MB of RAM

Screen Resolution of 800 by 600 or greater

500MHz Intel or AMD processor or faster

100MB of disk space

Most PC’s nowadays fill these requirements easily.

To install: Click “Download Now” on the Kindle for PC product page and the installation should begin automatically.  If it doesn’t, Amazon provides you with a page that gives you a link to try installing it again.

Mac Kindle Application

Kindle for MacKindle for the Mac does has most of the same features as Kindle for PC except that the Kindle for the Mac just allows font adjustments.

Requirements for Kindle Mac Application:

A Mac with a 500MHz Intel processor or faster

512 MB of RAM

Leopard or Snow Leopard OS

800 by 600 or greater screen resolution

100MB of Disk Space

To install: You can install directly from the Kindle Mac Application Product Page, or you can install from the Mac App Store.

Blackberry Kindle Application

Kindle for BlackberryThe Blackberry Kindle Application is available for:

Bold 9000 and 9700

Curve 8520 and 8900

Storm 9530 and 9550

Tour 9639

Torch 9800

To install: Sign into your Amazon account and send an email to your Blackberry or download directly from your browser at “amazon.com/kindlebb”.

This is the only app that is available to just U.S. customers.

iPad Kindle Application

The Kindle for iPad Application is the same as the application for the iPhone, but on a larger device.  It also includes Kindle Audio and Video.

Software requirements: iPhone/iPad 3.2 OS software update.

To install: Download Kindle for iPad from the iPad App Store.

Android Kindle Application

Kindle for Android users can share reading progress, read in landscape or portrait mode, zoom in with a double tap and read over 100 magazines and newspapers in addition to the 810,000 books in the Kindle Store.

Software Requirements: Android 1.6 or greater

To install: Search for “kindle” in the Android Market or use your phone’s sensor to capture the Kindle for Android Application barcode on the product page.

Windows Phone 7 Kindle Application

Windows Phone 7The Windows Phone 7 Kindle application has 5 different font sizes and 3 background colors to choose from. You can also email a link to a book you are currently reading or one from your library to a friend.

To install: Download the Windows Phone 7 Kindle application from the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

Social Media and Technology Blogs for Kindle

Mashable is a leading social network news blog that was founded in 2005.  You can get it on the Kindle and Kindle DX for 99 cents a month.  By downloading the site to your Kindle, you can read it anytime with or without the wireless capability.  Just keep in mind that the wireless needs to be on in order for the content to be refreshed.

Peter Cashmore founded the site from a small town in Scotland.  The site includes up to date news on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Web 2.0 trends.  This is a great resources for libraries because libraries are constantly striving to stay on top of the technology curve.  In addition to libraries, this site is popular with entrepreneurs, social media enthusiasts and pretty much anyone who is interested in Web 2.0 trends.

Some recent news topics include the newest iPhone apps.  There is an article about an interesting looking case that makes the iPhone kid friendly.  Another article discusses the ease of using the iPhone to swipe a credit card.  If you are an Android user, there is news for you too.  Of course, you can also find news on the Kindle, Nook and other e-book readers.

Social Media Marketing is a big deal right now, and Mashable is an excellent resource for finding suggestions on how to market yourself on Facebook and Twitter.  Marketing your business on these sites helps get your brand out there and is also a good way to network with people in similar fields of expertise.

Looking beyond social media, another good technology blog to consider is TechCrunch.  TechCrunch was founded in 2005 and profiles start ups, shares the latest technology news and reviews new internet products.  Some of the latest articles include education and e-learning, an interview with the popular movie company, Netflix and thoughts on AT&T’s reaction to the rumored Verizon iPhone.   There is also a section on environmentally friendly technology.

Both Mashable and TechCrunch are rated as top technology blogs.  The reviews for the Kindle edition are great overall.  Reading them on the Kindle makes them much more portable.