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Assorted Tips for Kindle Owners

June 25th, 2016 · 3 min read

In no particular order:

  1. If you’re to get the 3G version, pay attention to the device model. The US version has different wireless coverage from the international one. Check the linked maps before you pay.
  2. Get a good case. Kindles are fragile — I’ve got to send two broken devices (both still in warranty) back to Amazon already.
  3. Sideloading custom dictionaries is easy. Some even use it as an X-Ray alternative to enjoy long novels.
  4. Take a screenshot by tapping on the top right & bottom left corners at the same time. Plug your Kindle in to access the image.
  5. Your notes and highlights in books purchases directly from Amazon will be synced to Your Highlights. For everything else, check the My Clippings.txt file in the documents folder. Be sure to copy it somewhere safe from time to time.
  6. The fastest way to access Amazon’s Content & Devices management page is via amazon.com/myk.
  7. The best place to discuss about Kindle is MobileRead.
  8. If your Kindle happens to come with firmware prior to 5.6.5, you may want to jailbreak it before upgrading to the latest version. Install the following packages for peace of mind & easy restoration later on: KUAL, MRPI, Rescue Pack, Coward’s Rescue Pack, USBNetwork.
  9. To prevent your Kindle from auto updating itself every time Amazon releases a new firmware, install BackDoorLock.
  10. You can use the currently reading book cover as the screensaver by installing ScreenSavers Hack.
  11. Take full advantage of Kindle Personal Documents Service (PDS) to backup your stuff and sync your reading progress across different devices. You can force your Kindle to sync by pressing the Power button and send the device to sleep while it’s connected to the Internet.
  12. Kindle works best with MOBI and AZW3 files. You can install KOReader to add support for other formats like EPUB, CHM, CBZ, DJVU, etc.
  13. Calibre is the best tool to manage your personal library. Ugly as hell, but its feature set is second to none. Personal favorites: (1) ebook conversion, (2) news fetching, and (3) DRM stripping for archival.
  14. If you’re familiar with command line tools, learn about Calibre’s excellent ebook-convert.
  15. Calibre is well-maintained and updated frequently, yet there’s no built-in auto-update mechanism. Set this calibre-installer script to run from time to time and you’re good to go.
  16. Reading PDF on a 6" screen is a pain. You can either (1) switch to Landscape Mode to ease it somewhat, or (2) use the aforementioned KOReader to reflow the text. Another workaround is to have briss automatically trim white margins from your ebook.
  17. Kindle has excellent support for comic reading with pane-by-pane navigation. Use KindleComicConverter to convert your own CBZ/CBR comics to such format. Potential downsides: (1) long processing time and (2) huge output file.
  18. MOBI files don’t support embedded fonts, so you’ve got to use AZW3 to handle ebooks with those. The problem is that AZW3 files can’t be delivered via PDS—you’ve to sideload them via USB and live without syncing reading progress.
  19. Some books aren’t optimized for E Ink devices and come with low-contrast text. Calibre to the rescue: Import the book, remove custom font colors and reconvert it to the original format.
  20. Goodreads integration only works with books directly purchased from Amazon. You may workaround this by editing the embedded ASIN and sideloading the book. Again, this may not work with PDS.