A tale in the life: the Enhanced Reading Experience

A tale in the life: the Enhanced Reading Experience

I got good response to a post I did a while ago (suggested by Denise, one of my readers) in which I described A Day in the Life of a Kindleer

The goal was to give people some idea of the functions of a Kindle besides just reading on it.

I deliberately didn’t get too technical on that one.

I was thinking it might be good to use a post to put some of the reading functions in context.  That can help people remember. 

So, here we go…the Enhanced Reading Experience (ERE…I just made that up…it sounds sort of literary).  😉

Oh, and I’m describing a Kindle 3, the latest model. 


I wake up the Kindle by holding the power switch on the bottom edge to my right as I face the screen for about a second, then releasing it.

(You can tell if the Kindle is asleep or turned off because it will have a “screensaver” ((a sleep mode picture)) on the screen if it is asleep, and it will be blank if it is turned off.  Amazon says it is generally better to let it sleep than to turn it off)

The Kindle wakes up very quickly.  I see my homescreen with the list of books on my Kindle, with my Current collection at the top.  It’s already selected with a thick underline, so I just click (by pushing the middle of my 5-way navigation device).  The Current Collection line turns black for a split second, then the entire screens turns black for an even shorter time, then the Collection opens. 

(I usually go to Home when I finish reading.  You don’t really have to do that…I’m just being overly cautious, in case the Kindle resets and forgets where I was in the book.  If I hadn’t done that, the last page I was reading would be displayed on the screen when I woke it up.  The Current Collection is just what I named a Collection I created.  Games, subscription items, and files that you put in the Audible folder will also appear on the homescreen.  Music you put into the Music folder will not)

With the Current Collection open, the book I was last reading is highlighted.  It also shows me the second line of information about it (below the title).  I can see the name of the Collection above the list of books, and above that, a count of the number of items and the sort order.  That’s the book I want, so I click.  The line turns black, and then the entire page is very briefly black.  The page opens.  At the top of the page, I can see the title of the book, my wireless status, and how charged my battery is.  At the bottom, it tells me what percentage I am into the book, what locations are displayed on this page, and how many locations there are altogether).

(My wi-fi status is off…I usually leave it off to conserve battery.  If the Kindle needs it to be turned on for something, it will ask me to do it.  If I send a personal document wirelessly to my Kindle, or just want to pick up my daily blogs, I turn it on by doing Menu-Turn Wireless On.  I try to charge the battery in the middle half…not in the first quarter, not in the last.  I have my Kindle sorted by Collections, which puts my books into their Collections, but also by Most Recent)

The text size is a little large.  I was reading it last right before bed, when I was a bit tired.  Increasing the text size makes it easier to read.  I hit the Aa button and select a smaller size with the 5-way.  As I make the selection, I can see a preview of what size it will be.  I get to a comfortable size and click.

(The Kindle 3 has eight text sizes.  The largest is very large.  There are people who read on the smallest size and there are people who read on the largest size). 

I read until the bottom of the “page” and hit the Next Page button (with “>” on it).The screen inverts the color for a very short time (it looks like it has a black background).  The next page is displayed.  The information at the top of the screen goes away to give me more reading space.  I can hit Menu to bring it back…and to see what time it is.

(I tend to push the next page button with my thumb.  I’m ambidextrous, and might use either hand when I’m reading, and push either Next Page button.  I tend to read one-handed).

I see a word and I want a definition of that word.  I use my 5-way to get in front of it, and the definition appears at the bottom of the screen.  The definition is a bit small for me to read, so I hit the Enter button.  I’m taken to the definition in the dictionary.  I’ll see all the detail…it’s not unusual for it to have more than a page of information.

(I don’t use the dictionary very much, but it does happen.  You can either go from the top or the bottom of the “page”.  If you approach the word from the bottom, the short definition pop up will be at the top of the screen instead of the bottom).

I like to keep track of which words I’ve looked up in the dictionary, so I bookmark the page.  I use Alt+B.

(You can also click Menu-Add a Bookmark.  When you come back to the dictionary, you can do Menu-View My Notes & Marks to review the words you’ve looked up before)

To get back to where I was reading, I hit the Back  button (under the 5-way).

(You can hit the Back button more than once…sort of like Undo in a Microsoft Office document…it will keep going back, one step at a time.)

I see a name (first and last).  I recognize the name, but I want some more information.  I click in front of the first name and move past the last name.  I don’t click, but I hit the spacebar.  The highlighted name appears at the bottom of the screen in a box.  I click down to where it thinks I want to save a note, then click right until I get to Wikipedia.  I click on Wikipedia.  Since my wireless is off, it asks me to turn it on.  I click to do so.  The Wikipedia page for that name opens (it may take around ten seconds).  The writing is too small for me to read comfortably.  I hit the Aa button and choose a higher zoom percentage.  I read the information.  If I want to save the page, I do Menu-Bookmark This Page.  I hit Back to return to where I was reading.  I do Menu-Turn Off Wireless.

I read some more. 

I find I quotation I like (I collect quotations).  I click in front of the first word of the quotation, use the 5-way to get to the end of the quotation, and click again.  The quotation is now highlighted with an underline.

(Not only will I see that highlighting again if I re-read the book, I can see all of the ones I have in a book by doing Menu-View My Notes & Marks.  I’ll see the highlighted section, and be able to jump to that.  Annotations Backup is turned on by default…that means that Amazon backs up my highlightings for me.  If I download the book to a different device on the account, I’ll still have my notes.  It also means my notes are contributing to Popular Highlights.   To turn that off, go to Home-Menu-Settings)

I’m not sure I’ll remember who said the quotation years later, so I add a note.  My 5-way is already at the end of the quotation: I just use the keyboard to type the character’s name.  A box appears at the bottom: I select “save note”.  A note indicator appears at the spot.

(Now that I’ve added that note, I can do Menu-View My Notes & Marks, and see it.  The notes and the highlighting appear in order…when I have that note spot selected, I can see my note at the bottom of my screen…letting me identify the speaker of the quotation.  I also had the option to “Save & Share”.  If I’d done that, a pointer to the quotation could be posted to Twitter or to Facebook, if I’ve set up those options in Home-Menu-Settings.  I can share a note later by doing Control+Enter ((I’d be prompted at the bottom of the screen)).  These notes and highlightings, if they were made on Kindle store items, are also at http://kindle.amazon.com , at least after you’ve synced with Amazon.  They can be copied and pasted from there  There is a limit as to how much you can clip ((which will send it to that Kindle.Amazon site)).  When you’ve reached the clipping limit ((you clip the same way you highlight)), the highlights will still appear in the book…but won’t appear at Kindle.Amazon or in MyClippings.txt in your Kindle’s Documents folder.  The clipping limit is set by the publisher…five to ten percent is common, but it can be between zero and 100 percent)

I decide I want some music while I’m reading.  That might be especially true with non-fiction for me.  I do Alt+spacebar to start the music.  If I don’t like that track, I do Alt+F to jump to the next song.

(Background music should be put into your Kindle’s Music folder)

I run across a reference to something earlier in the book.  I highlight the reference and hit space.  That note box opens at the bottom of the screen…I click right to select Find.  I get a list of references in the book, with the earliest reference first.  I see a bit of context.  If I’m good with that, I hit back to get back to the book.  If I’m not, I can click on a reference to go there.

(If I want to see a reference to that same thing in other items on my Kindle, I can select to search “my items”.  If I think I might want to buy a book about it, I can choose to search the store)

If this is a non-fiction book, I might want to know if there is a reference to a particular topic anywhere in the book.  If it’s fiction, I might want to see if a particular character appears.  I can do Menu-Search This Book. 

I have to get in the car to go on an errand.  I don’t want to stop reading, though.  I connect my Kindle to my car’s sound system.  I start the text-to-speech with Shift+Sym.  If I need to pause it while I’m driving (if I have to pay the parking attendant, for example), I hit the spacebar to pause it.  It starts reading where I was in the book, and “turns the pages” so I’ll be able to sight-read where it leaves off.  I put the Kindle to sleep before I start driving (by holding the power button to my right for a second and releasing)…the Kindle will keep reading while it is asleep.  That makes it use less of the battery charge.  When I’m done listening, I wake up the Kindle again and hit Home.  That stops text-to-speech and returns me to the homescreen.

(Many people don’t like the text-to-speech, but I listen to it for hours a week.  When the text-to-speech is running, you can hit Aa to adjust the speed and choose a voice.  There are six options…three speeds and two voices.  There are several ways to run  your Kindle through your car’s sound system.  You can use an FM transmitter if you don’t have an Aux jack…if you do, you just need a 3.5mm male to male cable.  Anything that says it is okay for an iPod is okay for the Kindle.  Plug the cable/transmitter into the headphone jack on the bottom of your Kindle.  There is also a volume rocker switch there)

I get to where I’m going and continue sight-reading.  When I’m done, I hit the Home button.  I slide my power button to the right for a second to put the Kindle to sleep.


I hope that’s helpful.  🙂  I think those are the main functions I use.  I haven’t listed everything or every way to do things I did list.  If you do other things while you are reading on your Kindle, it would help other people if you left a comment.  I didn’t address subscription items, like blogs or magazines…they work a bit differently.  If you have a different model of Kindle and want to know the equivalent method, feel free to ask.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

5 Responses to “A tale in the life: the Enhanced Reading Experience”

  1. Pamela R Says:

    I learned a few things Thank You

  2. Tim M Says:

    I started reading this post, figuring I knew it all but that it might be a useful forward to my in-laws, for whom we bought a Kindle as a gift. Well, it might be useful for them, but I learned things too.

    In particular – I’ve been (re-)reading some British cozy mysteries, generally set early in the 20th century. The dictionary is useful, but I also run into allusions to then-contemporary people and events that I’d like to know more about – sometimes they’re key to the whole mystery. The ability to Wikipedia lookup will be great for that.

    While I’m at it, I’m also finding http://www.measuringworth.com/ppoweruk/
    useful for “converting” money. It’s all very well for folks to gasp when someone wins 750 UK pounds on a racehorse in 1910… but it’s more interesting to see that the purchasing power would be 300,000 UK pounds (half a million US$) today.

    Thanks, Bufo!

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tim!

      I’m glad you found that helpful. 🙂

      Yes, I agree…I read a lot of early 20th/19th Century literature, and there are things they assume everybody knows. It’s a bit like doing Shakespeare…you aren’t always going to get the jokes. 🙂

  3. A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2013 | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] A tale in the life: the Enhanced Reading Experience […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: