Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Kindle Review

I was blessed to receive an Amazon Kindle for my birthday this year. Of course, I immediately looked for Bibles to put on it. You can read my earlier post about several free Bibles available for the Kindle.

But I also wanted to be able to read facsimiles of historical English Bibles on it as well. The Tyndale 1526 New Testament at Bibles of the Past works pretty well. It is a bit smaller than the original size. The Kindle displays PDFs with no conversion necessary. One simply has to attach a USB cable, then drag them from the PC folder over to the Kindle documents folder.

Larger Bibles are much harder to read, of course. There are several options to help. One option is to zoom in on the PDF. Pressing the Aa key brings up a menu - at the top of this menu are the options "fit-to-screen 150% 200% 300% actual size." I chose "actual size" and was able to read the Geneva Bible clearly. One has to use the 5-way key to scroll around the page. This would get tedious for long term usage. But usually I only want to look up a verse or two on the run somewhere. You know - those conversations where somebody asks "Didn't the Geneva Bible say it differently in that passage?"

Another option is to change the screen rotation. Normal reading is done in the portrait mode. To change the screen rotation, press Aa and choose the desired setting at the bottom of the menu. This makes it larger and more readable. There is no need to scroll around - the page forward and back keys will move up and down the page.

Another option is to get a larger Kindle. The Amazon Kindle DX has a larger screen: a 9.7" diagonal compared to the 6" of the regular Kindle. The reason I didn't get the larger one is the price. The DX costs $379 vs $139 for the Kindle 3. However the larger reading area still has me considering an upgrade.

Reading regular text Bibles is much easier. Using the Aa key, one can quickly choose a larger font. At the largest setting the word "because" was 2 inches long and about 3/8 inch high. The Kindle saves your place and lets you make bookmarks as well. I'm using the Kindle to read through the Bible this year.

There are many free books available for the Kindle. Some of my favorite places to find them are (of course). To help find the latest free books on Amazon, try the blog Books on the Knob (warning: some books listed there are offensive). A great resource with hundreds of books in all categories is Project Gutenberg. Thomas Nelson publishers has a special project called BookSneeze. They give you free print books or e-books in return for you posting a review on your blog and at least one commercial site. And don't forget Bibles of the Past for facsimile PDFs of historical English Bibles.

There is an excellent program called Calibre. It handles converting books from other formats into .mobi format for the Kindle. It also has a great feature that allows you to create a e-book of news articles from online news sources. I use it to grab the news in the morning and read at work later on.

It probably is obvious - I love to read. I still read many books in paper - and prefer paper for reference works. But I am also reading a great many older, out of print books on the Kindle that I wouldn't have access to otherwise. It is handy to carry Bibles with me for reading when I get stuck in a line with time to kill. If I was to do much reading of historical English Bible PDFs I would want something bigger. I am very pleased with the Kindle and am reading even more than I did before I got it.

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