You may know Kindle (or Kindle Fire, etc.) as Amazon’s tablet computer/advanced e-reader, but if you have been shopping around for apps on another device, like your iPad or smartphone, you may have noticed an option to add a Kindle app as well. The Kindle app plays nice with all types of operating systems, including iOS and Android, but it lets you read your Amazon Kindle books as well.
The app is particularly handy if you are upgrading from a Kindle to a different mobile device but still want access to all your Amazon books or subscriptions, or if you simply want to access Kindle media on other devices. However, the Kindle app features also include several welcome bonuses that are a little harder to find, but well worth the search.
5 Kindle Apps Everyone Should Use
Here are a few of the unexpected ways you can make the Kindle app work for you.
1. Customize … Just About Everything
Thanks to the latest Kindle app features, you can customize pretty much everything about your Kindle app experience throughout all devices. This has been traditionally true of many e-readers, but the Kindle app carries the experience across the mobile world. Is the font size too small for you? Make it bigger. Do those margins feel like wasted white space on the borders of every page? Make them smaller. If that “white space” is a little too light, you can even change the background color.
This feature also allows you to set an automatic adjustment of screen brightness for optimum reading conditions. This is a major bonus because reading on a tablet computer can grow uncomfortable when a screen is too bright, especially in the dark. Lowering the brightness automatically will also help you save that valuable battery life without constantly worrying about it. So take some time with the settings when using the Kindle app – you’ll be glad that you did.
2. Use the X-Ray Feature
It has been a couple of years since the Kindle app got the benefit of Amazon’s “X-Ray” service, but many people still don’t know that it exists or how it works. Essentially, if you see the X-Ray button, you can click it and view several topics that change based on the page that you are currently reading. You can review key names, terms, and people that the page mentions. X-Ray will tell you where the person was last mentioned, what the term means, or provide a similar type of information.
This is useful for two reasons. First, if you are returning to a book you have not read or are tackling a large book with a lot of characters (Game of Thrones books are a common example), X-Ray can help you find your place and keep all the plot points or people straight when they would otherwise just be confusing. Second, if you are using the app to study a textbook or conduct text analysis, X-Ray can help you learn terms or compare different sections.
3. Read Emailed Documents
The Kindle has long been compatible with alternative, emailed documents, and the Kindle App carries on this tradition thanks to Amazon’s cloud services. With the Kindle app you get a special email address. Send common document formats like PDFs to this email, and they will automatically become readable through the app, saving you a lot of switching between devices.
4. Make Notes
Kindle app features makes it easy to make notes when reading, something that not all reading apps offer. You can highlight a section and type in a quick note on the go, which makes it easy to add you own comments, put in reminders, or highlight digital textbooks sections for class.
5. Sync Your Reading Materials
It sounds like a good idea to use the same reading app across multiple devices, so you could start reading a book on a tablet, switch to your phone during a lunch break, then pick up on an e-reader when you get home. However, the obvious problem is that each app hovers at a different spot in the book (magazine, digital newspaper, etc.), depending on where you left off. The Kindle app solves this problem through an Internet connection and something Amazon calls “Whispersync.” As long as you can bring each device online, the app will always know the last page you were reading at.
There are dozens of great Kindle app features that make reading more enjoyable, and the people at Amazon continue to work toward making it even better.