December 3, 2020

Kindle Counsel?

By Chaplain Mike

Last week I received a thoughtful, unexpected gift — a Kindle reader!

I haven’t done too much yet — read the quick-start guide, downloaded a couple of books, browsed through them a little bit, transferred previous purchases that I had read on my iPod Touch. The Kindle won’t replace my books, but will be a supplementary and complementary way of reading for me. I’m especially looking forward to having it on my upcoming sabbatical in October and on other travels. It will be handy to carry around with me as I work.

Today, I turn to you, our faithful iMonk community, for counsel, advice, tips, etc., about using this new device. Those of you who have a Kindle…

  • What do you love about it?
  • Is there anything that disappoints you, or that makes it difficult for you to use?
  • What is one thing you would tell a new user that would help reading on the Kindle a good experience?
  • Are there any “must have” accessories? (I have a great cover for it already.)

I look forward to receiving your input.


  1. Anything out of copyright is often free!

  2. Did you actually say, “complementary”? 🙂

  3. What do you love about it?
    I can carry thousands of books around with me in my purse! And there is tons of public domain stuff available totally free! I also love being able to buy a new book anywhere I happen to be!

    Is there anything that disappoints you, or that makes it difficult for you to use?
    The magazine selection is crap. There are a few big, national newspapers available and a couple of other mags, but nothing that I ever read. After getting spoiled with the touch screen on my phone, it took some getting used to because you have to use actual buttons!

    What is one thing you would tell a new user that would help reading on the Kindle a good experience?
    Keep up with They have tons of deals and free books.

    Are there any “must have” accessories? (I have a great cover for it already.)
    Does your cover have a built in booklight? I LOVE the booklight on mine! I can’t think of any other needed accessories.

  4. I love my kindle. The best part about it is the ability to change font size, word spacing, and line spacing (all covered in the tutorial). These adjustments actually make it easier to read a Kindle than an actual book. I also subscribe to my favorite newspaper on my Kindle for $11 a month. But if you read a Newspaper or magazine on the Kindle it opens up to the first article and not the Front Page or table of contents.

    The ESV Study Bible is excellently formatted on Kindle but the Lutheran Study Bible is quite cumbersome on the Kindle.

    The trick with the public domain books is don’t buy the free edition, by the $2 or $3 ones. The free editions don’t have table of contents which means you have to turn page by page to get anywhere in the book. The cheap (but not free) ones often include a table of contents which will help you navigate the book more freely. Anytime you are looking to buy a public domain book, read the comments in the store. They will often alert you to formatting problems (like no table of contents).

    If you have the official Kindle covers, it’s sometime easier to read the Kindle without the cover because of how light the Kindle is on its own.

    While the battery “last for a month”, that’s assuming you don’t leave it in stand by mode and don’t connect to the wifi/3G, and you don’t do a lot of downloading. You can really save on battery power if you actually turn off the Kindle when done (pull the switch and hold till you see the light flash 3 times). Otherwise you’ll need to charge it ever 10-15 days.

    That’s all the advice I can think of right now.

    • Oh yea, and Kindle books are always WAY cheaper than print. So books you’re iffy about buying, you can always get the Kindle edition for cheap.

      • They started out “always WAY cheaper”… this is no longer true, and much more hit and miss. I’ve seen some kindle books that are actually more expensive than the paperback version.

        I don’t know for sure about the Kindle3, but even the nicely-formatted ESVSB is cumbersome to navigate on the Kindle2. It is great for sequential reading, but for anything you want to move around in easily (Bible, prayerbook, any book with lots of foot/endnotes you intend to read), you’re better off with a physical book for now unless that book is sufficiently large/expensive in comparison (I’m looking at you, ESVSB).

        I’m still not sure what I think about the Kindle’s note-taking abilities… this is another thing I think physical books are possibly better for. Notes are tied to “locations”, so if the book gets updated or removed, you may still have your notes, but they aren’t tied to the text any more. This hopefully doesn’t happen too often, but it is still somewhat troubling.

  5. I love my kindle. Its great for carrying around. There’s a blog you can subscribe to for .99 a month called Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips that lists free books available although you have to be quick to grab the ones you want because the window of time to get them can be very short. I’ve gotten some great books not in the public domain that way from publishers who want to boost the Kindle Sales Rank on a book. In the 8 months I’ve had the Kindle I must have downloaded 40 free books from this blog. The first two weeks are free. Also, not all kindle books are cheaper or much cheaper. I’ve found this particularly true of some theology books which I’d probably rather have in print anyway. If you like fiction, there are zillions of independently published works in every conceivable genre ranging from free to 3.99. Your kindle can play audio books and mp3s and has a very basic web browser. Beware the impulse factor though. That can be scary.

  6. I have a ton of computers, and nothing, and I mean nothing can replace my kindle (even the iPad, which I love).

    I like it for a number of reasons, the two biggest are that like others have stated I can carry a ton of books with me, and the second is the dictionary look up on the page I’m reading. So when a theologian uses a word I’ve never heard before (and boy are there a lot of those), I cursor to the word and get an instant definition…. SWEET!!!

    Also and this is really sweet, I read fiction novels in the evening (helps my brain shutdown, and you gotta have some fun), and a bunch of research and philosophy books. I can jump from book to book, or device to device because the kindle app keeps track of my last location. Very very useful.

    The only drawback to electronic books, is that when I’m done with them I can’t share. But when I’m researching I have a kindle app for every device (mac, macbook pro, kindle, even my android phone) so I can look something whenever I need. The other problem is that there are many books that are not converted, especially in the theology area. It’s getting better, but it can be painful at times.

    I actually dread buying physical books anymore, and will look for any version of an electronic one.

    I don’t use anything other than the cover with the light, that’s the only accessory I need (and I think it should just be part of the standard kindle).

    Great Product.



  7. I’m a huge fan of digital books. I use Kindle software on a Kindle, iPhone and iPad, as well as my Mac. I’m in a Masters in Business program and love the ability to carry around my entire reading list in one device. Amazon also makes it really easy to keep all my bookmarks, highlighted text and annotations in sync across devices. When it is time to write a paper, I can go to the Mac app and have all my notes in one place. I can also do word searches and find specific quotes. The Kindle digital book system has really improved my studies.

    I do most of my heavy-duty school reading on the iPad as it is much easier to highlight and make annotations (I really dislike the Kindle’s keyboard and selection tools). However, I really like reading on the Kindle’s digital ink screen. The Kindle seems to work best best when I’m doing casual reading and don’t have to worry about highlighting.

    Lendle ( is a great way to lend books you’ve purchased with others and, in doing so, earn credits to “borrow” books from other people. Amazon hasn’t really done a great job on licensing for lending, but I feel like I get more bang for my buck when I buy one book, read it, then share it to earn credits to borrow other books.

    The other “must have” item in my opinion is a waterproof bag for reading at the pool, beach, lake, or even in the tub/shower. I love reading near water, but I’m always worried that it will damage my electronic devices. With a case like the TrendyDigital waterproof case (, I don’t have to worry about water damage. I’ve bought one of these cases for all my family & friends who have Kindles.

    Enjoy your new toy!



    • You can also just use larger Ziploc bags. I use two of them to make sure that water doesn’t get through the one and wreck my Kindle.

  8. I have a Kindle and I love it. I can honestly say there are many books I’ve read on it that I never would have read without it. It simply makes the whole process of getting books so easy. The one drawback to me is the lack of real page numbers. This makes it hard to discuss specific portions of books with other people in the context of reviews or discussions. I also find that for book the have endnotes the process of going to the notes from the body of the book is pretty tedious. I guess those two things are why I still buy hard copies of most theological works I read. But for other reading, it’s awesome. I’ve taken mine on flights with me, and I love that I can have a whole selection of different books to choose from at any given time.

    As far as specific accessories, the only one I have is the leather case with the built-in LED night light. I didn’t think I would us the light all that much, but I actually have found it to be useful.

    One thing to keep an eye out for is Amazon routinely runs specials on newer books. I’ve been able to get some new works for very cheap – $0.99 to $5.00.

  9. A great feature of the Kindle is the ability to access your books from multiple devices. I can move seamlessly from my phone to my desktop computer to my Kindle to my iPad and always have my books with me. I also like that I can make notes as I read and share them instantly via Facebook or Twitter through the Amazon site. It adds a social media element to reading which can be nice.

    The big bummer is the inability to share texts with others. I cannot simply hand the book overt someone else who might be able to benefit from it.

  10. You did not mention which version of the Kindle you now own – 3G or WiFi only. In either case you may want to learn how to use the web browser* and bookmark which is a great site formatted for the Kindle. It will provide you with “Driving, Walking, Bicycling Directions”.

    * There are 2 ways to use the web browser when your wireless is on (press the Menu key to check the top item):

    1) From the home screen just begin typing in any URL. It will appear on the bottom as you type. Once it is typed in just press the cursor keep right until you see “go to” and press enter.

    2) Press Menu, choose Experimental, choose Launch Browser. The first time you will see a list of pre-loaded URLs. Press Menu to choose options.

  11. I like 7 dragons Notepad for keeping things like my prescriptions and needed lists.
    Get in the habit of classifying your books and putting them under headings so your homepage is clean and the same. I keep two translations and of course the dictionaries on the opening page. That is a very neat feature. I have theology, health, novels, and Kindle tools and games on separate sub pages.

    The scrabble game I bought gets desperate when I am winning and it cheats shamefully.

    Enjoy a great tool, I predict you will buy far more than you ever thought.

  12. [What do you love about it?] I love the free and low price book deals. I love that my “bedside table” is not stacked high…

    [Is there anything that disappoints you, or that makes it difficult for you to use?] My first Kindle broke. My son was sitting in a chair “reading” and it slid off his lap. It fell less than 18 inches and the screen was shot. Be careful with it. Watch your battery life. I ended up at a car dealership with a check engine light that was on and a Kindle that was not. :o(

    [What is one thing you would tell a new user that would help reading on the Kindle a good experience?] Have a book budget. That one touch ordering of books that a respected blog writer reviewed, liked and now you just have to have? Dangerous stuff…

    Are there any “must have” accessories? (I have a great cover for it already.) Agree with the commenter who said a light.

  13. I might make one addition to the great offerings thus far. And that would be that highlighting/bookmarking feature on the Kindle is fantastic. It provides an easy way to find those things you have read and that you may want to refer back to. And, if you upload your Kindle clippings file (My Clippings.txt) to you can have it automatically sorted and converted to Word, Excel or PDF. This is really invaluable if you plan to use any of your highlights as citations for whatever reason.

    The only drawback that I’ve noticed is that the lettering on the keypad of the 3G model tends to wear off fairly quickly. My ‘menu’, ‘home’ and ‘back’ keys look like they are smudged.

    You are sure to enjoy your Kindle expansively!


  14. I was prepared not to like it at all – and discovered that I loved it. I’m “carrying around” about 20 books on it right now. My wife loves it even more – less shelf space eneded.

  15. Project Gutenberg (and others like it) – The Kindle can be loaded with anything that’s a .mobi or .prc file. They have in excess of 30,000 public domain books, including many classics that I’ve been working my way through.

    Amazon frequently has free books – you just need to check the web site regularly, browse by categories and then sort them in ascending price order to see what’s new in your chosen category.

  16. Sadly, I have not yet added this wonderour devise to my reading life. BUT, since my dil got one last Christmas, she has shared with me that the waterproof cover is excellent for those of us who like to read (A) in the bathtub and (B) at any sort of beach or poolside.

    She adds that it is great for general protection during transport, but she is also a mommy to very young kids and carries things like juice packs and hand sanitizer with her at all times. You may not have these sort of “leakables” in your bag or briefcase..


    Great link for free books…

    Love to preach from mine…it is covered in the tutorial…I have to type the text in 24 font so the PDF is the right size…Kindle is cheap, books are less pricey…and very portable.

    Down side–The cheapest is a small screen..should have gotten the DX but I am cheap.

  18. 1. What do you love about it?

    I’ve been with the Kindle since the very first one… and I have to say that the screen has always been a draw. Since I do a lot of computer operation, I get to stare at a screen almost 16 hours plus a day if you include my usual computer activities. The eyes get a break and I don’t like to read on an iPad. For reading straight through, it’s awesome. Having the keyboard to search with is good. I use the web browser more than I thought I would.

    2. Is there anything that disappoints you, or that makes it difficult for you to use?

    I don’t like the PDF conversion for the most part. They say it has improved, but… I’m not convinced that it has considering I prefer still version 1. It’s the one drawback to an otherwise great platform. Unless of course, someone can suggest something beyond the stock converter or Calibre?

    3. What is one thing you would tell a new user that would help reading on the Kindle a good experience?

    I’d say that if you’re expecting to be able to read reference works, you’ll be most sorely disappointed unless you buy the kindle version. See number 2.

    4. Are there any “must have” accessories? (I have a great cover for it already.)

    I’m not much of an accessory guy, so I’ll let others take this one.

  19. I love my Kindle, too. I bo’t the more expensive version so that I can download books when overseas in places where it might be difficult to download if you only had one way to do it.

    I have the NIV on my Kindle and it’s great for straight reading, but if you are using it to follow a sermon and multiple verses are quoted, I can’t maneuver my Kindle fast enough to keep up. Still love my Bible that I can mark up and write in margins in and turn down corners of the pages to write one word reminders. But in Muslim countries I leave my marked up Bible at home and just carry the Kindle as Muslims believe it is disrespectful to write in a Holy book.

    Love the tips from others. I have written them down to try. Thanks!

    Enjoy your gift.

  20. Love, love, LOVE my Kindle! I have nearly 450 items on it and most of them are free.
    I also love that I can download PDF files onto my Kindle. Yesterday I did some studying for a Foundations of Law final (for court reporting school) by downloading a document to my Kindle and reading it while my son was at the dentist.

    Disadvantage? I don’t like using the Bible on my Kindle when I’m trying to follow a sermon. By the time I click on book of Bible, chapter, verse, the preacher’s onto another subject!

    Another good site for free Kindle stuff is

  21. I like mine. It is great to take on trips. I have a couple of Bible translations on it and use it mostly for fun reading: novels mostly. When Grisham’s newest comes out next month it will go on the Kindle right next to the one he did last year. Now and then a publisher will put a book on Kindle for free and I’ll get it then I might or might not get the hard copy. So I enjoy using it, but mostly find that I still love “real” books. Enjoy you Kindle.

  22. Margaret Catherine says

    On the subject of breakage – if you drop your Kindle from shoulder-height or less (reading height), you can send it in for a replacement, free shipping even. Not happy to have found that out, but very happy with the policy.

  23. Dan Crawford says

    Received one for my retirement last year. Still addicted to reading with a pen, and I still haven’t used the Kindle for what I wanted to use it which was those periods of interminable waiting at a doctor’s office. The first book I downloaded was Michael’s Mere Churchianity.

  24. My wife and I are both huge fans. One other thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet is that you can send web pages to it for later reading. I find it much easier to read a long essay on my Kindle than I do on my computer screen. It also is an easy way to save a long article for later.

    If I come across a long article that I want to read, I use, and it delivers it to my Kindle. It creates a bookmark in my browser, so when I’m on a page, I just click on the bookmark, and it formats the page and sends it to my Kindle. I’ve done it for many an iMonk article.

  25. Love it. Can change font size, high-light passages I might want to refer to, portability, many free downloads that are available, plus many of the above.

  26. Most thing already got covered. I even learned a few things for the use of mine. One thing I use a lot, that I haven’t seen mentioned here is this site:
    No need use any of the converters mentioned by others to get your highlights. Log on there and all of your highlights and all the popular highlights from all of your books are right there. I use it to get quotes for teaching, preaching, etc. Just cut and paste. I have even found quotes that I remembered form a book, but failed to highlight, because it was popular.

    The one thing I have found the kindle useless for it reference books. If you are looking at a book that you would want to thumb through quickly for a particular section, it is very difficult.

  27. Isaac Rehberg (the poster occasionally still known as Obed) says

    If you’re a fan of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, the publisher Baen has a large library of free eBooks. Often their authors will put the first couple of books in a series in their free library. Others will do it for other promotional reasons.

    • Isaac Rehberg (the poster occasionally still known as Obed) says

      Oh, and if you need an .epub of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, you can get it for free from Just look for their site on the 1928 BCP and it’ll be there for download.

  28. No offense….but if I don’t like staring at a computer screen all day, staring at a kindle is not something that I want to do. Right now I prefer hard books. At this rate society will be making Milton’s by the bus load!!

    “excuse me but I think you have my kindle….?” 😛

    • Actually, I think that’s the one great thing the Kindle has going for it. It really doesn’t feel like you’re looking at a computer screen at all. The e-ink does look an awful lot like paper. It’s kind feels like reading a smaller paperback book.

  29. I don’t like that Kindle has physical push-buttons. I’ve had push-buttons fail on too many devices for me to want to get any device with them on it anymore. Not keyboards or cellphones, but on stereos and such, the buttons go too often, too fast, and I don’t expect Kindle’s keyboard to last any longer.

  30. Hey Pete,

    Thanks for the recommendation of the Kindle highlights page.

    What I don’t find there, that I do on the site I mentioned, is the listing of either location numbers or page numbers for the highlghts/bookmarks which I need for citations. If I’ve missed those, please let me know.


    • When you press the menu button while reading it will show the location and (if the book has it) the page number. Most books from established publishers have the page feature except for some books that are very old or so I’ve observed. If you click on a footnote number it will take you to that footnote/endnote and then the back button takes you back. I really like the ease of flipping back and forth between notes.