8 Ways a Kindle Can Improve Your Life

Reasons why the Kindle just might make reading (and life) a lot better.

My Kindle makes my life better. I’m not being paid to say it by Amazon, I’m not foisting any kind of sponsored content onto you, I simply adore my Kindle. And why? There are the two most often-heard reasons: It’s a library that fits in your pocket (if you have unusually wide pockets) and because it saves all those trees, it’s the green thing to do (well, maybe).

But I’m besotted with my Kindle for eight wholly different reasons and every one of them improves my life in a meaningful way.

1. Strapped For Cash? Then Don’t Pay A Penny.

Content-wise, the Kindle comes with a double-whammy of bargains. Not only are Kindle books usually cheaper than their papery counterparts (especially if you grab the daily deals on Amazon), you can also get hold of a truly whopping amount of free literature both on Amazon and elsewhere. Check out FeedBooks, ManyBooks and the colossal Project Gutenberg for tens of thousands of books, converted to Kindle format and available to download entirely gratis.

2. A Truly Paperless eTicket

Ever received an e-ticket by e-mail and felt a twinge of regret that you have to waste paper printing it out (somewhat defeating the whole purpose)? The Kindle gets around that by displaying your e-ticket on a screen that can be read in direct sunlight. Now that’s just showing off.

3. Take The Internet Offline

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could read web-pages on your ebook reader? Yes, the Kindle has a built-in web-browser, but it’s, well, shall-we-say highly “experimental.” By far, the better option is to use a natty web application called Klip.me that strips all the text from the page you’re looking at on your computer, bundles it up and automatically sends it to your Kindle as a single document. If you’re doing any kind of online research that requires piles of reading, this is the best way to do it.

4. Get A Classical Education

You know all those free books we mentioned up there? Most of them are the books released because the copyright has expired, and most of those are the classics you’ve always wanted to read but never had the chance. Henry James, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie…on and on. Not only are you reading free things, you’re reading free things that will make you smarter – or will at least furnish you with quotes you can flourish at cocktail parties.

5. Lists, With Added Copy and Paste

If you’re dead set on going completely paper-free, your shopping list is the final thorn in your side. Your Kindle is the mother of list holders and you can build those lists on your computer in text files before you send them over, which allows you, for example, to copy and paste entire recipes from your favourite foodie websites. I’ve built up shopping lists based on world cooking themes, each stored on my Kindle and ready to be used on a whim.

(An alternative is using the amazing Evernote for your other mobile devices).

6. The Dog-Eared Ebook?

When you’ve finished a book, you pass it around to your friends and thanks to Lendle or ebookfling, it’s no different on the Kindle. And if you don’t? You delete it. It’s instantly gone, instead of lurking in cupboards for the next decade. It’s a way to keep a minimalist vibe in your home, even if you’re a fanatical bookworm.

7. Please Open Your Kindles At Page One…

If you’ve been a university student, you’ve developed a healthy hatred of textbooks. The problem isn’t what’s in them (that’s usually quite fun), it’s the way you’re forced to buy a number of expensive, hard-to-track-down tomes that threaten to pull your arms out their sockets when you carry them home. Amazon’s answer is an elegant one: rent those textbooks electronically for anything between 30 and 360 days, with the price reduced from R.R.P. accordingly.

Also check out the learning on offer (ebook, audio and video) at Open Culture, Khan Academy and Academic Earth – all available entirely for free.

8. No Delivery Time = No Delivery Charge

Let’s face it, the real thrill of electronic books is that once you’ve bought them you can have them instantly. It worked for digital music downloads, and it’s working for ebooks, too. In a digital world obsessed with instant gratification, anything less is going to struggle.

Images: Peter Hellberguitdragerij, cogdogblog, ManyBooks, tanakawho, rfranklinaz, aaron.bihari and julianlimjl

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.