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How to Use Your Amazon Kindle

written by: Shawn S. Lealos•edited by: William Springer•updated: 7/28/2011

The Amazon Kindle is one of the easiest to use E-Readers on the market and once you understand all the features, you can find, buy and read a new book in the snap of a finger. Here is a list of the features as well as a tutorial on how to set up the Kindle to work for you.

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    The Amazon Kindle offers owners the chance to carry their entire library of books on one single device, with plenty of storage space remaining on’s servers to keep extra books if you somehow start to run low on space. The Amazon Kindle works together with to offer readers millions of books at a fraction of the cost you would pay at the book store for hard copies and allows you to instantly download your books no matter when or where you happen to be. Of course, for all this to remain possible, the owner of a new Amazon Kindle needs to understand the basic concept of how does a Kindle work?

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    Understanding the controls on the Kindle

    The front of the Amazon Kindle features a keyboard, menu button, back button and a five-way controller at the bottom of the unit. On each side of the screen are buttons for turning the pages as well as one to take you to the HOME page. On the upper right hand side of the device is volume controls and the power switch is on the top of the unit, along with a headphone jack.

    kindle The first thing you need to do after the Amazon Kindle is fully charged is to turn the device on. All it takes to accomplish this is to slide the power switch over and release it. This also works to switch the Kindle to sleep mode. To turn off the Amazon Kindle, slide the switch over and hold it until the screen goes blank.

    The volume control is used for audio books, background music and books that allow text-to-speech. The page turning buttons are simple as well. One button flips your book to the next page while the other takes you back to the previous page. The move forward button is on both sides of the device while the page back button is only on the left side. The HOME button takes you out of your book and to the Kindle’s home screen.

    The MENU button takes you to the Kindle’s Menu options while the back button takes you back to the previous page on the menu screen. The 5-way controller is what you use to scroll through the options in the menu. The keyboard can be used to enter text when needed. The keyboard also includes a symbol key for items not on the keyboard, such as dollar signs and more. There is also a text key on the keyboard which changes the size of text on your Amazon Kindle.

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    Buying a Book

    There are a couple of options when wanting to buy a book to read on your Amazon Kindle. The first is to visit and head to the Kindle eBooks store. Search through the books and, when you find the book you want to buy, purchase it here. To do this, you have to have an account.

    To set up an account, click on the “New Customer? Start Here" link at the top of any page. Set up your account and then click on "Your Account" on the top right of the page. When here, go to Payments and click on Manage Payment Options. Choose how you want to purchase items on on this page. Next, head to“1-click Ordering" which allows you to buy a book on with just one click of a link. You are now ready to buy a book.

    kindle-buying-page When visiting, find the book you want to purchase and, on the right side of the book’s page is an option to “Buy now with 1-Click." If you click that button, you purchase the book. There is also a box under it that says “Deliver to:" which is used in case more than one Amazon Kindle is using the same account. An example of this is that my wife and I both own a Kindle. If we buy something, we choose which device we want to deliver it to. The great thing is, since we share an account, we can download it on both Kindles if we want to.

    The second way to buy books is on the Kindle itself. First connect to the Kindle store. Make sure, under MENU options, that you have turned the Wireless on. Next, check the connection status with the bars at the upper right of the screen. It is set up just like cell phone bars. Next, click on MENU and choose “Shop in Kindle Store."

    Once there, you can click on MENU again to choose from a number of options:

    • Kindle Storefront
    • Books
    • Newspapers
    • Magazines
    • Audible Audiobooks
    • Kindle Singles
    • Blogs
    • Kindle Top Sellers
    • New & Noteworthy
    • Recommended for You
    • Your Wish List

    Once you choose an option, you can select a category (fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, mystery & thrillers, etc.) where you can browse books. This is a good way to find new books, like rummaging through the shelves at the bookstore. However, at the bottom is also a search box where you can type in a name, title, author or anything else that might pull up a specific book you are looking for. When you find the one you want, click on it and it will show you the description, price, reviews and recommendations. There is also an opportunity to read a bit of the book to make sure you want it. When you are ready to purchase your book, click BUY and it uses your “1-Click" information to buy the book.

    If the book is not on your Kindle within a couple of minutes, click on the HOME MENU and select “CHECK FOR NEW ITEMS."

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    Welcome Screen

    The welcome screen offers a number of options. First off, your books are listed on the main page with the last one you started reading at the top of the list. You can click to the next page where more books are listed and there is also an “Archived" list where you can download books not on your Kindle that you purchased but have either not downloaded yet or returned to your online Kindle storage to save room on your device. To read a book, simply click on the title of the book and start it.

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    Options When Reading a Book

    Use the page forward and page back buttons to navigate through the book. It’s as simple as that. The Amazon Kindle remembers where you left off on every book you are reading so, if you are in the middle of two or three books, when you return to one, you are on the exact page you left off from.

    The easiest part of knowing how a Kindle works is understanding how easy it is to read books on it. Once you understand the steps listed above for using the controls, setting up your account, purchasing books and finding them on your device, you are well on the way to enjoying your new E-Reader and keeping your entire library in the palm of your hands.

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    All information and photos from