In part 1 of this article, I started to answer some questions from Lynn. She received Amazon eBooks as a Christmas gift and wants to know more about how they work. We’ve already looked at what an eReader is. In part 2, we’ll answer more of Lynn’s question:
I have been given the gift of several electronic Amazon books by young relatives for Christmas. They intend for me to read them on the Android tablet I received for my birthday in October. I can read e-mail, go to the Internet and play the occasional game on this tablet, but I am afraid I am puzzled by the notion of electronic books. I have to admit that my first thought was to perhaps print these books from my computer, but I read your article about the cost and inconvenience of printing an entire book. Can you explain just how these books work and also what you would consider the advantages and disadvantages of this type of item to be compared to the old-fashioned book. Also, it was necessary to donate quite a lot of older books to charity when I downsized from a larger home to a smaller condominium and my nephew said it might be possible to reacquire many of these books for free in an electronic format. He offered to instruct me on his next visit, but I would prefer to do it myself if I can.
To read books eBooks on your tablet, you’ll need an app. Since you want to read books from Amazon, you’ll need the Kindle app. You can find that for free in the Google Play Store. Once you hit install it should install in less than a minute.
The Kindle app is also available for iPad, Windows tablets and smartphones.
And that brings up an important thing about eBooks. Amazon books need to be read either on a Kindle device or with the Amazon app. Barnes & Noble Nook books need to be read on a Nook or with the Nook app. Like the Kindle app, you’ll find it in the app store for your device. Amazon uses a proprietary format for its eBook files. While Barnes & Noble’s Nook & Apple iBooks both use the EPUB format that can be read only many devices, they also have something extra on the files called DRM. (digital rights management.) This prevents the books from being read on anything but the bookseller’s preferred device unless you get into the process of removing the DRM, which can be complicated and is technically a violation of your purchase agreement.
DRM also means you just can’t make a copy of an eBook file and share it with someone to read on their device. Though, you can share some Kindle books with friends. But these are loans that expire after a couple of weeks and you can only share a book once. There are DRM-free books available as well, usually books that are in the public domain.
Don’t let the talk about digital rights make you nervous. You can easily get plenty of books to read with your Kindle app and you’ll probably never have an issue.
There are a lot of other eReader apps available including Nook and Kobo. But since your books are through Amazon, let’s check out their reading app.
Once installed and opened. The home screen looks like this. Since I have purchased many books, I have a selection available to choose from. If you don’t already have an Amazon account, you will need to set one up.
To open a book, just tap it.
Pages can be turned by tapping or swiping on the screen.
Tap at the top or bottom to bring up the slider that will show you your progress in the book and allow you to move back and forth many pages at a time.
Or tap the menu button on the left.
You’ll pull down the table of contents where you can navigate by chapter.
Tap the Text symbol in the upper right to change or enlarge font and adjust brightness. To exit your book, tap the back key key on your tablet.
You can go to the Kindle store to purchase books by tapping Store at the top right of the screen.
Once in the store, you can search for books by title, category and author or just browse.
Tap the purchase button to download. This should only take about a minute to download. Be careful if you choose to set up one tap purchasing, you might accidentally buy a book.
You can search categories like free Kindle books to find books for free.
Or you could limit the search to something like free Kindle classics to narrow the field. You will find thousands and thousands of books available for free on Amazon. Some of them great classics, others not-so-good.
When you redeem your eBook gifts from Amazon, they will be delivered directly to your device and available for reading.
In part 3 of this article, I’ll look at the pro and cons of eBooks.