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University at Buffalo Libraries

Amazon Kindle

Quick Start Guide

Each Kindle comes with a copy of Amazon's offical user's guide, available in the Reference folder on your Kindle. This Quick Start Guide is intended to launch you even more quickly; but it is limited in what it covers. You can also visit the Amazon Kindle Web page. It's an interesting collection of material and includes some nice videos.

Note that some Kindle functions – specifically adding content -- will not work because we have deregistered the devices and have not included a USB cord with your loan package. You can read about these capabilities at: Organizing Your Kindle Content and Transferring, Downloading, and Sending Files to Kindle. The guide you are reading is loaded in the Reference folder on your Kindle, along with a copy of the guide produced by Amazon.


How do I turn my Kindle on? How do I turn it off?

The power switch is located on the bottom edge of the Kindle, simply slide it to the right. To turn it off, slide the switch to the right and hold it until the screen becomes blank. To bring up a screen saver – several are available -- and to put the device to sleep, hold the switch for a few seconds.


Will my Kindle run out of power?

Loan periods are only seven days and even under heavy use a Kindle should remain charged for over three weeks. If you have a problem, please visit the desk from which you borrowed the device. Or you can send an e-mail to ereader@buffalo.edu.


Can I read a Kindle in the dark?

That won't work, because unlike some devices, a Kindle is not backlit. Sit near a good reading light. Kindles do well in the sun though, so when we get some you'll be fine. Because you can enlarge the darkness and size of text, you may find it easy to read a Kindle in less than perfect light.


Can I enlarge the size of the text? Can I switch between portrait and landscape display?

Yes, look at your keyboard; select Text Key (Aa). You have a choice of several sizes as well as other adjustments, and you can rotate the screen. This latter capability can come in handy if you want to enlarge the text even more, and it's especially useful for reading PDFs, which we'll consider later. It's also best for reading magazines and newspapers and viewing images. From the Menu on the Latest Generation Kindles you can select between portrait and landscape. With the Kindle DX (9.5" screen), simply rotate the device.


Will my Kindle read to me?

Yes, if you're lonely or busy and would like to hear a human voice – no, a nice mechanical voice, either female or male – you can access this capability with the (Aa) Text Key. There's also an earphone jack on the bottom edge of the Kindle, if you need a more private experience. This will not work with all content; much purchased content blocks this capability. Free material is always audible and there's plenty of it preloaded on your Kindle.


What does the Home button do?

The Home button will display the folders in which material is preloaded on your Kindle. Click on a folder and the titles loaded in the folder will be displayed. Since one could load about 3,500 books on a Latest Generation Kindle, folders are a way to keep a Kindle universe manageable. One could also choose to display Kindle content by author or title. See 5-Way Controller answer below.


What does the Menu button do?

The Menu button applies to the text or item you are currently viewing. It will allow you to access a description of the book (if it's purchased from Amazon) or navigate within the text. It also leads to the Search function (more on this later), and you can turn Wireless on and off from this screen. See 5-Way Controller answer below.


What does the 5-Way Controller do?

It's operational whether you're in the Home or Menu screens. Think of a remote control for a television or other device. It will allow you to move the cursor and select an option or operation.


There are a lot of titles on this device, how do I open a title to read?

Select a folder by using the 5-Way Controller to move the cursor to it. Then click on the folder and the preloaded titles will be displayed. Move the cursor to the title you'd like to read and click. You will now be able to read the book. To explore the book in various ways, press the Menu button.


Can I search for words within a particular text or across a group of texts?

Yes, you can. This is a powerful feature and it does work – and it works quickly. The lists or concordances you create will be specific to the device; in other words, Kindles do not paginate (although they do have locations which work for referral while reading on your Kindle) and you will not be able to use the results elsewhere, for instance, with the printed text versions.

Press the Home button and then enter text in the search box. Sections of text within which the word or phrase appear will be displayed. If you press Home, then Menu, and select Search an option is Search My Items. This will search across everything you have on your Kindle. The content of the Kindle will be displayed with the number of occurrences on the left. Click on a title and its occurrences within content will be displayed. Click on the location that introduces an occurrence and you can begin reading from that page.


Can I look up words as I read?

Yes, this is a very nice feature and really useful. Think of all the things you've read where you constructed a definition from the context within which a word appeared. Now, when you think it is necessary, you can read with greater precision. While reading a text, use the 5-Way Controller to position the cursor in front of the word you'd like defined. Depending on how you've configured your screen – this is done with the Menu button – the definition will appear at either the bottom or top of the screen. Do not click because if you do, this will activate the Highlight option which we ask that you not use during this pilot. To view the full definition, press the Return button. To return to the text, press the Back button.


What other things are possible with a Registered Kindle?

For this pilot, our Kindles have been deregistered. For an explanation of special capabilities, visit the User's Guide loaded on your Kindle, it's in the Reference folder.


What's in the Experimental folder on my Kindle?

This folder is on all Kindles we are loaning. In this folder we've loaded a PowerPoint saved as a PDF, a journal article in PDF, a Microsoft Word Document, some podcasts, and several images. We invite you to take a look and tell us what you think by completing the relevant portions of our Evaluation Form.