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Kindle Everything!

Kindle Everything!

Hello there!!

Do you want a Kindle? Do you neeeeeed a Kindle? Maybe you want access to the Kindle library without buying a Kindle? Or maybe you already have a Kindle and are ready for an upgrade. Well, I'm going to give you allll of the information that I have and a few fun things that I recently found out about Kindles and hopefully it'll help you take the leap!

First off, what IS Kindle?

Great question, let me tell you! We're not talking about fires or feelings here, in this discussion "Kindle" can mean at least 4 different things. The Kindle App, a Kindle Library Subscription, a Kindle eReader Device, a Kindle Fire tablet (keep on reading for those breakdowns below). A super-fast and simplified explanation is that Kindle is a mobile library that can be accessed on your phone, tablet, or an eReader. If you plan ahead and download the books you want to read, you don’t even need a Wi-Fi connection. This mobile library also has audiobooks & magazines, wee!

Does Kindle replace all of my books? No, it's additive - you can take your books with you, preview new books before you read them. Not EVERY book in the world is available through Kindle. It's like Netflix for books - not every movie or tv show is available through Netflix just like not every book is available through Kindle, however their selection changes constantly so it may eventually become available.

Kindle App

The Kindle App is available on a phone, tablet, or computer and it gives you access to the Kindle Library and Store without having a Kindle eReader Device. You do not need a paid account if you're only accessing their free selection, but you do need an Amazon account.

I often fire up the app on my phone when I’m waiting for someone or something and need entertainment in a pinch. For years I had a small tablet, and the Kindle app was hands down my most used app, I would read for hours every night. The only problem I have with using the app on my phone or tablet is that I do tend to get distracted by notifications or random urges to google something that has nothing to do with what I’m reading (the Kindle eReaders help with that problem!).

Some eBooks come with audio, so you can listen to them like an audiobook from within the app (books on tape, anyone?). In fact, if audiobooks are your thing, check out my review on the Audible app!

When I first found out about the Kindle library waaaay back in 2011, I downloaded every free book they had to my phone and tablet through the Kindle App. Did I read them? No, of course not, silly! I am a partaker in something that the Japanese call "tsundoku" which refers to act of buying books but not reading them. Apparently, it doesn't matter whether it's a physical or digital book, I'm committed! Anyhoo, back to Kindling.

Kindle Unlimited Library Subscription

While there are a decent number of free books available, not every book is free. In order to access those non-free books, you need to sign up for a Kindle Subscription, now known as Kindle Unlimited. With this subscription you get unlimited access to their digital books, audiobooks, magazine subscriptions, and "Great on Kindle" enhanced e-books which are non-fiction books that are optimized for the best possible reading experience including easy navigation, high-quality images, and Wikipedia & Alexa integration.

You can access your Kindle Unlimited Library from your phone, tablet, computer, eReader, or Alexa (audible books). The Whispersync feature allows you to sync your reading position & notes so that you can pick up where you left off anywhere you access Kindle, so go ahead and get ‘em all. 😊

The best part about Kindle Unlimited is that there is no commitment, you can quit and restart whenever you want, and I have. Several times. You’ll get a notification to use up any credits that you have left when you cancel and you keep the books that you purchased with your credits or money, plus you can still access all of those free books through the app or an eReader!

If you know someone who would love a Kindle membership, you can even gift a Kindle Unlimited subscription in 6, 12, or 24 month durations!

Kindle eReader Devices

Ok, so here's my favorite part! In my humble opinion, if you're going to read digital books, a Kindle eReader device is the way to go. Simply put, they are designed to give you a convenient, comfortable reading experience without the distractions and eye strain of a phone or tablet. Their screens use a technology called “electronic paper” and the idea is that the image should resemble an actual page of a book. They are softer on your eyes than a phone or tablet because the light is shining across the front of the screen, rather than towards your eyes. They also have a soothing glare-free coating which allows you to read even in bright sunlight, so you really can take them anywhere. As of 2022, all new models have the option to light the screen so that you can read in the dark (my 2013 doesn’t light for night reading, but if it did, I’d never think of upgrading)!

You can adjust the size and boldness of the text on the screen, and you can annotate pages & look up words in the built-in dictionary (yes, seriously). All eReaders have storage to hold a bunch of downloaded books, plus they are Wi-Fi-enabled, so if you can find a network, you can find new books! Unless you have a dinosaur like mine, but you can still purchase new books via the Amazon app and send them to your device wirelessly (yay!). You also get the option to buy the eReaders with or without ads on the lock screen (except for some special or signature editions). This saves you about $20 and personally, it doesn’t bother me one bit. The ads don’t pop up while you’re reading, they’re only on the lock screen when it’s not in use.

The battery life on these things is ridiculously awesome, especially when compared to most rechargable devices today. They are listed to last for about a month (some say two!), of course this depends on how long you read, the brightness you use, and if you use the audiobook streaming feature.

There are a few different types of eReaders depending on how you intend to use it. Conveniently this list is ordered from least expensive to most expensive. 😊:

Kindle (2022 release) – this lovely is the size of a small paperback book, it’s a little over 4 inches wide and 6 inches tall and a little more than ¼ inch thick. The screen is 6 inches (measured on the diagonal) and it’s super lightweight, like 5 ounces.

Kindle Paperwhite – if you’re a fan of warm lighting, then I’d recommend a Paperwhite. You get the same features as the regular Kindle, plus you can adjust the display from white light to a warm amber or even program a schedule for it to switch over automatically (swoon)! Oh, and did I mention it’s waterproof? Uh yeah, it is. It’s also a little bigger coming in at almost 5 inches wide and 7 inches tall, but still the same thickness as the non-Paperwhite (a little more than ¼ inch thick). The screen is 6.8 inches (measured on the diagonal), so it’s a little roomier, as well. Because it’s a little bigger, it’s the teeniest big heavier, about 7 ounces, still under ½ of a pound.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature – this is pretty the exact same as the standard Paperwhite, but it has an auto-adjusting light based on your environment and it also can be charged wirelessly, which is super handy. This is currently the only model with that feature.

Kindle Oasis – So, this one is the loaded model. Along with the auto-adjusting light feature of the Paperwhite Signature, this one has physical page turn buttons (all other models use the touch screen), automatic rotating page orientation which is great if you’re viewing documents or pictures, and it includes free cellular connectivity which is great for those who travel and / or don’t always have access to Wi-Fi. One other thing that makes this one stand out is the shape of the eReader, it is more ergonomic in that it has a ledge that you can hold onto rather than the completely flat design of all other models. It is slightly smaller than the Paperwhites, about 5.5 inches wide and a little over 6 inches tall. At its thinnest, it is about 1/8 inch and the “thicker” part is about the same thickness as the rest of the eReaders. The screen is 7 inches (measured on the diagonal) and it weighs about 6.5 ounces (in between the regular Kindle and the Paperwhites).

Kindle Scribe – This is the first Kindle for reading AND writing. With the magnetic pen, you can take notes on most books with the sticky notes feature, write directly on imported PDFs, and journal, make lists, and draw in the included notebooks. You can access anything that you write through the Kindle app sync feature on your desktop, phone, or tablet. There are two pens available, basic (included) or premium which has a dedicated digital eraser and a shortcut button which can be assigned to various features. This is the biggest eReader coming in at a little over 7.5 inches wide and 9 inches tall. It’s close to ¼ inch thick and weighs almost a pound. The pens are similar to a pencil and are about 6.4 inches long.

Kindle eReaders are eligible for Amazon’s Trade-in program, so if you want to upgrade, make sure to check that out!

Kindle Fire Tablets

If you want more than an eReader, there’s the Kindle Fire Tablet. They are mostly mini entertainment centers, perfect for playing games, streaming (movies, TV, music), or reading eBooks (they come with the Kindle app already installed, how convenient!).  All Fire tablets have front & rear-facing cameras, the quality varies based on the tablet chosen. The CPU & RAM size increases with tablet size, so keep that in mind if there is a particular app or game that you want to use. They all have Alexa installed, so you can call out to her in your moment of need and be rest-assured that she’ll answer you.

Like the Kindle eReaders, you can purchase these with or without ads on the lock screen and they often have bundles with other compatible devices (Fire TV stick, keyboard, game controllers, etc.). There are currently four different Kindle Fire Tablets available, two of them under $100 (and 1 is just over $100), for real for real. The number in their name correlates to their screen size (measured on the diagonal).

Fire 7 (2022) – The baby firecracker of the bunch, it’s the perfect size to take just about anywhere. It will definitely entertain you if you get stuck waiting for someone to “just run in for 1 thing” for an hour or so. It’s a little more then 4.5 inches by 7 inches and less than ½ inch thick. It weighs about 10 ounces so it won’t add much weight to your bag.

Fire HD 8 (2022) – Slightly bigger and more powerful than the Fire 7, the Fire 8 also sets the tone for some upgrades that the next two tablets share including HD display, dual speakers, and the full-screen Alexa experience (Show Mode). This tablet is almost 5.5 inches by 8 inches and less than ½ inch thick. It weighs almost 12 ounces, still a barely noticeable addition in a bag.

Fire HD 8 Plus (2022) – With the plus you’ll get a little more RAM and the only Fire tablet that has wireless charging. Almost exactly the same dimensions as the Fire HD 8 (nonplus), just a hair or two thicker and heavier.

Fire HD 10 (2021) – The option with the most processing power and the biggest screen, it is the most popular version of these four Fire tablets. When paired with a keyboard and some productivity apps, you might be able to use it to catch up on some work while you’re out. This tablet is a little more than 6.5 inches x 9.5 inches and still less than ½ inch thick. It weighs a little over 1 pound making it a great choice for productivity on the go!

Kindles for Kids

Amazon may or may not have heard that kids aren’t necessarily the most careful with electronic devices, so they have some eReader features for kids. They’re essentially the same as the regular eReaders, but they have kid-friendly (ahem, less breakable) covers & cases and they often come with kid-friendly software bundles & subscriptions AND those all-important parental controls. They include a 1 year Amazon Kids+ subscription (Parent Dashboard, age appropriate library), an extended guarantee, and pretty cool covers like whales, unicorns, robots, explorers, etc.

Kindle Kids Kindle Paperwhite Kids

Also like the eReaders, there are Kids versions of the Fire tablets available. They have strengthened screens, sturdy cases with hands-free stands, and that all important extended guarantee. They also include a 1 year Amazon Kids+ subscription, parental controls, and the web browser comes with built-in filters, which I think is pretty cool.

Recommended for kids aged 3-7 years:

Fire 7 Kids Fire HD 8 Kids Fire HD 10 Kids


Recommended for kids aged 6-12 years:

Fire HD 8 Kids Pro Fire HD 10 Kids Pro


Kindle Accessories

This just wouldn’t be a true Elkberry blog if I didn’t include accessories, and let me tell you, there are a LOT of Kindle accessories out there for whatever mood you’re in! These are just some examples of what's out there, you'd want to make sure that whatever accessory you buy fits your particular device.

Covers, Sleeves, & Book Bags
Library Cover Felt Sleeve Elkberry Rainbow Dogs Backpack
Page Turners / Remotes (Fun Fact: these can be used for more than just turning pages on your Kindle!)
Tiny Remote Ring Remote Keychain Remote
Hands-Free Holders
Flexible Stand (Spider Style) Flexible Stand (Gooseneck Style) Car Headrest for Back Seat
Funny Book Grip Floral Grip Black Grip
Earphones / Earbuds
Bluetooth Touch Control Bluetooth Over Ear Earbuds for everyone!
Charging Station Car Charger Adapter Wireless Charger (make sure it works with your device!)
Scribe Specific Accessories for Attached Pen
Extra Pen Tips Leather Folio Pen Holder

Amazon Prime Members

For those of you who already have Amazon Prime accounts, things just keep getting better! These features come with your Prime membership and don’t require a Kindle Unlimited subscription:

- Unlimited reading (books, magazines, audiobooks) within their Prime Reading selection

- Kindle First allows you to choose 1 free book out of a selection of about 6 each month

- Kindle Lending Library allows you to borrow one book each month for free

What I LOVE about Kindle is that if you come across a book while you're shopping on Amazon for something else, you can purchase the book and send it directly to your app or Kindle so it'll be waiting for you the next time you open it. 

Well, I hope this helped answer any questions you may have had about the Kindle app, membership, eReaders, or tablets! If you’re interested in more bookish things, check out my Gift Guide for Book Lovers and my blog about the Audible App!

Talk to you soon!
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