What can I/should I do with my new-to-me used Kindle DX?
February 4, 2013 12:54 PM   Subscribe

I've had an e-reader, but never a Kindle and never one with 3G. I understand the reading PDFs and mobi file part, but what else should I know about: what the 3G is good for; apps; hacks; subscribable Kindle-optimized content; the Kindle ecosystem? Besides Instapaper, are there other convert-stuff-to-read-on-your-ereader things I should know about?

You can assume I'm already paranoid about Amazon being in my business and will back up all material to where the Bezos don't shine (and if I ever give in and buy something DRM-ed, I'll strip it.)

My computers are Linux-only, so I'm generally not interested in any Mac or Windows helper applications (unless maybe some Windows-only thing is so totally amazing it inspires me to go through the overhead of setting up a Windows VM.)
posted by Zed to Technology (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There are a lot of hacks you can do with that generation of Kindle. The Mobileread forums have a central wiki page listing many of them. You can change the screensaver graphics, install new fonts, etc. One bonus is that, with a jailbroken Kindle, you can actually SSH into the Kindle over Wifi and SCP new files onto it (which is very nice if you hate digging out cables as much as I do).

I have also had a lot of fun with KIF, a free native Infocom/Z-Code interpreter for the Kindle. It's a bit of work to get going (your Kindle must be jailbroken, among other things) but it's worth it if you enjoy interactive fiction.

Some people like Calibre, I don't care for it in general, but I still have it installed because it comes with the command-line tool ebook-convert, by far the most painless way to convert .epub files to .mobi files, and to strip DRM.
posted by enn at 1:03 PM on February 4, 2013

Response by poster: oh, yeah, thing I should have specified: It's a Kindle DX Graphite. Thing I should have specifically asked about: sources of b&w manga and other comics now that I've got a big enough screen for that to be feasible.
posted by Zed at 1:20 PM on February 4, 2013

The Kinde has a fairly impressive selection of periodicals you can subscribe to. I had a subscription to both the New York Review of Books for a while, and it was pretty great to get it auto-delivered every time a new one came out. It also saves old editions (I believe you can set a limit on how many it will keep on the kindle itself versus 'cloud' versions).
posted by anaximander at 1:28 PM on February 4, 2013

I have a not-quite-ready-for-primetime comic-to-MOBI converter that includes Kindle-specific functionality like dividing works up into chapters and allowing navigation with the 4-way. You provide images in a bunch of folders, one for each chapter, and it builds you a navigable MOBI. Memail me if interested (as mentioned, not really ready for widespread distribution, but I'm glad to shop it to folks who are willing to give it a go).

That doesn't help you much with content, I guess, but there's a lot of groups doing scanlations out there; googling "scanlation" comes up with a bunch of them. If you seem specific not-officially-translated comics you can usually craft a google search for scanlations of those; if you want officially translated/US-published comics you're mostly off to the seedy underbelly of the internet unless they happen to have some sort of online distribution.
posted by jackbishop at 2:25 PM on February 4, 2013

To convert comics, there's a program called Mangle.

I believe there are some manga sold in the Kindle store, but not many.
posted by shoyu at 2:35 PM on February 4, 2013

Your library might let you check out e-books.

I use the "send to Kindle" button on Firefox all day long, then read the articles in bed at night.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:40 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding 'send to Kindle', I use it to send stuff which I read on way to work.

Also, I think Calibre is absolutely fantastic> I have set it up to fetch 4 newspapers to my kindle every morning so I have read my favourite newspapers before I get to work. It makes my morning. Downside: You have to keep Calibre running.
posted by london302 at 6:31 AM on February 5, 2013

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