Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Why I do this
I dislike reading on screen. I am not alone – many people don’t like it. It’s the main reason why you will still find a large bank of industrial-scale printers in your workplace. People like paper. Mostly for two reasons:
- Many of your colleagues will have started their careers without any IT at all, so paper was all they had. And some were from the era of green-screens and low-resolutions. Reading from paper is habitual and firmly embedded
- Research has shown that reading short pieces of text is as effective on screen as it is on paper, but research has also discovered that students remember more when reading from paper, as opposed to a screen. Reading from paper, as opposed to a computer screen, seems easier and more natural.
What I’ve discovered over the 9 years of using e-readers is that these screens are designed specifically for reading large bodies of text (such as books and reports) and are just as good as real paper.
Laptop screens don’t cut it – neither do tablets – but ‘electronic ink’, as it’s called, is different. Perhaps it’s the lack of glare or backlighting. Perhaps it’s also because e-readers are lighter and more ergonomic. I have a Kindle Touch. I have an iPad too, but I prefer to read on my Kindle.
Another benefit of using my Kindle is that I don’t have to carry heaps of printed documents around with me! In bygone days, the bundle of documents I would lug around in the course of a day’s work was immense, and ever-growing. Now with my Kindle, I can carry what feels like a limitless library. And not a coffee-ring in sight.
So when I receive a document I need to read in my job, I use my Kindle device. Sweet.
Getting documents onto my Kindle device is easy. What I do is this:
- I save my document in a compatible format (see below)
- Attach the document to a fresh email, or take an existing email with the document as an attachment
- Forward it onto my private Send-to-Kindle email address (which looks something like firstname.lastname@example.org). Don’t have this? Then login to Amazon and go to Manage Your Content and Devices > Settings and you will find your kindle email address(es) listed
- Finally, I open up Kindle and sync. That’s it. My document is now available to read.
- To read many documents on my kindle, just attach them all into one email.
Flies in the ointment
The above steps take less than a minute. But it might not be so straightforward, as I have discovered in many workplaces (especially corporate employers)
Some organizations employ IT security measures that restrict what can be sent by email to external addresses. You will receive a ‘bounce-back’ telling you why the document couldn’t be sent to your Send-to-Kindle email address.
Some documents you may want to send to read outside of the office could well be considered as classified, and therefore protected by an Information Security Policy. I advise understanding, very clearly, the policies and regulations of your organization – to avoid getting into hot-water, or even fired for breaching policy. It’s worth checking if there are any precedents in your organization for doing this – perhaps there are other people who are doing the same and there is an established procedure and/or waivers for you to sign?
If you experience any of the problems above then you could try syncing your Kindle device using a data cable. An additional fly in the ointment is that many organizations restrict the use of the USB port on company-owned devices, so this might not solve your problem either.
Some documents may be very large, normally because of a lot of images, and maybe blocked by your email filters at either end. Check the size of a document before sending it on. It may be possible to remove images from the document if it is in a format you can edit.
Some documents just can’t be opened on your Kindle, such as propriety formats. Supported formats are:
- Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX)
- HTML (.HTML, .HTM)
- RTF (.RTF)
- Text (.TXT)
- JPEG (.JPEG, .JPG)
- Kindle Format (.MOBI, .AZW)
- GIF (.GIF)
- PNG (.PNG)
- BMP (.BMP)
- PDF (.PDF)
If you’re experiencing a format issue, then you could try converting the file into a supported format. You can do this by typing ‘convert’ in the subject-line when using Send-to-Kindle. Or Microsoft Office and Pages allows you to save documents to a variety of formats. You could also try Calibre which is a very helpful tool for managing your document library and converting formats.
So now I have shown you how to get any document onto your Kindle, go try it. It works for me.