kindle-2-international-wirelessWhen you hop onto to the Amazon site this morning, you’ll be greeted with another familiar message from Jeff Bezos. There are not one, but two big announcements surrounding the Kindle 2!

First, the Kindle 2 is getting another price cut down to $259 (from $299). So if you’ve been on the fence about getting the most popular reader on the planet, you just got 40 more reasons to jump over to the Kindle side.

Second, a new (sort of) Kindle is being made available soon. You can now pre-order a Kindle 2 with International Wireless. As Jeff himself puts it:

“Until now, Kindles have only been available to U.S. customers. Starting today, international customers can now order Kindle with international wireless and get their English-language books in 60 seconds.”

Kindle 2 now $259 at Amazon.com

Kindle 2 with International Wireless at Amazon.com

I have a fairly long commute to and from work each day and I usually listen to a local AM radio station to pass the time. Whenever I need a break from all the talk, I usually flip over to another station for some music. Sometimes, though, I’m in the mood for neither.

Recently, I’ve been carrying my Kindle to keep me company in the car. I had not used the “read to me” feature very often and I figured the time I spend in the car everyday was a good opportunity.

Yesterday, I loaded up Alice in Wonderland before pulling out of the parking lot. My Kindle began reading and I immediately became aware of one small factor that could hinder my enjoyment: road noise. I increased the volume to the maximum setting, which compensated. Driving on the city streets did not interfere much at all as I could hear the words of Lewis Carrol quite well. It wasn’t until I merged into interstate traffic that I had to strain to listen.

There are a couple of things I may try in the future. First, I should try taking off my kindle cover. The speakers are on the back of the Kindle, so taking the cover off is really the only way to hear the Kindle unobstructed. Second, I guess I could try using an ear bud, but I really think that’s a bit unsafe while driving. If I was a passenger, I wouldn’t hesitate using some kind of earphones.

All said, listening to the Kindle read to me was an enjoyable experience. If I was to use this feature daily, I could probably knock out 2 or so books per week.

After giving this some thought, I can imagine some people (myself included) would only listen to “casual” books with their Kindle. However, I can totally see using the Kindle to read newspapers and magazines. This seems like a perfect way to use the “Read to Me” feature, since most of us are used to consuming news-type information in this manner.

If anyone has a “read to me” experience they’d like to share, please leave a comment below!

As my wife and I were setting up our own Kindles, my wife realized that she couldn’t remember her Amazon account information, much less if she even had an account (I know, shame on her!). I told her to try and use my account information and it worked fine.

Upon signing in to my Amazon account I realized that there were some advantages to having both Kindle units registered under the same account. Not only are your orders and other information kept in one central location, but you can seamlessly share books and other content between each Kindle.

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Thanks for your order, Jared!

That’s from the email I just received from Amazon, confirming my Kindle 2 order. I’m expecting it to come in this Wednesday, and I’m totally excited! I’m sure I’ll make a huge deal out of it… you know, the typical geek-ish “unboxing” and reviews.

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manybooks

Just discovered that manybooks.net now has kindle formated books available. If you have wondered, “what can I get to try my kindle out with that won’t cost me anything,” search no longer. Many (Ha, that’s part of their name) of the books I read when I was younger and would consider great books for your own library are available at the site. I downloaded Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and, although it has about 7 pages of pretext explaining that the text came from the Gutenbug project and how you can contribute if you want to, there is a coverpage picture and the text is all there. So in my mind, score one for FREE!

There is a large number of books at manybooks.net that I wouldn’t bother with, but I plan on grabbing many of the classics that I haven’t read or haven’t read since I was much younger. “Frankenstien” by Mary Shelly or Bram Stokers “Dracula” were a few that I have never read the book but have obviously seen ton of retread movies related to them. One I do want to get is Treasure Island and Gulliver’s Travels, which I haven’t read since I was 10, but there are really too many to list here. A large number of Shakespere’s works, Poe, well far more than I had expected. So Kudos to ManyBooks.net for hopping on the bandwagon early and getting their collection converted so quickly. Go check it out, I can’t image you won’t find at least one book you’ll download.

Free Books at Amazon

As a commenter mentioned, there are lots of free books available at Amazon.com. The link I provided lists all available Kindle books sorted by price. All of the free books should appear first, even if you click on a category on the left of the page. I’ve used this technique many times to find new books for zero cash.

Not Free, but Used

While we’re focusing on tightening the purse strings, you should know that there are lots of used Kindles and accessories available on the web. So, if you’re looking to upgrade or pick up some accessories, a used Kindle should be a strong consideration.


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