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Reasons to travel with a Kindle

July 8, 2009

You Don’t Have to Sprint to the Airport Newsstand
Before a flight you may face an abysmally long security queue. You may be worried that you are going to miss your flight and making a quick dash to the newsstand to pick up reading material is out of the question.

You can turn on the e-book reader’s wireless connection and buy the current editions of The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. Within a few minutes, each publication is delivered wirelessly to your Kindle 2.

You Can Comfortably Read a Newspaper in Coach
Have you ever tried to read a newspaper in a crowded coach cabin? You have to fold the paper just so, and then position your arms in a certain way, so your elbows don’t make contact with your seatmate’s teeth. That’s not the case with a Kindle. You can comfortably read papers, as well as magazines, books, and blogs, with ease, no matter how sardined you are.

You Can Read Documents and Web Content
If you’ve got a lot of work-related reading to do in flight, you’ve traditionally had two options: (1) Print out and pack what you need, which adds bulk to your carry-on bag; and (2) Read it on your computer, which depletes your laptop battery.

The Kindle gives you a much better option for reading documents and even Web content in flight–one that adds no additional weight to your bag because you don’t need to carry printed pages, doesn’t drain your laptop/netbook battery (so you can use your portable PC for something else, like watching video), and doesn’t require in-flight Wi-Fi.

To read documents on your Kindle 1 or 2, most files will first need to be converted to the Kindle’s native formats (.azw and .azw1). (The Kindle DX supports PDF documents as well.)
There are a couple of ways to do this. The easiest is to e-mail your Microsoft Word files, PDFs, HTML pages, and other documents to your Kindle e-mail address. (If you didn’t set up a Kindle e-mail address, you can do so by signing in to Amazon’s Manage Your Kindle page.) The next time you turn on your Kindle’s wireless network, the document(s) will be automatically converted and downloaded to the device. The conversion process takes about 5 minutes, usually. However, Amazon charges 15 cents per megabyte for transferring documents to your Kindle wirelessly via e-mail. That’s not much, and the convenience is worth it. But if you plan to send dozens of documents on a regular basis, the cost can add up.

The other option is free but a tad more complicated. You e-mail the file you want to transfer to your Kindle address, but you add free to the address. For example, if your Kindle e-mail address is, you’d e-mail the attached file to

Within a few minutes, you’ll receive an e-mail from Amazon Kindle Support. The e-mail will include a hyperlink, which, when clicked, will download the converted file to your computer. Now you can drag and drop the file into your Kindle’s Documents folder, when the e-book reader is connected to your computer via USB cable. Amazon outlines the steps for transferring documents and files to a Kindle on its Web site.

You can download travel guides
While traveling to destinations which you’ve never traveled before, you can purchase travel guides on the Kindle 2 and refer them as you go on to your adventure.
Check out travel guides available for Kindle and PDF downloads

The Wrap Up
Paying $359 or $489 for the Kindle 2 or Kindle DX, respectively, may be way too much for many people in this economy. But any device that can lighten your carry-on load, and yet keep business travelers productive and entertained during long flights, is worth considering, if your budget allows.

Tip: M-Edge’s Platform Jacket ($30) for the Kindle 2 does double-duty as a protective cover and book stand. You can prop up your Kindle 2 on your seatback tray and read almost entirely hands free (you’ve got to push the Next Page and Prev Page buttons, of course).

If you own an iPhone then you can also download the Kindle reader application for iPhone for free!

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