17 Amazon Kindle Tricks Every Reader Should Know

Amazon Kindle ereaders make it possible to carry an entire library in your pocket. Whether you choose the basic Kindle, the pocketable Paperwhite, the top-of-the-line Oasis, or the behemoth Scribe, your Kindle holds thousands of books within its sleek black casing—and you can store thousands more in the cloud.

A Kindle betrays very little from the outside, but there’s a lot going on inside. All Kindle models feature adjustable LED lighting, so you can read while camping under the stars. The Paperwhite and Oasis models are also waterproof for blissful beachside reading. And if you want to know how many more hours it will take you to finish a book, a Kindle can tell you.

But to get the most out of your Kindle, take a look at our tips. Having trouble seeing or want more words on the page? Just pinch and zoom to adjust. To save battery life, switch your Kindle to airplane mode when you’re not downloading books. Customize the dictionary for when you’re reading books in other languages. And read on for more advanced tips that will make the most of your Kindle experience.


1. Take a Deeper Dive With X-Ray

Highlight of X-Ray feature

(Credit: Amazon)

Sometimes a book is smarter than you, and sometimes it’s a genius. The X-Ray feature boosts a book’s IQ by letting you examine its bones (who wrote it, when it was published, etc) in an instant. When you have a book open, tap the top of the screen, select the three-dot menu and select X-Ray. If the book you’re reading supports X-Ray, you’ll be able to search for more information about key people, places, and ideas in the book and to view a timeline of notable sections.


2. Create Highlights and Notes

amazon kindle highlights

If you miss the days of neon-yellow highlights in a textbook and notes in the margins, then this might be one of your favorite features on the Kindle. Place your finger on the text you want to highlight or write a note about, then drag your finger to include more or less text. It is then grayed out on the screen. Tap the selected text for options that include notes, highlights, and sharing to Goodreads. Your highlights and notes are stored on the Kindle Highlights page and in a book that’s added to your Kindle library called Your Clippings.


3. Store a Book Series

screenshots for Group Series in Library

(Credit: Amazon)

If you’re reading a series of books, you can store them all together in your Kindle. Go to Settings > Device Options > Advanced Options > Home & Library > Group Series in Library, and toggle to turn on. All the books that are part of a series will show up on your home screen under the cover of the first in the series; the number of books in that group appears on the lower-right. If you don’t see the feature, try updating your Kindle software (Settings > Device Options > Advanced Options > Home & Library > Update Your Kindle). Don’t like it? Toggle it off, and the books appear independently in your library.


4. Get Kindle Book Deals

kindle book deals by category

(Credit: Amazon)

Kindle posts deals on ebooks daily. The Kindle Daily Deals page is organized by category. If you don’t want to drop in regularly, you can sign up for the newsletter. And with a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you can read any of the books in the Kindle Unlimited catalog for $11.99 per month.


5. Join a Virtual Book Club

Amazon-owned Goodreads is like a book club that doesn’t require figuring out everyone’s schedule, making sure your home is clean enough to host in, or arguing over what to read. On the Kindle, tap the three dots in the top-right of the home screen, and click Goodreads to sign into your existing Goodreads account, or create one. Books on your Goodreads Want to Read list appear on the Kindle homepage. You can also see what friends are reading as well as their opinions on books you’re considering. (But don’t get petty and review-bomb books you haven’t actually read.)


6. Lock Up Your Kindle

Kindle with passcode screen

(Credit: PCMag/Lukas Blazek/Unsplash)

If you want to keep your reading private, you can put a passcode on your Kindle. Go to the home screen and tap the three dots in the upper right. Then select Settings > Device Options > Device Passcode. You’ll be able to set a numerical code up to 12 digits long.


7. Create a Home Library

Set up a Family Library, and you can share books with members of your Amazon Household. On the Kindle, go to Menu > Settings > Household & Family Library > Add a New Person > Add Adult. Enter their email address and password for Amazon and authorize both accounts to share payment information. Now you can share all books or choose which books you’d like to share. To add a child, go to Household & Family Library > Add a New Person > Add Child. Enter the parental control password and the child’s name, birthday, and gender. Then you can select titles for the child’s library. Tap Next, then Done, and the account is set up.


8. Borrow Library E-Books

screenshot of the bottom menu on the libby app highlighting the library option

(Credit: Libby)

You’ve switched to ebooks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a library patron. You can borrow e-books from your local library through the Libby app from OverDrive, if you have a valid library card or student ID. In the Libby app, tap Shelf > Loans > Read With… > Kindle. It’ll direct you to Amazon’s website, where you sign in, verify the “Deliver to:” device and tap Get Library Book.


9. Create Collections to Organize Your E-Books

image showing where collection is located

(Credit: Amazon)

Too many apps can clutter your phone’s home screen, and an abundance of books can do the same on your Kindle. To keep things organized, create a Collection. Tap Menu on the top right of the Kindle screen, select Create a Collection, type a name for the collection, and tap OK. Check the box next to each book you want to appear in the collection, and select Done.

Amazon lets you pick how you see Collections. Go to Settings > Device Options > Advanced Options > Home & Library > Collections to choose one of three options: Show Only in Collections View, Show Favorites in Library, or Show All in Library.

screenshots for accessing collections, adding books to a collection, and options for collections

(Credit: Amazon)

To add books later, long-press on a Collection and tap Add To/Remove From Collection. (Here, you can also Download All Items, Rename Collection, Mark Collection As Favorite, or Delete Collection.) Or tap the three-dot menu on individual books to add them to a Collection.


10. Browse the Web (at a Glacial Pace)

experimental browser location

(Credit: Amazon)

The Kindle has a web browser. It’s rudimentary, but it can be useful in a pinch when you have Wi-Fi connectivity but low battery life on other devices. Tap the Menu at the top-right on your Kindle screen, and select Web Browser. That brings up a (pretty sluggish) browser; type your desired URL in the menu bar up top.


11. Change Your Kindle’s Fonts

kindle font menus

(Credit: Amazon)

If you’ve got a thing about fonts, you don’t have to live with the e-book’s default font. When you’re in the book, go to the toolbar at the top of the screen, and tap the Aa icon. Tap Font, then Font Family, where you can choose from several fonts and adjust the type size and style.


12. Take Kindle Screenshots

image of Kindle

(Credit: Amazon)

To save what you see onscreen, simultaneously tap the upper-right and lower-left corner of the screen or vice-versa. You should see a flash, which means the image is saved. To see it, connect your Kindle to your computer, and the image appears in the root folder (as a PNG file).

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13. Look Up Words and Build Your Vocabulary

If you don’t know the meaning of a word you encounter while reading, press and hold it for a second. You’ll get a pop-up definition of it from the Kindle’s built-in dictionary and, if you’re on Wi-Fi and you scroll to the right, you’ll also see a Wikipedia search for it, as well as a translation for the word if it’s in a foreign language. Better yet, all of the words you look up are stored in a list that you can check out whenever you feel like beefing up your vocabulary.


14. Read Your Kindle Without Your Kindle

Kindle app listing in App Store

(Credit: Kindle)

If you’re out and about and find yourself wishing you’d brought along your Kindle, you can just open the app on your phone and pick up right where you left off. Download the Kindle app (Android, iOS) and make sure that your app and Kindle are set to sync. On the Kindle, swipe down to open Quick Actions, and select All Settings > Device Options > Advanced Options > Whispersync for Books and make sure it is set to Enabled. In the Kindle app, click More at the bottom of the screen, go to Settings, and check that Whispersync for Books is toggled on. Now your devices will all be on the same page.


15. Extend the Battery Life

While Kindles generally have good battery life, there are times (like a long trip) when you might want to conserve some battery power.

You can adjust brightness by swiping down on the screen for Quick Actions and lowering the brightness with the slider or the + and – buttons. If you have a model with Auto Brightness you can also uncheck the box next to the feature in the same spot.

You’ll also want to turn on Airplane Mode by swiping down on the screen for Quick Actions and turning on Airplane Mode (the airplane icon). Just be aware that this will mean your Kindle will not sync so if you’re going to open a Kindle app on another device, you won’t be on the page you left off on. While you’re in Quick Actions, make sure Bluetooth is also set to off.


16. Change the Cover Story

Kindle with cover of Ta-Nehisi Coates' book The Water Dancer

(Credit: Amazon)

If you miss seeing a book cover, you can change the screensaver image on your Kindle to display the book you are currently reading—but only if you have an ad-free model. On the Kindle, swipe down to open Quick Actions, and select All Settings > Device Options > Display Cover and toggle it on.

If you have a Kindle with ads and want to switch it to be ad-free, you can go to Amazon’s site and click on Manage Your Content and Devices, select Devices, and then select your Kindle. Under Special Offers, click Remove Offers. You’ll get a pop-up window with the price to remove ads. You can then select End Offers and Pay the Fee.


17. Read Your Own Work

Send to Kindle screen

(Credit: Amazon)

You can read your own files on a Kindle, so if you’ve ever wanted to take your unpublished novel with you to see how it reads, now’s your chance. All you have to do is save whatever you want to appear on your Kindle as a PDF. Then go to to upload it directly or get other choices for how to add it.

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