Writing Content for Kindle-like Devices

December 30, 2009

I received an Amazon Kindle for Christmas and so far, I’m loving it, though I anticipate getting into a tiff with my husband over how much money I’ll be charging in books to our credit card.  The device is elegant, its controls are easy to use, and the screen is crisp, even in sun. Because it’s slim and lightweight, I can curl up into my favorite reading nook and forget I’m using an electronic device.  I keep it in my pocketbook so whenever I hear about the great book you just read, I can instantly buy it and download it. I don’t need to be tethered to a computer, such as when syncing my iPod.

Okay, I’ll spare you from any further gushing about my new toy, and get to my point. eReaders like Kindle provide a fantastic way to deliver technical information. Think about it:

  • Environmentally friendly – no more trees must forfeit their lives to print out binders of instruction that sadly sit on shelves, only to be replaced with the next software release.  (I have three FrameMaker Guides on my shelf.)  Kindle lets us remove obsolete content.
  • Portable – as small as a paperback and only slightly heavier than a BlackBerry, Kindle may not fit in a pocket, but can be easily transported.  Consider industries such as aircraft maintenance.  Instead of lugging about a heavy, out-of-date manual to the tarmac, technicians could just download the latest FAA directive on fixing the problem at hand to a Kindle.
  • Electronic – It may feel and read like a book, but Kindle documents can still feature hyper-links to additional topics of interest within a document, or to an external website. No book can do that. The library it stores is backed up to Amazon, so even if the device fails, you won’t lose the content you’ve already collected.
  • Scalable – Orientation can be switched so you can view a detailed schematic in landscape, when necessary. You can adjust text size, too.

My only complaint is that it offers no brightness or contrast controls and a backlight would be great for reading before going to sleep.



  1. I didn’t want to buy one, but I wanted to publish for it.
    I found you can download a Kindle read to a PC.
    The Kindle PDF tools sucked though, at the time.
    Haven’t used them for a year. They may be better now.

    • You can email .doc and .pdf directly to a kindle device as long as you know the owner’s user name. I use that feature to edit my fiction projects.
      I’m also interested in publishing to it but need to do the research. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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