Copyright © 2019 by Mary B. Warren   All Rights Reserved
What are E-books?
E-books and Genealogy – Questions and Answers
By Heritage Papers –
As we work to convert the printed books that Heritage Papers has printed or reprinted over the years to e-books for Kindle, we are receiving questions about Kindle. A lot of people view "Kindle books" as something to be afraid of.
We wrote this document to help answer our friends, customers, readers, followers and genealogists around the world to learn what e-books can do for them.
Q: Does it take a Kindle reader to view a Kindle book?
A: No is does not.  You can use a Kindle reader on just about any computer.  It can be used on your desktop PC, laptop, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android smart phone and tablets. They are all free downloadable apps for each platform used to read Kindle books.
For desktop and laptop users, follow this link to download the appropriate reader for your computer.
Q: Where do I get the program to read Kindle books?
A: Amazon has many versions of their Kindle reader program for each platform (PC, Mac, Apple IOS, Android, Linux, etc.) All the versions are free downloads and simple to install. Search for Amazon Kindle Download and pick the device you want to use.
Q: Does a Kindle reader have a monthly cost?
A: No. The only the books you buy and are charged to your credit card when you purchase them. No other charges apply.
Q: How does the Kindle book version differ from a printed book?
A: Lower cost. No printing costs are incurred.
   Low cost to deliver (via the internet).
   No page numbers.
   No printed indexes.
   Book updates for corrections.
Q: Is there a large print version of Kindle documents?
A: You can set the letter size of the book (as well as the font) so you can pick something that is comfortable to you. If you use one of the Kindle apps on a PC or laptop, you can use larger screens than a typical Kindle reader has. If you want a bigger reader, look at the Kindle DX or perhaps an Apple iPad or Android tablet with a larger screen.
Q: Why do Kindle documents not have page numbers?
A: Kindle documents lack page numbers because they don't know the screen size being used to view the document. The text is flowed from screen to screen so a larger screen would show more text than a small one.
Q: How can I search a Kindle document?
A: The reader device or app lets you search for words or phrases in the document. The search findings are shown in paragraph form so you can see them in context. You can click the appropriate paragraph and it will jump to that location in the book.
Q: Can I print part of the document?
A: No. That is one of the restrictions since people could copy the document.  Some platforms let you use your mouse to cut and paste text from the Kindle reader screen into another document.
Q: How do I flip pages on a Kindle?
A: That depends on the device being used to read the book. On a Kindle Paperwhite or other touch based devices, you tap the side of the screen and it flips the page that direction, going back is the other side of the screen. On other Kindle Readers, there are buttons on the sides to flip pages through a book.
Q: How do I go to a particular page or chapter on a Kindle?
A: Depending on the device you're using, the menu has an option to "go to" common locations, chapters, locations, bookmarks, or notes in the current book.
Q: How do you switch from one book to the next?
A: A Kindle reader (or program on a compatible device) will let you download multiple books onto the reader. If you tap the top left corner of the screen (on Kindle Paperwhite readers) it puts up an overlay menu of options.
Q: Is Internet required?
A: Yes, to download the book onto a device. Once the book is downloaded you can view it at any time without an internet connection.
Q: Are there Kindle readers with their own internet connection?
A: Yes. There are several Kindles that include their cellular based network so you don't need another Internet connection. The cost of the network is covered by the cost of the book, so if you buy a Kindle reader with WhisperNet, it won't have additional costs to use it to download books.
Q: Can I read a Kindle book without a computer?
A: If you go to a public library, most are equipped with computers you can use and include an internet connection as well. If you set up a Kindle account, and purchase a book, you can view the book on just about any web browser. Just log into your Kindle account and use the "Kindle Cloud Reader".  When you log in it shows you all the books you have purchased and all you need to do is click the title of the book you want to read.
Follow this link to log into an Amazon account on any computer.  Your books are not “downloaded” to the computer, so you’re not sharing them with others who use the same computer.
Q: What is the "Kindle Cloud"?
A: The Kindle Cloud is your account with Amazon and it holds all the Kindle books you have purchased. You can manage what documents you put on any device by downloading them from the Kindle Cloud. There is no charge to download them, but you need access to the internet to do the download. The Kindle Cloud always has the latest version of any book you have purchased.
Q: How readable is the screen?
A: That depends on what device you're using for a reader? If you're using a computer or tablet, it is identical as any other application. A Kindle brand reader screen is usually black and white and is easily read in good light (even direct sunlight). The Paperwhite reader can be used in a dark room since it includes its own backlight. 
Q: Can I read in sunlight?
A: All the dedicated readers with E-ink displays are easily read in full sunlight. Other tablets have a more difficult time. The LED or OLED screens require backlighting to compete with sunlight to get contrast on the screen. They perform much better indoors, but full sunlight makes most tablets hard to read.
Q: Can I remove a book from my reader?
A: Yes, you can remove any book from your reader. When you remove it from a device, it remains on your Kindle Cloud account, and you can download it again (at no cost) when you want to read it later.
Q: How many books can a Kindle reader hold?
A: That depends on the device. A Kindle Paperwhite has about 2gb of book space. The number of books it will hold depends on the size of each book. The theoretical number varies from 1,000, to 3,500 books. More than likely you'll keep no more than a few dozen on your device. Additional books you purchase will be available in your Cloud account.
Unless you use their “collections” option and move similar books into a “collection” you have to flip several pages of books to find the one you’re looking for. That’s why you probably won’t have too many books on each device.
Q: How many readers can I view my books on?
A: If you have several devices that support Kindle reader apps, you can download the apps and authenticate each on to your Amazon account, and see the same books. There is a limit of 6 devices (at time of writing this document).  This lets you have all the same reference material on a desktop PC, laptop, iPad, and even kindle reader.
Q: How do I select which book to display on the screen?
A: When you start the reader or go to the "home" screen, it will show you a list of the titles of each book currently downloaded. You can select anything currently on the reader, or switch to the cloud and download other books from your cloud account.
Q: How long does it take to download a book?
A: Not long at all. I have not seen one take a minute to download. Once it downloads the book, it indexes the book so the search feature will work. This may take a few minutes to complete.
Q: How do I keep track of where I stopped reading?
A: Kindle keeps track of where you stopped reading. When you go back to the book, it goes to the last point you read and lets you continue.
If you switch to a different device, Kindle will ask you if you want to continue with the furthest location read in the book.
Q: Can I make a book mark in a book?
A: Yes. Kindle lets you mark any page in any book and then review your bookmark.  You can jump to the desired location easily.
Q: Can I write a note on a page?
A: Yes. Kindle lets you write your notes (just like writing notes on the book margin).  They are stored on the reader and backed up to the Kindle Cloud. Another nice thing about Kindle is that your notes can be synchronized on any device you use as a book reader.
Something else a Kindle book can do is let you send a note back to the publisher about a typo or formatting error in the book. On the same menu for bookmarks, notes and dictionary, select “More options” and at the bottom of the page then select “Report Content Error” and type a note to the publisher about what’s wrong with the text.
Q: Kindle book updates and revisions.
A: One feature that makes a Kindle book far superior to a printed book, is that any changes or corrections that are made to the book, after it is published, can be delivered to the people who bought the original book. If we find errors or make corrections, we make the changes and resubmit it. Once the new version is online, anyone who has purchased the book can download it to their Kindle reader.
Q: Why do Kindle readers have such small screens?
A: Most readers are fairly small for convenience. There are larger screen devices, such as Kindle DX with its 9.7" (corner to corner) screen that is about the same size as an Apple iPad display. The DX includes the 3G cellular service so it can be used without WiFi Internet, as long as the device is in an area covered by GSM cellular networks.
Q: What is the difference between Kindle E-Ink and Paperwhite screens?
A: E-Ink is a black and white screen technology that only uses the battery when the screen changes. It can sit for days showing the same screen and not use the battery. That's why their batteries last for weeks before needing to be recharged. E-Ink displays use reflected ambient light, so they work well in well-lit areas, but require external lighting in the dark.
Paperwhite readers have the same E-Ink displays but include a backlight so you can read in the dark or in low light areas. You can easily set the backlight level from the top menu options. 
Q: How long do the batteries last?
A: The battery life depends on which model you’re referring to.
Kindle readers vary from several weeks on a single charge to 8 weeks depending on the device. If you turn off the wireless radio, it will make the battery last a lot longer. You can easily turn it on or off from the settings menu.
Apple iPad’s usually require a charge by the end of a day.
Android tablets also require a recharge by the end of a day.
Q: Newspapers and Magazines on Kindle...
A: Although this has little to do with Genealogy, Kindle supports subscriptions to popular newspapers and magazines and can download the current issue to your device automatically. Kindle is a way of keeping up with your magazines and newspapers from home, even if you're traveling abroad.
Q: Why didn't they just use PDF (from Adobe) documents?
A: Kindle readers can read a PDF document, but a PDF is a pre-formatted document, and assumes that the reader can handle the page size that the document is laid out for. For smaller screen readers, you have to do a lot of panning back and forth to read a PDF document.
Some PDF documents are simply scanned versions of the document, and don’t support search features.
Q: Free books on Kindle?
A: There are a lot of Classics available on Kindle for free such as, Sherlock Holmes, Dickens, Jules Verne, etc.  Search for free classics on Kindle. There are several versions of Bibles and dictionaries that are available as free downloads for Kindle users.
Q: How do I look up a word?
A: On a Kindle Paperwhite  Reader, press your finger over the word in question and it will pop up a dictionary or Wikipedia definition at the bottom of the screen. An active WiFi connection is required for this feature.
Q: Is there a web browser on a Kindle Reader?
A: Yes, but it is minimal and not a full featured browser like you would have on a computer.
Q: Why have we chosen Kindle over other formats to market our books?
A: Amazon is the biggest marketplace for books (and other products) and has sold the most eBooks and readers. They offer us the biggest chance to get our publications known.  They have Kindle reader programs available on PC desktop / laptop computers, Apple Mac computers, Linux computers, and most of the tablets and smart phones available on the market today. We may port our books to other platforms if a better way exists in the future.
Additional info on Kindle readers:
They are not waterproof and can break if you drop them. I would recommend buying a cover to help protect the screen when you're not using it. Also, many covers include a magnet that tells it to go to sleep when the cover is closed. Otherwise it will either have to time out or wait on you to hit the button on the bottom to turn off.
Amazon sells their Kindle Readers with or without their "Special Offers" which is their way of subsidizing the device cost by sending you advertisements. You'll see the display every so often on a new book or product if you go with the cheaper option. You can always buy the lower cost device and turn off "Special Offers" if the ads bother you, but it will cost the difference in price to upgrade.
Kindles vary in price from $69 for the basic 6" screen with WiFi, to $199 for the Kindle DX with larger 9.7" screen and 3G and WiFi options.
To see Amazon Kindle readers in a comparison table, follow this link.
Kindle, Whispersync and Amazon are registered trademarks of Amazon.
Apple, IOS, Mac, iPhone and the iPad is a registered trademark of Apple.
Windows and Microsoft Surface and are registered trademarks of Microsoft.
Heritage Papers - Kindle Books
We are working to get many of the more popular books printed by Heritage Papers converted to the Kindle book format.
There are other publishers who have scanned in similar genealogy and family history books and offer them online. When they use an automated process to make a Kindle book from a printed book, they use a process called Optical Character Recognition to convert the scanned image of each page into text. OCR is still evolving and often does not read and convert the text accurately.
When you're browsing Amazon looking for books, there is often an option to look at the book before you buy it. If you click on the preview option and see random characters on the screen, it was probably created by an automated process and not reviewed by a human before they published the book. So, preview all books before you buy them!