LDS Apps for the Kindle

by: Mormon Heretic

December 27, 2010

I was really happy to receive a Kindle for Christmas.  It was fun to take it to church yesterday and open up my new digital scriptures.  I wanted to see if anyone here got one of these, and wanted to share my impressions and LDS book selections.

I got the 3G model–the one with free cellular access.  The Kindle is about half the price of the iPad, and I do a fair amount of reading, so I figured it was a good deal because you could get web access.  I found that the web browser works better if you turn the Kindle landscape rather than portrait mode.  (In portrait, it’s really hard to read.)  The web seemed a little slow, but acceptable.  I noticed the Web browser is under “Experimental Apps”, so it doesn’t have all the kinks worked out yet.  If you’re reading a normal web page, it’s a bit tough, but if the website has a mobile version, that works much better.

With my model, you can choose WiFi, or 3G (cellular) access.  WiFi is faster–the 3G frequently had trouble accessing pages on the web.  When I got bored in priesthood meeting, I decided to look for the Gospel Principles manual.  For some reason, the church seems to have completely ignored the Kindle, (I’ve never found the church to be on the cutting edge of technology.)  I found an LDS eLibrary for $9.99.  (Is it breaking the Sabbath to buy LDS apps on Sunday?)  It has a pretty impressive selection of books, including essential LDS study manuals such as:

Standard Works
-Bible Dictionary
-Topical Guide
-Index – Triple Comb.
-Guide to the Scriptures
-Joseph Smith Translation (Excerpts)

-Gospel Principles
-Hymnbook
-Children’s Song Book

If only I had discovered this prior to purchasing the LDS Scriptures (Kindle Edition) for $9.95 the day before.  Now I have 2 sets of scriptures!  However, this version is a bit easier to navigate and read than the eLibrary scriptures, though it is missing footnotes, topical guide, etc of the eLibrary.

I did find some cool free or nearly free items such as

So now I have a bit of a dilemma.  While Kindle books are often much cheaper than new real books, you can find used books for quite cheap, and I have a lot of those I haven’t read yet.  I was hoping that with some of these books in digital format, I might be able to copy them for excerpts of book reviews, but I haven’t figured that out yet.  (Help anyone?)

It seemed to me that the web browsing was a little sluggish, but I was astonished how quickly the books downloaded.  The ability to change font sizes was nice.  I wasn’t really fond of the navigation tool on the web, but it was certainly fine for book navigation.  The Kindle comes with a dictionary, so you can position the cursor on any word.  I got a chuckle when I positioned the cursor on “Ether” in the Book of Mormon.  The dictionary definition said,

a pleasant-smelling, colorless, volatile liquid that is highly flammable.  It is used as an anesthetic and as a solvent …

So, does anyone have any impressions of the Kindle or book recommendations for the Kindle?  Any cool tricks you’ve learned?

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26 Responses to LDS Apps for the Kindle

  1. diane on December 27, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    I don’t know, maybe its’ the English major in me, but I still prefer to open a real book. Something about turning a page, on a computer you just don’t get the same feeling nor do you get the same smell. But that’s just me.

    Enjoy your new toy.

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  2. jmb275 on December 27, 2010 at 8:04 AM

    Congrats MH! I got my Kindle in September right when the 3rd generation came out. I got it primarily to read conference/journal papers as well as several textbooks that I have in PDF form. It works okay for most of that, but the Kindle DX would have worked better.

    I think the Kindle was built to read kindle books. That’s the bottom line. Yeah it reads PDFs okay (if they’re formatted big enough to read), and it can browse the web, but not really very well. I’ve found that trying to do things outside of reading kindle books makes for a bit of a clunky experience. Reading scriptures on the Kindle is fine if you just read them. If you’re referencing, and scripture chasing, for me it was less than ideal. Similarly, reading PDFs is fine if they’re formatted well enough. But if you’re reading two-column journal papers it’s a big pain!

    I have come up with quite a number of tricks. If you can re-post your question more clearly I’ll see if I can help (I didn’t quite get what you were asking for).

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  3. Andrew S on December 27, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    And, for any of y’all who’ve recently gotten Blackberries, iOS devices, Android devices, or webOS devices (oh Palm…), LDSTech has the Gospel Library as a free app.

    Sorry for hijacking the kindle discussion :)

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  4. mh on December 27, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    diane, I agree that it takes some getting used to the kindle. however, you would be surprised how it really does look like paper. when I first opened the package, I thought there was a sticker on the screen, and was surprised that I was seeing the actual display. you can add bookmarks, notes, and underline, but I haven’t figured ouit if you can copy and paste text. does anyone know?

    jmb, I am looking for any ‘tricks.’ for example, viewing the web in portrait mode is highly unsatisfactory. I decided to try to turn it landscape, and it was much better. if you have any usability tricks like that, I am all ears. (can you copy and paste text?)

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  5. jmb275 on December 27, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    The easiest way of copying/pasting is via the “My Clippings” notes that are kept. When you’re reading a book/article, you can easily use the 5-way to highlight a passage and/or make a note about it. These are kept in a file called “My Clippings.txt” that shows up when you plug your kindle into your computer. Alternately, you might be able to do some sort of wireless copy/paste by uploading your highlighted passages to facebook and then copying/pasting from there.

    Other tricks I know of involve tricks for helping with reading PDFs. For example, when you have a kindle, you get an email address that you can send documents to that get transferred via “whispernet” to your kindle. If you download these documents via Wifi, they’re free (over 3G it costs money). This is nice so you don’t have to plug your kindle into your computer every time you want to transfer a document to your kindle. If, when you send an email to that address, you put in the subject line “convert” it will convert your document (PDF, .doc, etc.) to a Kindle book format. This makes it really nice because the you can read your personal docs as if they are a Kindle book. But your document needs to be pretty easy to convert. Most of my documents have lots of math in them, so the conversion is usually not too good.

    Additionally, if you do use it to read a lot of PDFs there are some nice free PDF conversion tools that can help you change margins, etc. to make it easier to read on the kindle. I find reading PDFs in landscape mode works pretty well (I read the Ensign on my Kindle in this way).

    Finally, there are several “homebrew” hacks that you can make to give your Kindle added functionality. I have looked at them, but none of them have been compelling enough for me to bother with “homebrew.”

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  6. mh on December 27, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    thanks jmb. that is exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for. how are you finding the ensign for kindle? I haven’t found that.

    andrew, don’t worry about hijacking the discussion for androids etc. I got my wife an android phone, and don’t mind if this turns into a tech discussion. though I doubt my wife will want to read scriptures on the small screen of her phone.

    I have to say that I was impressed that the wentworth letter was free, and there were some cool mormon books to choose from.

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  7. Stan on December 27, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    I have a Nook which uses the standard e-pub format. Sounds like it is easy to convert formats for the Kindle.

    For copy and paste, I would try the Kindle app available for your computer.

    While you’re on your computer, take a look at Calibre. I don’t know about how well it works with the Kindle, but for the Nook and most other ereaders, it is a fantastic book management, format convertion, web site e-bookification (Oh! I’m going to trademark that word!) etc… If you get ebooks from sites other than Amazon, Calibre is great.

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  8. Bishop Rick on December 27, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    I don’t have a kindle, but do have an iPad. The LDS Gospel Library has everything the church puts out. All scriptures, music, magazines, manuals, pamphlets, guidebooks, conference talks (text and video). There is literally a hundred different tools in the library and it is free. Hopefully there is a kindle version of this…maybe this is what you have.

    The iPad does cost a lot more, but you can do a lot of stuff with it like cut from a book and paste into your blog using the WordPress app, which is also free.

    My iPad was provided to me at no charge from my job, otherwise I probably would have a kindle. I’m still debating getting my wife a kindle.

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  9. Stephen Marsh on December 27, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    For my itouch, I have the gospel library, the net Bible, ward tools, LDS Tools, and Citation Index and … istake, which can connect to the database and give you directions to anyone in your stake. Pretty nifty. Most are free or very cheap.

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  10. worm on December 27, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    Some additional favorites of mine that are available for Kindle:

    – Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman
    – By the Hand of Mormon by Terryl Givens
    – Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses by Richard Lloyd Anderson

    I have not yet read these ones:

    – Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction by Richard Lyman Bushman
    – The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction by Terryl Givens
    – Approaching Zion by Hugh Nibley (surprisingly expensive for a Kindle book)

    Zarahemla books ( http://www.zarahemlabooks.com/ ) has very cheap Kindle versions of some of their offerings.

    This isn’t LDS-related, but http://www.feedbooks.com/ has nicely-formatted versions of a lot of public domain books.

    Also not LDS, but if you like science fiction or fantasy, you might find something you like at http://www.baen.com/library/

    (That publisher also includes CDs with lots more ebooks not found on the site with some of its hardcovers, and the CDs are legal to copy.)

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  11. adamf on December 27, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    I got a kindle too! I love it. The coolest thing I think is just being able to read a book on my iPhone while I’m in line somewhere or waiting for whatever, then read some more when I’m on my laptop (in class, don’t tell anyone! lol), then pick up the kindle at home right where I left off. So cool.

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  12. jjohnsen on December 27, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    Diane, I’ve been an avid reader my whole life and thought I’d never like the Kindle. It took me about a week and I haven’t touched a paper book in almost a month. It isn’t like reading off a computer screen or phone screen. It looks like a printed page.

    You don’t know how great it is to finish one book in the middle of a trip on the train and be able to start right in to the next of ten choices of books without going to a bookshelf, a library or a bookstore.

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  13. jmb275 on December 28, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Re MH-
    If you go to the church’s website you can download the ensign in PDF form. Go to http://lds.org/ensign?lang=eng
    and click on the little PDF icon for the whole magazine (it’s at the top).

    Then you can just email the PDF to your kindle email address and it will be whispernetted to your kindle (but be sure you’re on Wifi if you don’t want to be charged). Otherwise, just plug your kindle into your computer and drag and drop.

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  14. Jana H on December 28, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    “Diane, I’ve been an avid reader my whole life and thought I’d never like the Kindle. It took me about a week and I haven’t touched a paper book in almost a month.”

    Agreed on this. I was not a believer, really, but got a nook on a Black Friday deal ($100) that seemed great for reading free classics at my own pace (no library due dates).

    I’m totally sold on e-reading, and it only took a few weeks.

    As an aside, I use LDS Scriptures app on my iPod, and find it much easier to navigate than the e-pub versions of scriptures. It just takes seconds to go from scripture to manual to Ensign and back. Read a hymn in there or listen to audio scriptures in the middle if you want. Heavy electronic scripture study at the “speed of light” probably works better with an iPad/iPod, I think. But for reading straight through in the traditional manner, e-pub scriptures work just fine.

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  15. wreddyornot on December 30, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    My first-generation Kindle got handed over to my daughter when I got a second gen DX. My wife got a second gen regular Kindle at the same time. Recently, when helping my invalided wife into the car with her oxygen, etc. I left my DX on the trunk. I forgot about the DX and several hours later had to run to the store. I forgot the DX and didn’t heed a honking neighbor’s warnings (just thought he was being exuberantly friendly). When I pulled onto the highway, traffic was tight and fast-paced. As I pulled out and floored it, in the rearview I saw the DX go flying. I immediately moved over and did a U-turn asap, but had to pull over and watch a hundred cars drive over the DX without hitting it then a semi run right over it. I’ll be ordering a new Kindle directly.

    Anyway, I first got a Kindle because I wanted in retirement to eliminate having to move my physical library of over a thousand books collected and kept to whereever me and my wife wanted to go. So with my purchase of the Kindle, I purchased a guillotine paper cutter and high-speed scanner. I’ve despined over 500 books and fed them through the scanner. It puts them in pdf format. Some books I want in other than pdf format (mobipocket) so I run them through omnipage. Sometimes I’ll spend time making hyperlinks, etc. in Word and then use mobipocket to convert them to Kindle compatible.

    At conference, I copy talks off the net into word and make hyperlinks (of course I could just use the 3g to go to lds.org, but it’s nice not to have to do that). I download manuals with the links in them and then in classes I can turn on the 3g and the links will work.

    I like to listen, too, to the computer-voice reader at times; it helps me concentrate and keep on track when I am tired or could get distracted. Of course, I have some favorite songs to listen to when I read, too.

    Since I’ve got to replace my Kindle I’ve thought about replacing it with an iPad or another of the devices mentioned above. While there are good reasons to own something else which are totally valid, at this time for my money and needs, I think I’ll likely stick with the Kindle. It is a nice warm fire and is kind.

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  16. MH on December 31, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Sorry to hear about your old Kindle….Big bummer. At least the new Kindles are much less expensive.

    De-spining the old books must take a considerable amount of time–wow!

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  17. Bishop Rick on December 31, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    MH, In case you are following the science and religion series, I found Flatlander in both iBook (Apple) and Kindle formats.
    And both formats are free.

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  18. Mormon Heretic on December 31, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    cool–thanks–I will get those.

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  19. Mormon Heretic » The Wentworth Letter on January 2, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    [...] posted my initial impressions of the Kindle over at Wheat and Tares.  One of the coolest “books” I received at Amazon for free was the Wentworth Letter. [...]

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  20. margret goodman on June 9, 2011 at 6:22 AM

    I found the Ensign downloads but it is every article separately. Anyone know how to do it in one step per month? or is there an electronic subscription through Amazon?

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  21. Isaac Godfrey on December 27, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    If you are like me, you may have found epub version of everything on the official chruch site. You probably also now that kindle does not support epub. I created ldskindlembi.blogspot.com to fix this. Everything there can be downloaded to your kindle free. Its a comunity service, not an official church thing. Hope this helps all lds kindle users out there.

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  22. LDS Docs on January 4, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    2013 Curriculum
    If your interested the following Church Curriculum is available in the Kindle and EPUB (Nook) formats. See the following Blog: http://lds-docs-on-kindle.blogspot.com/p/available-documents.html

    Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual
    Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Class Member Study Guide
    Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow

    Youth (These are released monthly)
    Come, Follow Me: Aaronic Priesthood (JAN)
    Come, Follow Me: Young Women (JAN)
    Come, Follow Me: Sunday School (JAN)

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  23. Chad Banks on January 21, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    LDS Scriptures Premium has the standard works, magazines, manuals, gospel art and hymns. It features bookmarks, highlighting, taking notes, adding your own content and search. You can listen and watch the Mormon Channel. http://www.amazon.com/LDS-Apps-Scriptures-Premium/dp/B0073X77Y4/

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  24. Dan Greenley on February 3, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    If you go to Amazon play and type lds into app search there all kinds of free apps pertaining to the lds church including lds tools free scriptures that include all the magazine’s and all of the manuals and hymns all free. There are games and other items all under lds.

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  25. Dan Greenley on February 6, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    I WOULD REALY LIKE TO GET A VERSION OF CITATION INDEX THAT WILL WORK ON THE KINDLE IF ANYONE KNOWS HOW TO GET IT.

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