Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual
Book Review

On April 4, 2012, in Book Review, Review, by Elisa Pacelli


Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual
Author: Peter Meyers
Publisher: O’Reilly
Price: $19.99 US print, $15.99 Ebook, $21.99 print and Ebook, $20.99 print CAN
ISBN: 978-1-449-31627-3
263 pages

The days of receiving a manual with a product are over. Some companies supply help by way of a PDF downloaded with an application. Others include a short Get Started guide that gives just the basics of the hardware. Amazon is no different with their Kindle devices, which is why Peter Meyers wrote Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual.

Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual covers everything you need to know about using the Kindle Fire, from setting it up, to watching movies, to reading books, even playing games and listening to music. The target audience for this book is someone like my father: he enjoys technology but needs to be shown how to use it until he’s comfortable.

The information in this book is laid out clearly and concisely in five parts, with each part based on a theme. Part 1 starts with taking the Kindle Fire out of the box, setting it up, and taking a tour of the device. Users new to a touch device don’t understand the concepts of cloud or swiping; Meyers uses simple language and lots of images to explain.

Part 1 continues with Reading Books, The Newsstand, and Documents and Spreadsheets. There’s a lot of important information about getting books onto the Kindle Fire and where to buy them. This chapter should be read slowly with the Kindle Fire next to you if this is the first time you’ll be using an Ebook reader.

The Kindle Fire isn’t just for reading, it’s also a great device for watching TV and movies, viewing photos, and listening to music. In Part 2, Meyers does a nice job outlining how to browse for content and get it onto your Kindle Fire. Again, new users should read this section slowly. Experienced users will certainly pick up a hint or two.

If web browsing and using email was part of the reason why you obtained a Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual has you covered in Part 3. While reading these chapters I visualized technophobes also reading these chapters with a deer in the headlights look on their faces. Don’t worry. Just follow the directions step by step as Meyers lays them out and you’ll be fine.

Part of the fun of using a Kindle Fire is adding apps. Meyers’s suggestions for games and apps in Part 4 is rather thin. I would have liked to see more variety and more quantity of apps, though I realize sometimes space constraints are an issue.

Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual ends with the Part 5 Appendixes: Settings, and Troubleshooting and Maintenance. Like Part 4, the Appendixes are a little thin, however it has useful information, like customizing the Kindle keyboard, that should be read after the Kindle Fire has been set up.

Meyers gives additional links throughout the book for readers to get more information. Rather than type each link separately in a web browser, all the links can be found in one spot here on the Missing Manuals web site.

A lot of what is presented in Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual is old news for an experienced user like me (landscape vs portrait mode or joining a WiFi network, for example) but for someone not technologically savvy, like my father, the details are a godsend. Veteran users who like how-to books may want a copy as a reference, but it isn’t essential. I recommend Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual to anyone new to touch technology, or who is a little fearful of setting up and using the Kindle Fire.

MyMac.com Review Rating: 8 out of 10

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