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My mum already has one and I know my wife won’t mind one either. The Amazon Kindle is a rather remarkable device – it’s superb for reading books at a really good price.

I love the idea of eInk and I think those people who think iPads are just as good have obviously not used one for any measure of time. When it comes to reading an eBook nothing beats eInk, and the Kindle is the best eInk reader.

Anyway, enough of the sell. Downloading commercial books is the easy bit.

What if you have want to do something different – say, put your own document onto it? How about getting free books onto it? Well, here’s my collection of the best free software around…

briss

An open source project, to create some cross-platform software that will quickly and easily crop PDFs. Why would you want to do that? Say, it’s a Word document converted to PDF – chances are it’s surrounded by a thick white border. Use briss to remove this before putting on the Kindle and it’s 100% easier to read!

K2pdfopt

If all that seems far too manual, there’s K2pdfopt which converts a PDF to images, optimises it for the Kindle and then puts it back to a PDF again.

PDF Split and Merge

This is one of those pieces of software that does exactly what it says it does – use it to modify PDFs by editing out sections or merging some together. Again it’s open source.

kindlebility

Not software this time but a “bookmarklet” – add their provided link to your favourites and the next time you’re reading an article and wish to read it on your Kindle, click the bookmark and it will send it to your Kindle via your Kindle email.

Hamster eBook Converter

A piece of software that will converts any eBook format to work on your Kindle.

calibr

After all that, how about something which does everything? Manage, organise and convert eBooks? calibre does just that.

eLibrary

An open source project still in its early stages, eLibrary will catalogue and organise your eBooks. It may be early days but the software looks very promising!

Duokan

Duokan is something different – a replacement OS for your Kindle. But it sits aside the existing Kindle OS rather than replacing it. It has a number of features that makes PDF viewing better and is particularly recommended for comic reading.

The original is in Chinese but an English language version has been released. You can read more about it here including further links.

Mobipocket eBook Creator

And when you get bored of what’s available, why not create your own eBook? Mobipocket produce free home and publisher eBook creator.

PrimoPDF

If you create your eBook in PDF format then you’ll have maximum exposure as it can be just as easily read on PCs and Macs. PrimoPDF is one of the leading free PDF creators.

Clippings Converter

Kindle users will know that there’s a way to clip portions of the book they are reading for future reference. These clippings get saved in “myclippings.txt” in the documents folder of the Kindle. Clippings Converter is a simple tool that converts these chunks of saved text into Word, Excel or PDF files for better organisation and other use.

Kindle Reader

A standalone piece of PC software, provided by Amazon, Kindle Reader allows you to read your eBooks away from Kindle device. Unlike the Cloud Reader, you can use this to read books offline.

Wordcycler

If you use Instapaper to save web pages for reading later then you may find Wordcycler of use. Sitting in your system tray it will automatically send Instapaper items to your Kindle when it’s connected via USB.

Auto Kindle eBook Converter

A simple piece of software, Auto Kindle eBook Converter converts PDF, Lit, and HTML files to a Kindle-friendly .MOBI format.

SENDtoREADER

Another useful JavaScript bookmarklet SENDtoREADER will send any web page that you’re viewing to your Kindle via WIFI.

Kindle It

In a similar vein to SENDtoREADER, Kindle It will also send web pages to your Kindle but this time it’s a Firefox and Chrome browser extension.

Greader2Kindle

Greader2Mindle converts your unread Google Reader items to .MOBI and then emails them to your Kindle via WIFI.

PDFMasher

PDFMasher assists in converting a multi-page PDF into a single flow document.

PaperCrop

PaperCrop converts PDF documents, such as articles and academic papers, into a PDF (or image sequence) so that it can be read on a small screen.

KDK Emulator

Still in progress, KDK Emulator is a Kindle emulator for the PC.

Alissa’s MobiHandler

A small program, MobiHandler adds the ability for Windows Explorer to handle .azw/.mobi/.prc files better; cover images are shown as thumbnails, and you can see the book titles and authors on the list of files. You can also see the Properties of the books.

And finally…

When you buy PDF eBooks from certain online retailers (for example, WH Smith) they are advertised as “PDF” – but they aren’t really. You get a download of an ACSM file, which you have to open through Adobe Digital Editions to download your eBook. Once it’s downloaded, it’s locked into Digital Editions, and there is no compatibility with the Kindle.

John O’Nolan has had exactly this problem and has worked out how to resolve it using a piece of software known as ePUBee.