By Patrick Lucas Austin
December 26, 2018

Good job, you literary lover! If you were lucky enough to receive an Amazon Kindle e-reader for the holidays, chances are you’re a fan of books more than you are of carrying them around.

Amazon’s Kindle remains the e-reader of choice, and with support for books, audiobooks, and other documents, you can use it for more than just enjoying the latest bestseller. Here are a few tips and recommendations to get the most out of your new Kindle.

Get thee to a library

While Kindle books may often be cheaper than physical tomes, there’s one even cheaper alternative: A library book. And more than likely, your local library has its own digital library, offering a catalog of free and easily accessible literature.

To get these books on your Kindle, you’ll have to set up an account with digital library company OverDrive. Through your local library’s OverDrive page, you can download compatible ebooks and send them to your Kindle wirelessly. Like a normal library, you’ll be subject to loan periods, waitlists and borrowing limits. But it beats carrying actual books to and fro when you can simply download them to your device. And hey, no more late fees is a plus. All you need to get started is a library card.

Get some protection

Speaking from personal experience, no one wants to pull their gift of a Kindle from their backpack a few weeks later only to find it scratched up, or worse. You can get a case to protect the entire device, but you’ll have to deal with an accessory that detracts from the device’s aesthetic and adds to heft of if while you hold your Kindle up on the train, at the beach, or while waiting in line.

Instead of adding all that bulk, just protect the most important part, and get a screen protector. Thinner plastic options can protect your Kindle’s screen from minor scratches and scuffs from keys, pens, and whatever else you’ve got in your bag. A more durable screen protector, usually made from a hard plastic or tempered glass, will protect it from even more forceful accidents.

Share your favorite authors with friends

If you just devoured an amazing book and want to share it with someone else, that’s still easier with physical books. Sharing books you buy for your Kindle is a bit more complicated, but it’s definitely possible. You can share your latest read by visiting your Content and Devices page, a repository for your digital purchases on Amazon, selecting the purchased book you’d like to loan, and picking the Loan option. All you need is the recipient’s email address. The recipient doesn’t need a Kindle to read the selected book, so long as they have the Kindle app on their smartphone or other device.

It’s convenient, but the system isn’t perfect: Some books are ineligible for loan, you can only loan a title once, and while it’s on loan you can’t read it yourself. So be sure you’re giving a book to someone who will actually read it and not just nod along politely as you talk about your favorite chapter.

Take the web’s writing with you

Reading books is good and all, but you’re no doubt reading things on the Internet, too, and may even have a library of articles you’ve bookmarked and saved for later using a service like Instapaper or Pocket.

Services like Instapaper Premium and Pocket 2 Kindle (P2K) can send your saved articles to your e-reader for later consumption on a recurring basis, and even mark the ones it sends as read, so you only need to keep track of what you, well, actually read. It uses your Kindle’s e-mail address, which you can find on the Contents and Devices page.

Prime members get some books for free

If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, you can take advantage of benefits like Prime Reading, especially if you’re considering signing up for Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service. Prime Reading, like the more expansive Kindle Unlimited service, offers a selection of titles available to read for free, as long as you’re a Prime member. You’ll have access to over 1,000 titles, including popular and trending books that could satisfy your literary appetite.

Write to Patrick Lucas Austin at patrick.austin@time.com.

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