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Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reading Documents on an iPad, Kindle or similar device


I recently posted about my experience with checking out an online library book. Unfortunately, there are as yet few genealogically related documents online for "check out" from online library sources. But there are millions of such documents on websites such as Google Books, Archive.org and the HathiTrust.org. For an example, here is a citation to a genealogical publication:

New England Historic Genealogical Society. New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston: Samuel G. Drake, 1847.

Volume 19 of this publication for the year 1865 is online on Google Books. This journal is completely searchable and if you were interested in reading all or any one of the articles you could do so in a variety of ways:
  • You could simply search and read the document online at Google.
  • You could add the document to your library on Google and automatically add the document to Google Play, Google's app for iOS and Android devices and read the document on your iPad, Kindle or desktop computer. 
  • You could download the document as a PDF file and add it to any other service, such as iBooks on the iPad. 
  • Add the PDF copy of the document to your Kindle account by sending the PDF file to Amazon.com via your Kindle email link. 
All of these options are fairly easy to use. Google Play is Google's media service to compete with iTunes and Amazon.com. Depending on your particular device, you may have to research the method of adding personal files, but for Kindle, when you register your Kindle account, you get an email address to use to add personal documents. You have to go online to manage your account, but if you email the document it appears in your personal document list and you can then download it to whatever device you use.

I use an iPad, but I also have the Kindle app, so anything appearing on my Kindle account can be downloaded to my iPad. The same thing works with any document from any other online collection of digitized books. For example, I can find a book on Archive.org, download the PDF version and then move that to iBooks from Apple or my Kindle account. To put the document in iBooks, I have to use iTunes and add the document to my "Books" as a PDF file.

I can't give instructions for each device and operating system, but the underlying principle is the same for all devices; you download the file in a format recognized by your device and then move that file onto your reader using either an app or an online service such as Google Play or Kindle.

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