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Duke Libraries Kindles: Basic Operating Instructions

Getting Started, Searching for a Text, Troubleshooting


Getting started:


Turning the Kindle on and off.

To turn on the Kindle, slide and release the power switch located on the top left edge of the device. 

To put the Kindle in sleep mode, slide and hold the power switch for about 4 seconds—a screensaver will appear. To turn the Kindle off, hold the power switch until the screen turns blank.

User Guides: There are two instruction guides on the Kindle:

Kindle DX User’s Guide and  Kindle Shortcuts and Kindle-Friendly Websites.

Press the Home button and scroll through the list of titles to find these guides or press Menu and Search.

Guidelines for using the Kindle:

Please do not change settings, remove titles, or buy titles on the Kindle. Please request new title purchases by logging on to or emailing


The Kindle screen is not backlit; therefore, you will need to read the Kindle under a light.

Home button, Menu button, 5-way controller, and Text Key (Aa)

Home displays a list of titles stored on your Kindle as well as titles stored in the Kindle Archive.

Menu displays application and navigation choices that are related to the screen that you’re viewing, such as Search, View Archived Items, Turn Wireless Off, and options for navigating to different sections of the book you’re reading or accessing a description of the book.

5-way controller is a button located between the Menu and Back buttons which when pushed up or down or side-to-side allows you to scroll through screens and select titles and actions by pressing the button.

Text Key (Aa) is located on the bottom right corner of the keypad and is used to select font size, screen rotation, and the Text-to-Speech audio feature.

How to Sync & Check for Items

This feature allows you to check for new titles that have been downloaded to the device. From the home page, select the Menu button.  Use the 5-way controller to underline the option, then press the button.

How to turn wireless on and off:

On the home page, select the Menu button.  Use the 5-way controller to underline ‘Turn Wireless On/Off’ and then press the 5-way controller.

Screen rotation:

The Kindle will automatically select portrait or landscape display based on how the device is oriented when you are holding it.  You can also set your preference for screen orientation by pressing the Text Key (Aa) and choosing the Screen Rotation.

How to charge the battery:

There is a cord in your Kindle case. Plug one end of this cord into an outlet and the other into the USB/power port located at the bottom of the Kindle. The power adapter at one end of the cord detaches, so you can also plug it into a USB port on your computer to charge the Kindle. You can read the Kindle while charging.

How to find a description of the book:

Select a book and then choose Menu.  Use the 5-way controller to underline Book Description and  press the 5-way controller to view.  Alternatively, scroll down to a title and push the 5-way controller to the right to bring up the Book Description choice.




How to Search:

How to select titles to read:

Press the Home button to display a list of titles.  Move the 5-way controller up or down to scroll through the list of titles and press the 5-way controller to open the title.

How to search for titles on the Kindle:

On the home page, type in a word or title (the search box appears automatically), then press the 5-way controller.

How to find archived titles:

Amazon keeps an archive of titles that are available on your Kindle, but have not been used recently. These titles can be re-downloaded quickly on the Kindle device. On the home page, press Menu, and then choose View Archived Items.

How to go to the cover, table of contents, or first page of text:

After opening a book, press menu, move the 5-way controller up or down to select one of these options, and then press the 5-way controller.

How to search for a word within the text:

To search for a specific word, hit the space bar and enter text in the search box.  Then press the 5-way controller.

How to type numbers in the search box:

Hold down alt + the number.



Special Features:

How to change the size of the font:

Press the Text Key (Aa) located on the bottom row of the keyboard to display the text size choices.

How to turn on text-to-speech functionality for the device to read the book aloud:

Press the Text Key (Aa) on the keyboard.  Use the 5-way controller until ‘text to speech’ button is underlined.  Press the 5-way controller to select ‘turn on’. You can also select a female or male voice. There is a jack for headphones on the top edge of the device and a volume control on the upper right-hand edge of the Kindle.

How to look up words in the text in a dictionary:

Use the 5-way controller to place the cursor in front of the word you want defined.  A definition of the word appears at the bottom of the screen.  To view the full definition, press the return key on the keyboard.  To return to the text you were reading, press the Back button.

To search for a specific word in your reading material, hit the space bar, enter text in the search box, and press the 5-way controller.