Wi-Fi plans for the Kindle

If you were fortunate enough to receive Amazon's Kindle as a gift recently, you may be wondering how to download books and magazines onto your new eReader.

As small and lightweight as a paperback, the latest version of the Kindle can store up to 3,500 books and lasts up to a month on a single charge. With a matte screen and no backlighting, the Kindle is designed to look and feel like reading paper, not a screen.

In Australia, over 580,000 English-language books are available to choose from, plus magazines and newspapers, and book prices are relatively low.

It's these attributes that make the Kindle so attractive to booklovers, over a multifunctional iPad or netbook computer.

What do I need to download eBooks?

The Kindle is sold in two versions. The first has built in Wi-Fi only, the second has Wi-Fi and free 3G. Currently, the Wi-Fi Kindle retails at US$139 and the Wi-Fi plus 3G Kindle costs US$189. Amazon also has a Kindle with a larger screen, the Kindle Dx, for $379.

If you have the Kindle (Wi-Fi), you will need a high-speed broadband connection and wireless router at your home. In order to download a book, you simply connect to your wireless broadband network.

On the Kindle, you can do this by selecting 'Settings' from the main menu, then select 'View' next to 'Wi-Fi Settings'. Select 'Connect' to connect to your network and you will be asked for a password, if one has been set.

Wi-Fi plans

If you don't already have a broadband plan, setting up a high-speed broadband connection may be less costly and much simpler than you thought. eBooks do not need as much data as a movie or a TV program and a paperback of around 250 pages translates to around 400KB. This means you will only need a light plan, unless you want to do more with your internet than download eBooks.

TPG has a $9.99 plan with 10GB available (5GB in the peak, 5GB in the off peak), which would be enough to download eBooks, browse the internet and check your email. This plan is bundled with a $30 a month home phone line, so the total monthly cost is $39.99 for both services.

There is also a set-up fee of $79.95 for 18-month contracts and $129.95 for a six-month contract. This is one of the cheapest ADSL2+ broadband and home phone bundles around at the moment. Give us a call on 1300 106 571 for more details on this plan.

Alternatively, Spin has a 5GB plan for $19.95 when bundled with a $29.95 home phone service, with no set-up fee on a 12-month contract. Spin has an Australian based call centre, which you can call on 1300 381 277 for more information.

Once you have signed up to a plan, you will need a wireless router/modem in order to create the Wi-Fi network your Kindle needs to connect to the internet. You can buy one in an electronics store or from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) you sign up with.

Kindle 3G

If you have a Kindle 3G, you have built-in 3G connectivity to the internet with an AT&T SIM card. Although you won't be able to surf the web on this connection, you will be able to download eBooks over the 3G network, wherever you can get a signal. Amazon pays for the 3G connection, so there is no subscription. This is a good option for travelers or for those who have no need of an internet connection at home.