If you want to use a Kindle, you have to get books onto it. It does come with a USB cable, and you can load books from your computer. I haven’t tried that yet, because the USB cable also charges the battery, and, in the interests of battery life, I’ve wanted to let the battery pretty much completely discharge before I charged it up again. I’ll let you know how that works later. (This also gets into the issue of ebook formats, and I’ll get into that later, too.)
Right off the top, probably the quickest and easiest way to get books onto your Kindle is if you can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi. As previously noted, if you have a private network and know the password, it can be a pain to enter, but you are in. If you are in a Wi-Fi hotspot, things can get a bit trickier.
You can try and “Shop in Kindle Store.” You can “Sync & Check for Items.” (Both of those are on the “home” page menu.) Maybe it will work. Maybe it won’t. Neither of them like hotspots that do redirection. Many times they will simply tell you that the function requires a network connection. (Sometimes the Kindle will tell you that the function requires a network connection, but you will also see indications that books are actually being downloaded. It’s hard to tell for sure whether you are connected and can actually do anything.)
The Kindle 4 (my version) has a Web browser, which you can get to via the home page menu, under the “Experimental” entry. It definitely is experimental. It will not open links, if those links are set to open in new frames, tabs, or windows. (It tells you that it can’t open the link because it doesn’t support multiple windows, rather than just opening it anyway.) If the hotspot does redirection, the browser might go to the redirected page if you ask it to connect to a site, or reload a page. On the other hand, sometimes you will try to fire up the browser in order to connect at a hotspot, and the Kindle will tell you that it can’t open the browser because you don’t have a net connection. Helpful, that.
(The Kindle seems to ship with the wireless enabled and on. I tend to turn it off, when I’m not actually downloading or “shopping,” in order to a) save battery, and b) keep from radiating all over the place. I don’t know how many people will know that they can turn it off from the home page menu.