Print this Post

How eReaders Will Save the Internet in SHTF

How eReaders Will Save The Internet In SHTF

kindleAs you are reading this, you have the biggest source of knowledge at your fingertips (literally): The Internet. Almost anything you want to know or need you can research or acquire through the web.

But what happens when a massive catastrophe knocks out communication and power? At that point all those information sources we have accepted as normal become unavailable. And when you are sitting in your bug in/out location and the emergency generator goes out, do you know how to repair it? Do you have the basic knowledge on how an engine works? You won’t be able to look up the repair manual on the internet or order the spare part if there is no power or all the communication lines are down, so you need an alternative.

Or can you tell the difference between the real flu (which can be deadly) and flu-like symptoms caused by the common cold? Do you know how to treat the symptoms with what you have at hand? We all have to admit that beyond our job and every day life skills, there is a world out there that is a thousand times more complicated than we can ever imagine, especially in an emergency scenario. And for the most part, what we don’t know only hits us once we need to know it.

What every prepper needs is a vast amount of knowledge at hand. You need the Internet in a pocket so to speak. But how do you carry a library around? If you are in the fortunate position to have space, you might be able to store books that contain the knowledge you need, but that is impractical for many reasons: inefficient use of space, lack of mobility and lack of workable search indexes just to name a few. The solution is an eReader. Note that I said eReader, not tablet, laptop or computer. While it can’t hurt to have all of these, it is the eReader with the black and white paper like display that makes it the perfect knowledge survival tool.

Let me explain why:

  1. Depending on the type of eReader, you can put anywhere from 1000 to 3000 plus books on it. You will be hard pressed to find a more efficient way of storing that much information is such a small amount of space. If you would have to store that many books in paper form, it would take up a large amount of space, which might be at a premium in your bug in/out location. They are also hard to relocate, in case moving becomes necessary. If you have ever moved a large amount of books in a regular household move, you know what I am talking about. Last but not least, an eReader gives you the capability to search all your books for specific keywords. If you need information on spark plugs, just enter the word as a keyword in the search function of the eReader and it will show you all books and their pages that contain the word spark plug. Convenient.
  2. Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer a large amount of free books to download. You will be able to start building an extensive survival library without having to purchase the books. If you want to see what is available for free, you can go to Amazon and enter “free Kindle books”, which will return thousands of results. There are over 1200 books available for free in the “technical & professional” section, which includes books about physics, chemistry and biology as well as books like “How and when to be your own doctor”. Overall, both book stores offer thousands of books for free for their respective devices.
  3. The eReader can also display standard PDF documents. You can turn anything that you have personally written down into a PDF and put it on the eReader. That can include locations to your caches, repair manuals of all your personal equipment, and maps of the area surrounding your home. Many products offer free product manual PDFs on their website. You can download these directly to your eReader.
  4.  With a price range of anywhere between $50 and $200 depending on type and storage size, these devices are extremely affordable, making it possible to purchase backup devices for each members of your group to have one.
  5. An eReader is extremely light and sturdy. With a protective case, it is unlikely that the device will accidentally break. They can also be carried around anywhere you go as they fit into virtually in backpack or cargo pants pocket.
  6. Storing books on the eReader also has one big advantage over just accessing the Internet. Certain literature is hard to impossible to find on the web for copyright reasons and is only be available in book form. This is especially the case for out of print books.
  7. Lastly, some eReaders will give you rudimentary web browsing capabilities, obviously minus animations or videos. But it will work perfectly fine to access some basic webpages if a WiFi connection is available.
While nothing may ever replace the "reliability" of paper, the Kindle Paperwhite is the closest electronic equivalent. Boasting 8 weeks of daily use INCLUDING using the backlight, the Paperweight can be charged using a USB solar device like the Goal Zero Switch 8.  It does all of this with a 1420mAh.  Simply put, a 3-4 hour charge on solar gets you weeks of usage.

While nothing may ever replace the “reliability” of paper, the Kindle Paperwhite is the closest electronic equivalent. Boasting 8 weeks of daily use INCLUDING using the backlight, the Paperwhite can be charged using a USB solar device like the Goal Zero Switch 8 or Poweradd Apollo 7200. It does all of this with a 1420mAh. Simply put, a 3-4 hour charge on solar gets you weeks of usage.

I know that a lot of people will ask about the need to power such a device, just like a computer or tablet. Depending on the SHTF scenario, power might be hard to come by. This is where an eReader is more beneficial than a tablet or computer because it works differently. Laptop (or desktop) computer or tablet display all use backlit LCD screens. The hardware needs to constantly refresh and light up the screen, no matter if the picture itself is static. Lighting the screen is a big energy hog. On the other hand, the black and white screens on an eReader function through a completely different concept. These e-ink displays only consume energy when the screen changes. So, for example, when you flip the page in a book the eReader uses energy just to change the page. While you read the page, the reader only consumes the minimal energy required to detect key pressing to flip the page. As a result, the battery on an eReader can power the device for weeks before it needs to be recharged, as opposed to merely hours in a laptop or tablet. Some e-readers have a background light for the screen that makes it possible to read in darkness, which obviously uses energy constantly.  Even these use power so sparingly you can expect weeks of use.

Because eReaders use very little energy, they can easily be recharged with a small solar powered charger. For example, for you can purchase a solar charger from Poweradd that will keep your eReader or other USB powered device charged. You can also purchase a crank charger if you don’t want to be dependent on sunlight for about the same amount.

In terms of flexibility to store information an e-reader is a perfect information device. If you ask me which device I would recommend, I would tell you to get the Kindle from Amazon. It is simply the best e-reader out there with a large library to draw from – Amazon. An alternative is Barnes and Noble’s “Nook”. However the Nook has a much lower market share and was already on the brink of being discontinued. If you already have one, you can obviously stick with it. There are other eReaders out there with equally capable hardware but they do not have the large selection of free books because they are not supported by Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Filling those up with books might prove an expensive endeavor.

So for a little over a hundred bucks you can have a quickly accessible SHTF library.  Long lasting and easily searchable.  While it is important to keep critical information in a form that doesn’t rely on electronics, having a “working copy” that contains literally tons of books in a package that weighs less than a pound is a convenience you can enjoy even in a total grid down scenario.

SHTF Information Technology Packages– Just pair an eReader with a solar or crank power source in the below links.


Amazon Kindle– The least expensive kindle, $69 with “ads”, $89 without. Something tells me ads won’t be displaying in SHTF.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite– The latest version.  It adds the super efficient back light. $119 with ads, $139 without.

Barns and Noble Nook Simple Touch– Equivalent of the Paperweight, adds a micro SD card reader, something missing on the kindle. $75

ktorSolar and Crank Generators

Poweradd  Apollo 7200– Simple rugged design with built in battery will charge the paperweight about 5 times on just one charge. $32.99

Goal Zero Switch 8– Larger solar array can charge your eReader in a few hours. $75.78

K-Tor Emergency Disaster Kit A combo of with both hand crank and a pedal powered generator.  Pedal power will be the quickest way to charge any of the devices.  $234.95


The Tin Hat Ranch would like to welcome Mr. O, our latest contributor. He brings us the unique perspective of prepping from an IT background. In this article he explains how the simple eReader can not only save necessary information but also how it a PRACTICAL electronic device for a grid down scenario.

Check out the Tin Hat Ranch’s Dueling Giveaways, we are giving away a Polaris Ranger AND $1,000 worth of survival gear, click here to learn more!

Permanent link to this article: http://tinhatranch.com/how-ereaders-will-save-the-internet-in-shtf/

8 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. Top 20 SHTF Barter Items…and Why. » TinHatRanch

    […] Information- You know all of those how-to books you own?  While I am not really suggesting to barter the books themselves, I am suggesting that stocking up on how-to books now may pay huge dividends later.  Obscure situations that need solutions will pop up every day.  If you have a book that shows you how to solve one of these problems you may now barter your services for any one of the above items.  While not a replacement for the more “reliable” paper version, eReaders can store a library in a 6 ounce package.  Click here to check out our article on how eReaders might be invaluable. […]

  2. Prepper’s Guide To Grid Down Power » TinHatRanch

    […] devices like eReaders, portable computing devices (from a small tablet up to full size notebooks), radios, […]

  3. Getting Out of Dodge in SHTF with Google Maps » TinHatRanch

    […] document as well. This way, you can save and view it on an eReader like the Kindle or Nook as well. As I mentioned in an earlier article, I suggest you have one of those in your B.O.B. as […]

  4. Prepper’s Guide To Grid Power Down | ROGUE PLANET

    […] devices like eReaders, portable computing devices (from a small tablet up to full size notebooks), radios, […]

  5. 7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Survival Tablet - Preparing for shtf

    […] 7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Survival Tablet […]

  6. 8 More Reasons Every Prepper Needs an eReader - TinHatRanch

    […] few months ago we had an article on how eReaders will save the Internet in a grid down situation.  I didn’t write the article, Mr. O did.  He opened my eyes to the […]

  7. Baby Steps into Solar - TinHatRanch

    […] we know all of you have a at least a cell phone, or lap top, or e-reader, or GPS, or… you get the idea, we thought we would start by recommending a few solar […]

  8. This is How eReaders Will Save the Internet When TSHTF - My Blog

    […] via TinHatRanch […]

Comments have been disabled.