Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to manage Personal Documents with the new Kindles

As we saw on our last post, with the new software update all Kindles have access to Amazon´s cloud, and can now sync not only eBooks, but also personal documents.
We found a great thorough article about this on Andrys Basten´s blog: A Kindle World Blog, not only it goes deep into how the new system works with personal documents, but also explains how to make it 100% functionally and free:

As many now know, since Sept. 30 and with the Kindle Keyboard software update to v3.3 on Oct. 13, Amazon has made notable, long-requested improvements to the Personal Documents feature, upgrading personal documents that you send to your Kindle, from 2nd-class status to having the regular features that Kindle books have. 
Those first-class features include sync'g your reading between devices, having them archived at the Amazon servers, and showing their titles in your Kindle's Archived Items folder when the personal document is no longer on the Kindle, for future re-downloading to any of your Kindles as needed.  (You can also disable the archiving & sync'g features.)
Personal docs are, generally, any file that is not a Kindle book and they're usually files we've personally put on our Kindle -- either by transferring them from computer to the Kindle, via the USB cable that comes with our Kindle's power cord or by using our email to send the file to our Kindle (which is given a "Kindle email address" for that purpose, in the form  [your nickname]@kindle.com . 

  For example: My Kindle 3 address is andrysk3@kindle.com -- and no one can use it to send documents to my Kindle unless I approve that person's email address for doing that.  Approval for others to send docs to your Kindle  can be registered by you at your amazon.com/manageyourkindle page.
Any file that we send to our Kindle by email goes to the Amazon servers where it is converted to Amazon format before Amazon gets it ready for download to the Kindle.
  Once you've made that special nickname-email address for your Kindle, you can specify that you want to send a personal file to your Kindle email address WITHOUT using the "3G" cellphone network feature.  Why? - because there is a 15c per megabyte fee to use 3G for sending personal docs to your Kindle.  (See 'What are "3G" and "WiFi?".)
  Amazon pays for 3G cell-phone type data-access and they charge back 15c per megabyte of a file for that reason.
   Sending files via WiFi networks doesn't incur a fee, as WiFi is local to us, in our home, or at work, or at a cafe or other public place that allows access to one, and Amazon doesn't have to pay for that.
   The new Basic Kindle with No Keyboard and No TouchScreen is WiFi only, so there's no way to incur a fee with that.
When would you find yourself using 3G instead of WiFi?The Kindle 1, Kindle 2, and larger DX models use ONLY 3G  wireless access for downloading books or for going to the web.  The Kindle 3 (UK: K3) ("Kindle Keyboard") uses both 3G and WiFi.
Making sure you send the file for free
The TWO ways you can get the file to your Kindle without using 3G are:
  1. Send it to [your nickname[@free.kindle.com (note the "free" part in the link) which will let you download the converted doc file or book using a WiFi wireless network at home, office, or a place like McDonald's or Starbucks instead of using 3G wireless  OR
  1. When Amazon notifies you that your converted emailed-file is ready for download but you have no WiFi network access, download it to your computer at the manageyourkindle page and then transfer the file to your Kindle by using the USB cable.  In the past we've been able to download it from the link given in the Amazon email-notice that the converted file is ready.

In both cases, you've emailed a personal document file to Amazon for conversion to Kindle format so that it can be on the Kindle.  That sending of the file: 
  1. makes your personal doc eligible for the regular features which include sync'g between devices, archiving on the servers, and
  1. you can choose to download it to the Kindle via WiFi or to your computer via USB cable, specifically designated for your Kindle, as mentioned.

One quick tip: if you are big on reading PDFs, make sure you convert it to the Kindle format if you want to have the benefit of accessing Amazon´s cloud and storing clippings (beware, this conversion will get rid of any special format that the PDF has). If you don´t care that much about saving your notes, or you never do it anyway, just leave the PDF format intact and read it in a landscape mode, It will maintain it´s structure (important with some documents which formatting is crucial).



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