Sunday, June 20, 2010

Kindle Software v2.5.x Tip 06/20/10 - Subscriptions and Personal Docs

I'm a fan of the TeleRead website - News & views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics - and recommend dropping by the site if you haven't, for a treat.  Varied, stimulating reading.

While at TeleReadtoday, I wrote a reply to a commenter's question, which is one that is asked often on the Amazon Kindle forums since the slow arrival of the new Kindle software update, which allows user-customizable categories and folder-like organizers named "Collections."

  (See the Intro and Guide to v2.5.x Features for one quick way to get the update for your Kindle model if you don't want to wait for the slowly distributed wireless delivery to a few million, globally.  It includes a step-by-step walkthrough for downloading the software and starting Collections.)

  Because the Kindle owner is able to decide the type of organization that would work best for them, Amazon eliminated the older structure of pre-set folders at the top of the Kindle (hidden until one navigates there) that allowed us to view only "Personal Documents," only "Subscriptions" (Periodicals), or only books (the default was: all Kindle content).

  The whole idea of Collections or categories with the new software update is to give us more control over how we want to see certain types of material.

  Here's what can be done for similar filtering of views.

When you sort your Home page listing by "Most Recent First," the "Periodicals" folder (a pre-set 'Collection’) is always on the last page, as is the "Archived Items" folder, which holds the titles of books at Amazon you own which are not on your Kindle currently but can be re-downloaded at any time.

The process to get to "Periodicals" (Subscriptions) is sometimes a bit faster now, since cursoring up, up, up is quite slow on the Kindle.

Now, you would just look at the number of pages shown at the bottom for your Home listing.
  Example: Page 1 of 8

If it's 8 pages, and you’ve chosen "Most Recent First" sorting:
  type '8' on the keypad and you’ll see gray text come up that says to 'click’ (on the 5-way)
  Example: click to go to page 8
Do that and you'll be on the last page, which has Periodicals and Archived Items

If you’re sorting by Title (alpha) on the Home page, then type ONLY the first character (no more than that or you'll be taken on a long Search instead) of the title you want and you'll see that gray-text, this time saying
  Click to go to P titles
which, if done, will get you to the P's where you’ll find the "Periodicals" pre-set folder or Collection.

Otherwise, "Periodicals" and "Archived Items" are always together on the last page when sorting Home listing by either "Most Recent First" or by "Collections."

Personal Documents
Another pre-set category that some Kindle software v2.5.x users miss is the "Personal Documents" view, but that was always problematical before, with Amazon deciding what a personal document is.  It often didn't correspond with our idea of it.

  Books purchased from sites like or ( too often wound up in that folder, and actual personal documents could show up on the main book listing.  So, I prefer the current flexibility.
  The Kindle owner now decides what to designate a Collection or folder for any type of book or document.

  In fact, you can make a Collection titled Personal Docs and put ALL your personal documents in there as well as add each one to more topic-oriented Collections.

The new system is flexible when we remember that any book or doc can "belong to" a few Collections.

Wrinkles and Features
The latest issue of any periodical or subscription will show up on the Home listing, even when viewing by Collections sort, and the older issue it replaces will be put by Amazon into the Periodical pre-set Collection.

The latest blog overwrites (removes) the previous one and will always show up on the Home page listing.

Hope that helps some!

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  1. Thanks for pointing out the existence of the 'Periodicals: Back Issues' collection.

    Unfortunately this feature does not do anything for me - I don't subscribe to anything from Amazon apart from 'Amazon Daily', which doesn't get archived and therefore the Periodicals collection never shows up. The feature does not manage my calibre newsfeeds. It was nice to have all of this (Amazon Daily and calibre newsfeeds) tucked away on the Subscriptions view without my having to do anything. And at present, because calibre flags its subscriptions as 'Subscription', they can't be put into a Collection (I'm sure Kovid will fix this eventually..). Not a big deal, but it offends my aesthetic sensibilities a bit since I can't get my HOME list to be as clean as it was before.

    And while it's true you can create your own Collections for what used to be classified as 'Personal Documents', it is a maintenance task I didn't have to do before. And it seems to take one or two extra joystick moves on average to open the item I want to read, given how I have come to organize things (everything I can put into a collection is in one of 5 or 6 I've created, and I pretty much stay with Collections as my HOME).

    Grumble, grumble. I'm just about used to it now, but it seems there was some regression in the quality of my user experience in return for Collections.

  2. To Grumble, Grumble :-)

    I much prefer the freedom and flexibility I have now but yes, Kovid will find a way.

    RSS delivery flags it as a subscription too, but I imagine he can 'hide' it somehow :-)

    With freedom comes more work on our part. That I expected and I like the results.

    I don't want only a few collections that, when opened, give me LONG lists of titles. So I prefer more collections. That's an individual thing and that's what's good about this user-customizable stuff, in my own view.

    - Grumbling back :-)


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