Thursday, September 2, 2010

Some tips and cautions on using a new Kindle, Also, a gmail shortcut

The photo at the left is by "legendarypoet" and I was struck by what a beautiful b&w shot it is, of a b&w e-reader.  Click on the image to see his original, or click on screen name to see his photo page.

I spent time yesterday, by request, taking more comparison photos of font and text differences between the Kindle 3 and Kindle 2, and I'll get some up later on.

  I'll touch instead this morning on some subjects that have come up in comment-areas here and in topics being discussed on the various Kindle forums.

FULLY CHARGE A NEW KINDLE
One thing to know as you open the Kindle package is that you can read on the Kindle while it's charging.  Give it a full charge when it's new -- it usually takes about 2 hours, as it already has some battery life remaining.  Mine was halfway down.  The bottom LED light turns a bright, solid green when done.

Q & A
HOW WILL I MOVE KINDLE BOOKS FROM MY OTHER KINDLE TO THE NEW KINDLE 3?
Amazon's few instructions (in an email you receive before getting your Kindle and instructions ON your Kindle) are brief but well written and cover most of what you need.  On the Kindle, the guide is named "Transferring Your Kindle Content" - and since your books and subscriptions content is in your personal area/library on Amazon's servers, you'll need to have the Wireless turned on in order to access those servers.

  For newcomers: With the Kindle, that's done by pressing the Menu button and selecting the topmost choice, "Turn Wireless On" -- and of course that slot toggles the choice, to turn it "Off" -- to conserve battery power.

  You can purchase books from Amazon with your computer while waiting for your new Kindle, as Amazon pre-registers your Kindle and gives it identifying info you can modify later under Menu/Settings).  All books you've bought earlier will already be in your Library, and new ones will be added to it and also sent to the Kindle you designate as the receiving Kindle.

  For more information, see Amazon's help pages for getting files to your Kindle - "Transferring, Downloading, and Sending Files to Kindle."

Archived Items folder/collection
ON your Kindle 3, the "Archived Items" folder/collection that is created by Amazon lists every book you've received from Amazon which is not currently on that Kindle.  Believe it or not, getting one or more archived books onto the current Kindle takes only two steps:
  1. Click on the title of a book you want and then
  2. Press the "Back" button to get back to your place in the Archived Items listing so that you can choose the next book you want transferred from your Amazon-server library to your Kindle.

    You don't need to wait.  Click a title, press Back button
and keep doing this for each archived book that you want transferred to the new Kindle.

Collections for multiple-Kindle owners:
Be sure to get ALL the books you want transferred BEFORE you "Add Other Device Collections" to the new Kindle.

  The books will NOT go into the Collections you previously made for them on another Kindle UNLESS you get the books onto the new Kindle first.
  AFTER that is done, click to add Collections you made from another device.

    The Collections that are then imported from what you created for another Kindle device will check the new Kindle for the books that you had associated with the Collection earlier and then include those in the appropriate Collections on the new Kindle.  If you import the Collections before getting the books, they'll see nothing to include, as that checking is done upon arrival at the new place.

BATTERY CONSIDERATONS AND "INDEXING"
On a new Kindle, there are usually quite a few books added, especially for the ones bought by owners of other Kindles.  It's important to know that for each book you add to the unit, there is a time-consuming "indexing" process that puts words from the books into a database of key words that you can search, either within a book or on the entire device.

  This process is a real battery drainer and is one reason that new Kindle owners are often disappointed to see their battery indicator showing faster drain than they'd expected.
  If it gets too low (below 25%), certain things can't be done and it'll seem more unstable and at the least will start complaining at that point with strong alerts about the battery.

For best results: Keep the battery high - it's not the type of battery that needs or wants to be brought to 0 as the old types were.

  Here are Kindle battery advisories collected from the Kindle Customer Support team at the Amazon Kindle forums.

WILL MY BOOKMARKS, HIGHLIGHTING AND NOTES BE TRANSFERRED FOR EACH BOOK?
Expert Kindle user Fool for Books has created a special message thread at the Amazon forums to ALERT previous-Kindle owners to a problem you could encounter when transferring books to your Kindle via your computer instead of using Wireless, whether 3G or WiFi.

The secondary file that holds your bookmarks, last-page read, and annotations for a given book has the filename extension ".mbp" or ".tan" (the latter '.tan' files are for "Topaz books" which are specially formatted Kindle books that use embedded fonts and are tightly controlled by publishers hoping to control the look of each page and also thwart copyright theft.  These files have tended to cause problems for Kindle readers (we can't change the font sizes or line spacings), including various freezes and sometimes unsightly, large fonts with huge line spacing, and they sometimes seem to use more images as pages than the usual book.  But if you've made annotations, you'll still want to have them.

See the thread that Fool for Books created, and regularly updates, to read how to make sure these secondary files get on your Kindle.  Essentially, it means copying each secondary one to your Kindle "documents" folder but it's best to read the details and tips that Fool for Books and others in the forum community offer.  There is good advice in general there for setting up a new Kindle.

The thread also reminds you that you can't just copy a purchased Kindle book file from one Kindle to another one.  These book files are given unique keys at Amazon for a specific Kindle unit and can't be used on other Kindle devices.

EMAIL - Specifically GMail
The usual mobile-device-optimized sites for GMail worked well on Kindle 2 but seldom work on the Kindle 3.  Even the full Gmail site, which Amazon gives us a Kindle 3 bookmark for, looks good but doesn't work well.  The mobile optimized ones can fail to load certain pages on Kindle 3 while the full site does not allow us login-input that's recognized.

  A recommended URL of http://mail.google.com/mail/x works for me on the Kindle 3 only when I have sufficient memory remaining after experimenting with many websites.

  One time it required a reboot, which I did manually with Menu/Settings/Menu/Restart. (NOTE: Stay away from Factory Reset unless a customer rep is working with you on it, as it gives you a clean slate, which means no books!)

  A Restart can also be done by holding the power slider to the right for about 15-20 seconds and then letting it go -- it restarts after awhile.  It's not a harmful 'cold reboot' and is often recommended by Customer Service to clear memory and give a fresh start.  For me, it's always worked after I overexercised the web browser at very challenging sites.

  "Bill" commented that the recommended GMail URL above is working for him again  Lately, that one has worked for me each time, and for another commenter also, and I've given it the shortcut http://bit.ly/g_mail.  Note that there is an underscore between 'g' and "mail" (not a space).
  Curiously, it doesn't work for me on the computer, sending me to the Accounts page instead, probably because I have more than one acct on the computer.

  Bill also found his dependable URL for Google Tasks not working and then noted that a successful one went to "https://mail.google.com/tasks/android?/source=mig&gl=us&hl=en"
  So, I made a shortcut for that also, requiring less typing on the Kindle:
  http://bit.ly/g_tasks -- again, that's an underscore not a dash.

REBOOTS REPORTED
Some Amazon forum members have reported odd reboots when just reading a book or looking up a word.  Because two of them interpreted this as meaning Kindle 3's in general are buggy and titled a message thread with that generalized 'self-determination,' those without problems were hard on them.  Customer Support at 1-866-321-8851 is replacing any units with recurring problems like that after a Restart doesn't fix the problem (usually a one-day replacement), as it shouldn't happen at all, but there are a couple of message threads for those who aren't having problems to try to judge how much this might be happening.  Anyone seeing a problem should call Customer Service.  They've been watching the forums and contacting customers, offering to help one guy who said his was fine :-)

    UPDATE: 9/6/10
Tony Reynolds, an Amazon forum member, recommends writing kindle-feedback@amazon.com if your Kindle 3 is having any freezes or reboots.  Give them your phone number.  These tend to be routed to the development team.  They continue to be proactive on this and have installed an interim test patch on some of those Kindles with success on what seems most so far, but not all.  One customer said that the rep she talked with suggested a possible modem problem and another rep said they think it has affected about 3% of "millions" sent out.  That's an off the cuff statement paraphrased, but it was interesting as the 2nd time I've heard that number-word quoted.

 I've taxed my Kindle 3 but it hasn't given me problems except for the usual web browser idiosyncracies and hesitations that the Kindle 2 always had when I pushed it (as usuasl) on web browsing.  That is categorized as 'experimental' for a reason.

INVALID CERTICATE ALERT
I've received this alert at the DearAuthor site but if I indicate it should be ignored, the browser just continues on.  At one point when it said the Kindle couldn't load the rest of a page, I told it to just continue anyway, and there was no problem.

KINDLE OWNER MOVEMENTS   (I just found this amusing.)
Something else to watch for.  Now that the power slider is on the bottom of the unit, one columnist said this morning that he places his Kindle on his lap, more or less vertically, and finds he's been shutting it off inadvertently when he moves :-)
 The worse that happens there is that the Kindle goes into Sleep mode. But it definitely must be disconcerting when you're actively reading a book rather than falling asleep.

There are a lot more tips on all the new features to mention here too, and I'll be doing that, so check back.  I also want to report on the reaction to the new Sonys also.


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's)   K3 Special ($114)   K3-3G Special ($139)   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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29 comments:

  1. Easier way to add items from Archived Items, right-click on the 5-way, and click down to select "add to home" … don't have to use the 'back' button at all.

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  2. Anonymous,
    I've tried that and find it too confusing because you have to time your next click well.

    Not too fast for the next click and not too slow to prevent messages.

    I get things like suddenly being brought to another page or having the book opened and then the titles I choose are black again instead of faded which is how they should look while downloading and I had to twice re-do them to get them to completely download.

    With the Click and Back, it was seamless for me. And a 150+ took only a few minutes. It's now even faster (by quite a bit) than the MangageYourPage way which doesn't give you feedback in the style of lightened text and if you want to see that you sent it to the right place after selecting one of two or more, that needs scrolling.

    I linked to the Loading thread though, so people can see the myriad ways of doing it, but this is my own favored way as it didn't give me confusing pages if I waited a couple of seconds.

    Thanks for adding feedback here.

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  3. By the way, Anonymous, either way takes two clicks and I don't mind pressing Back button as the 2nd step. I get a clean Archived page showing me the ones in progress or gone (done)... and I don't worry about timing.

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  4. Andrys,

    First, great blog! I really enjoy your posts and you influenced me to make the Kindle dive after swearing that I would never abandon tree books.

    Second, I am the original poster who made the "self-determination" that the Kindle was buggy ("Confirmed....the Kindle 3 is very buggy" on the board).

    After having worked extensively on a borrowed K2 and a DX, I was surprised that the quality of the product that I received (2 K3s that would constantly crash) was so lackluster and the indifference/lack of disclosure on the issue from CS after several calls.

    As you can see from my original post on the Kindle forum, there are a lot of users with the same issues that I am having.

    2 replacement Kindles arrived today and I am crossing my fingers. CS made it right in the end.

    Happy reading and I hope your flooded home has recovered OK!

    Kind regards,

    vnrooster

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  5. vnrooster,
    I'm stymied why you'd actually characterize Amazon's Kindle Customer Service reps for "indifference/lack of disclosure" ... I've followed the threads closely.

    Customer Service reps are phoning people who write about a problem on those threads to see if they can help.

    They are either replacing units immediately OR asking to test to see whether they can fix a problem remotely, asking for 2-4 days to find what they felt might be a solution.

    In J's case, although she was demanding a replacement because others were getting them, they thought they could get her non-responsive WiFi problem solved if they had some add'l information to use.

    As it turns out, they did solve it remotely, she's very happy, and they gave her a $20 book credit for her time. And this is good for the rest of us if we ever run into that.

    Many of us haven't run into these problems as of now, though we have had the units since the 27th.
    Word is they're working on a firmware update as is usual after a x.0 software version while replacing units they feel are just not functioning correctly. Unfortunately, they have a hard time keeping K3's in stock due to the high interest and also good experiences of others. I am pretty sure there was a problem batch though.

    Their policy (one exception reported and the person probably talked to the wrong customer rep as has happened) is to have you keep your current one while they send a new one in a day or so and then the other should be returned to them. That's always been true and one reason the Kindle gets good word of mouth.

    This one seems to depend on the unit or a batch of them since there are so many who haven't seen problems. Web browser stalls on complicated sites -will- occur and did with the Kindle 2 and Kindle 1 in connection with the experimental browser, as they put it. But any other problems need immediate attention and are getting it, from my detailed read of all the threads, including both positive and problem ones.

    That CS would actually call customers to offer help from problems mentioned on a forum is not, to me, "indifferent" nor is it lacking in disclosure. They accept there is a problem for some users and Kindle 3's and they're either replacing or solving them in a quite proactive way.

    Hope you have better luck with the replacements. It's no fun to get units that don't function right.

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  6. When should the status bar be showing on my new Kindle3? Section 1.5 in the User's Guide states: "At the top of every screen, you see Whispernet and battery life status indicators to keep you in the know."
    The status bar with these indicators does not display on most of my screens. When I change to a new content title, the first screen that displays has the status bar, but when I page forward or backward, the status bar disappears. Is my Kindle performing properly, or should it be showing the status bar on every screen as suggested in the Guide?

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  7. rara-avis,
    This is considered a new 'feature' -- the title, Whispernet, and battery life status indicators are shown only on the first page you're reading. After that, I think they decide you don't need to see that on every page.

    BUT if you press Menu at any page, you'll see the status line above.

    The guide for the Kindle 3 actually says it will not automatically display on subsequent pages. Make sure you have the right Guide. It's downloadable for use on your computer (readable only on the Kindle) at

    http://bit.ly/3-kdoc.

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  8. rara-avis,
    I forgot, it's also readable on Kindle for PC or for Mac as well.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Perhaps you've answered this in previous blogs but I am new to Kindle and your blog. I am an avid public library book reader and my husband just bought me the Kindle 3 for my birthday, thinking I could get the ebooks transferred onto the kindle and then I could read the ebooks without having to come and go to the library. I tried to load directly onto the Kindle (as I did an audio book straight onto my ipod) but it wouldn't allow it. Is there a way I can transfer it from Adobe Digital Editions (what the library uses to transfer/read the ebooks) on my PC to the Kindle? Thank you!

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  10. Elizabeth,
    The Kindle doesn't read ePub files, which are the bulk of public library files but more importantly, it doesn't work with Adobe Digital Editions.

    If you have a good Overdrive collection of e-books at your local public library, and you're interested only in public library books, then the Nook or the Sony would be better matches for you.

    If you're interested in free books, Amazon has about 20,000 of them from which you can download any and you're also able to download direct any of Project Gutenberg's 30,000 free books and there are a few other avenues besides, including Internet Archivess' million+ texts (they have Amazon formatted books in Mobi or Pro format). If you keep the Kindle then I'll let you know how you can do any of this.

    Also available are about a million free books from the free Google books collection, which includes unusual texts from universities worldwide but those come in ePub, which a company converts to Kindle for free and then gives you a link to download it for your Kindle.

    Others can convert the books themselves with a free utility in about 3 minutes.

    But if it's only contemporary books you want to borrow from the public library (there's usually a long wait on them and some cities have more of a selection than others), then your best bet is another reader.

    Amazon has about 50 free NON-classics available for download temporarily at any time, most of them promotional for a time, some headed to the bestseller paid list eventually or are from authors who want to promote interest in their latest book.

    They also have also a top100 listing of free books for your Kindle, a mixture of contemporary and classics.

    Best selling books of today tend to be only for sale, though.

    The Nook is not as good a reader (less direct with dictionary and annotation features and general navigation) but you can borrow books from the library and it's a nice-looking unit.

    Check out the special free offerings that I link to at the bottom of each blog entry to see if anything interests you for the Kindle.

    Also, you can join the Kindle Community's humongous thread on how and where to get a million or so free books for your Kindle. You can read and participate at http://bit.ly/kbooksites.

    But from the sound of your note, what you want is either the Nook or the Sony readers.

    If you, on the other hand, are interested in reading newspapers, or magazines available on the net, on your reader, for free with a web browser, anywhere that you happen to me -- if your husband brought the 3G/WiFi version of the Kindle -- the Kindle is is the only reader that can do that and it does it worldwide for free.

    Others here find that they've found new authors who have promotional free books or books for less than $3 and some authors have become bestselling authors out of nowhere after being discovered by Amazon's Kindle readers.

    I'll be interested in what you find as you explore and what you decide, but it seems the public library books are probably your only interest for your e-reader, so it would not be the Kindle.

    Hope the birthday was a good one otherwise :-)

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  11. OK, I have the new Kindle 3 (the 6 inch model) and it is wonderful and marvelous and many other good things. I have an e-book library of about 3,000 titles, mainly of authors who are, like me, well past their use-by date.
    So let us say I transfer 12 books by Margery Allingham to my Kindle in .txt format. Done that and to make it easy to get them in order have them entered as:
    Allingham, Margery The China Governess.
    Click on it and I am reading. Works like a dream.
    But, but I want more. What I want to do is create a folder which is Allingham, Margery on which I click and this leads to a display of the loaded books. Then I find the book.
    So the opening screen has a stack of folders each folder representing one author.
    I have printed out the quite excellent manual but cannot find a way to do it. Any suggestions?
    Gareth
    garethaid@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gareth,
    With the Kindle, 'folders' are called "Collections" and you can make one for each Author.

    Before I type much more, please see the Guide & Intro I did when "Collections" became possible with a software update called, at the time, v2.5.x for the Kindle 2.

    That general guide to new features, which your Kindle-3 also has, is at http://bit.ly/kv25xintro#guide.

    The specific portion on how to do "Collections" is at http://bit.ly/kv25xintro#docollect.

    Give that a look, and if you have any problems with it or more questions, you can add that here or at the blog article that explains collections.

    Good luck! There's a trick there too, for alphabetizing the collections, but later on that...

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  13. I asked for help in loading books into folders. The response was immediate and, most important, worked. I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer and am much in your debt. It is a wonderful machine. Yes, I would like a bigger keyboard but, as in all things in lie, you have to accept the odd compromise. I think the Kindle is fantastic. And this Blog is at the same standard. Thanks. Gazza in Sydney

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  14. I don't know, Gareth. You seem very sharp to me!

    Yes, that keyboard is not built for speed but some want to get rid of it entirely! I use it constantly.

    Thanks so much for letting me know that the guide was clear enough to help and that you're happy with what the Kindle can do and that you enjoy the blog :-).

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  15. Well... round about every blog posts online don't have much originality as I found on yours.. Just keep updating much useful information so that reader like me would come back over and over again.

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  16. Victor,
    I'm not sure whether that was good or not :-) Not much originality, or not as much originality? It's tough for us to be original, that's for sure! Thanks for the feedback either way.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is where I get picky. I am as happy as a clam - why do they use that imagery? -- with my Kindle 3. I do NOT want it to do more but I would like the indexing page to show some style in layout and type-choice. At the moment it is clunky. (In Australia one would say 'ugly as a bucket full of bumholes' but I am not that vulgar and will not use such a term.)
    Is it possible to redesign that page so that, in fact, it looks as if it has been properly designed.
    Gareth Powell who is in Sydney and is, perhaps, a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

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  18. congratulations: you are doing a great job on this blog Andrys!
    greeting from an italian happy kindler!

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  19. ilfakiro,
    Thanks very much for the nice words - it's good to know you're enjoying your Kindle over there.

    Visited your country in 2006 and loved it. Enjoying Italy 2006

    It IS good, also, to know that some enjoy blog entries like Tips and Cautions....

    Thanks for taking the time to let me know!

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  20. Andrys,
    When I was out in California packing up to return to Florida, my KDX went bonkers. I was reading fine, hit the next page button, and display went nuts. KDX was still otherwise working so I was able to copy the whole kindle file structure via USB to my laptop.

    Next day back in FL, I called kindle support, and they rushed me a new/refurbished KDX (well it looks new next to my beat up old one :-)). Kindle support was fantastic -- another good CS story to add to the pile.

    Chores and work back home have kept me from transferring old to new until today (I've been rereading my Rex Stout Nero Wolfe print collection in the interim).

    I did, however, get a lot of info on how to transfer books, collections, etc from an old kindle to a new one. Almost all of that deals mostly with stuff bought from/through Amazon.

    Almost half of my KDX content comes from non-Amazon sources (mostly PDFs). I'm assuming that the backup copy of the old kindle on my laptop can be used to recover this material simply by copying the 2 relevant files for each title into the documents folder on the new kindle.

    I do wonder if the collections restore will capture these non-Amazon titles correctly. The new K4PC didn't do so good with collections when I tried it a while back.

    Anyhow the new one is charging up for a bit (it booted ok), and I'll start the transfers presently -- let you know how it went.

    My main point in doing this comment is to suggest (:-)) adding some instructions to this post on how to restore/copy non-Amazon material, and non-book material (pictures, music, audio books, etc) to a new kindle. I can't be the only one who shops in non-Amazon demesnes.

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  21. Ed,
    Also, The Collections feature, when updating where books are while sync'd includes (in my case) my many non-Amazon books.

    While Amazon keeps a record of what is in those collections AND includes the non-Amazon books (in a file under the "local" Kindle's "system" folder "collections.json" -- maybe hidden on some computers that are set to hide system files but there is an option to unhide them).

    It's seen via the file manager under your Kindle "drive" when you have your Kindle hooked up via USB to your computer, and it looks like this:
    [kindle]:/system/collections.json

    Looking at this another way -- On the same level as 'root' which sees 'documents' you'll see "system" also ... Under the system 'folder' you'll see "collections.json" but you have to have the old Kindle to be able to see what that is.

    Amazon doesn't keep the non-Amazon books info on its servers -- they're in this file on your Kindle. It should be backed up along with your book files that are under 'documents'...

    You wouldn't have known to back it up maybe?

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  22. Ed,
    I inadvertently deleted my FIRST note to you when trying to delete the imcomplete 2nd note which I redid and which you can see here. Here is the first note again. Very sorry for the confusion:

    ===
    "Ed,
    Didn't know you were out here. Southern Calif maybe?

    Anyway, please see my http://bit.ly/kwcollections (How to use Collections). It has this paragraph in it:

    "Collections can be transferred across registered Kindle devices and you'll be able to import collections from your other Kindle devices under the Archived Items page, using "Add Other Device Collections."

    It's important that your first Kindle be KEPT active for this to work. So if you've copied your old files from your computer, you can go to the Archived Items folder and 'Add other Device Collections' and the template will be added (wireless has to be 'On' of course) and the books wll then go into the proper collections.

    If you already deregistered the old one, this won't work, although you maybe COULD register the old one back and do this -- but you'd have to have it in hand.

    Call Kindle Customer Service if you don't have that Kindle anymore. 866-321-8851

    Good luck on this.
    === End of inadvertently deleted note ===

    For some reason all this works better if your new Kindle has the Amazon books downloaded (and non-amazon books copied over from your computer first) if you put the books on the replacement Kindle first.
    Amazon books would of course be re-downloaded through the Manageyourkindle" page.

    The collections.json file described in the 2nd note (already posted here) is the key to being able to include, in added-back Collections on your newer replacement Kindle, the non-Amazon files.

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  23. I've always been a pretty good technology troubleshooter, and as such I've always been sensitive to the fact that any seemingly simple technical task might take 22 minutes or 22 hours to complete.

    I was expecting the kindle transfer to potentially not be smooth -- so I delayed it until I had a solid day available (today :-)). I needn't have bothered. Unbeknownst to me Amazon had gone ahead and registered my replacement kindle to my account when they shipped it. They also provided made up email addresses for it.

    So upon start-up the new kindle was ready to go with all my Amazon-bought stuff ready and waiting in the archive. So CS was above and beyond their already fantastic performance.

    As to collections: all that stuff about the JSON file I already more or less knew. Back when collections first came out, I had had an extensive conversation with Kovid about how collections might be factored into the Calibre environment. Back then we knew about the JSON file, but not its precise format, and (more importantly) how the JSON file was transferred/synchronized with the Amazon archive so it was decided not to do much with collections in Calibre.

    When collections were added recently to K4PC, I went ahead and tried it out. It got the names of all my collections correctly, but it messed up with some of the titles being in the wrong collections (as I recall these errors were with Amazon-bought titles). Since it appeared to be a bit flaky, and I didn't use K4PC much, I just put it on my infinite todo list (and pretty far down on it as well). I have not yet gotten back to it to determine exactly what was wrong.

    That experience did, however, make me a little chary that the collection transfer from old to new KDX might not be done correctly. I haven't done it yet -- I'm following your advice, and will only attempt it after all the items on the old KDX have been transferred to the new one.

    Since there does not appear to be a bulk title download from the archive (what are people with thousands of books supposed to do?), that will take a while.

    In the meantime this afternoon I decided to Google "kindle collections json files calibre", and discovered that people have learned enough about the JSON file that there are now at least 3 utilities that allow one to create a set of collections (create a JSON file) offline and copy that to your kindle. This allows (for a given set of books) different collection sets merely by copying the relevant JSON file into the appropriate location on your kindle.

    Two of these utilities are of particular interest. One is a Calibre plugin (I haven't yet read the documentation -- so I don't know exactly what it does). The other one is a web service that, when pointed at a folder structure, will use that folder structure to create a JSON file containing collections that match the folder names in the structure exactly.

    It has always been possible to create an arbitrary folder structure under the documents folder on your kindle. The kindle software has always ignored this structure and dealt with all folder contents as if they were at the root of documents.

    With this latter web service you can point it at the documents folder on a USB-attached kindle, and it will create collections in a JSON file matching whatever folders underneath documents you have chosen to create. Pretty neat -- now you can have almost real folders that are mapped into kindle collections. I don't know what it does with nested folders -- I'll have to try it out.

    Use the google expression from above, if you are interested in the details, or look at the wiki in the mobileread forums.

    BTW my new kindle is a B005 (replacing a B004).

    Yes, I was in SoCal (San Diego) for a wedding. Got up to LA to visit my Alma Mater (Occidental College). I thought I had shared some of the details of my trip with you and Bufo on Google+. Oh well ...

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  24. Oh, and I still have the old KDX -- it's still registered to the account (hopefully only for a day or two more).

    I don't want to make too big a deal of this, but it is (I guess) a useful dry run for when the new tablet comes out (any day now -- tomorrow is September already!!).

    One of the PC magazines is listing the Amazon tablet as #2 (behind the iPad2) on their list of 10 best tablets of 2011. Golly, we don't even know what it is yet, and already it's at number 2?

    I am beginning to worry a bit -- this could after all turn out to be Amazon's "Vista" moment -- I sure hope not!

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  25. Thanks for the added info. Since you hadn't mentioned adding the Collections from your other Kindle, I had no idea whether you knew that feature was available so I described it, especially if others have this dilemma.

    Not personally interested in doing Collections via the utilities but always glad to know utilities exist, so thanks for looking those up and taking the time to mention them here.

    My K4PC collections transferred fine so I guess there was a glitch on yours. I just wish there was the flexibility in PC4K Collections-display feature that we have with the Kindle.

    As for people with thousands of books kept on the local Kindle, I think programmers would stay away from making thousands of redownloads automatic because of the battery-hammering this would cause with indexing being done for all those books at the same time they're being downloaded. It would confuse users if processes had to stop for lack of memory etc., and they'd wonder why it took forever.

    And then there's the matter of using Amazon-paid 3G for this where the Kindles before Kindle 3 are concerned.

    I think it's a waste to have thousands of books on, locally, when you can have the titles appear in Archived Items, with any title READY for immediate download upon the click of a title.

    It would slow down the Kindle due to all that indexing and keeping track to redownload thousands at a time. I still fill up mine due to loving to have encyclopedias on hand. But with novels? One would never have to be reading all those books at one time so why not, only as needed?

    Since the Amazon purchases are on the Amazon servers and linked to in our server libraries, it's all kept. With a faster device and much more memory for storage and functions I can see keeping thousands of books on hand, but not with a small 4gig eInk reader, although the marketing says one can hold up to 3500+ books on it. Nice idea. Unwieldy.

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  26. Ed,
    I think they're positioning Amazon's future tablet based on a basic, decent (but not news-making) tablet which will do the minimum (probably no cameras) within a very dense ecosystem of products already in place for it (which the other tablets don't have).

    They don't have to make a stunner and they can't afford to if everyone wants a cheap tablet. But everyone I've talked to already wants one, based on what they know of the Amazon system, its bargains, warranties, and general Kindle (at least) customer service.

    The (what are described as) leaks have resulted in a ramping up of interest so that they will probably sell plenty out of the gate unless they produce, somehow, a bad tablet, and I would imagine they are taking as much time as possible so that doesn't happen.

    Their Kindle product has been relatively stable (except for the non-lighted case problems last year).

    I've felt they would need to take time because Android tablets and Honeycomb version are just not 100% yet -- there are problems they are working out. Am hoping more of that is solved first. And there are the Android vulnerabilities to viruses to be careful of too. Amazon's main audience is not the technically-heavy and, as Apple owners like, they just want it to work...

    It'll be interesting to see whether it sells if it doesn't have a basic webcam though. Families want to be able to view/talk with others.

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  27. Well, I'm not your typical kindle user. More than half (250-300)the titles on my KDX are professional programming and reference manuals -- almost all PDFs, and (luckily for me) almost all from non Amazon non-DRM sources -- so a simple copy from my backup should suffice.

    The mass market stuff (except for a lot of scifi from Baen) is on the archive, but since I have the space, read a lot of series (want to have all on the kindle so I can search for forgotten characters/events/etc). Also want to have everything backed up on Calibre in case (God forbid) Amazon goes belly up some day -- I'm (literally :-)) a belt and suspenders man.

    Because of my preponderance of PDFs(and PDF is not reflowable), I'm hoping their tablet has a screen size of 10" (KDX is 9.5" a little small for textbooks and programming manuals). I would prefer the iPad aspect ratio (4:3) as opposed to the HDTV aspect ratio (16:9)(the former more closely approximates a sheet of paper and HDTV video is not high on my list.

    If the Amazon tablet only has a small screen size, then I'll probably wait for the iPad3.

    I'm hoping/expecting a price point under $300 ($259 would be nice). Given what happened with the HP Touchpad price reductions, I'm hoping that Amazon was paying close attention. This stuff is extremely price sensitive.

    BTW I saw a new EBR on an endcap in Target today. I think it was from iRiver? It was a spitting image of a second generation kindle.

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