Monday, January 31, 2011

A GUIDE TO THE KINDLE-COLLECTIONS FEATURE

HOW TO USE KINDLE COLLECTIONS
This is a folders-like feature available for Kindle 2's, DX's and Kindle 3's  (UK: K3's), implemented with 'tags' or category-labels (as seen with Google's GMail).

I'm placing here, into one blog entry, some excerpts from some earlier pieces on Collections and may modify it over the next week or two.

COLLECTIONS - BASICS
Modified from steps given us by Marc Miwords
. From Home, click on "Menu"
. Go to "Add New Collection"
. Name the Collection.  Repeat as wanted  *

. Go to your listing of books or documents on the Home screen
. On each title, push the 5 way controller to the right
. From that menu, click "Add To Collection"
. Using the 5 way Controller, scroll to a Collection label that you want to use for that particular book
. Click the 5 way controller
. One click ADDs it, another click REMOVES it -- from the collection but not from your device

. If you want to add a book to several collections, go down the Collections listing (alphabetized for the Add-Book-to-Collection process) until you see another Collection that should include the book and click on the Collection label to add the book.  Repeat as wanted.

. Press Back button to get back to where you were in the Home screen books-listing.
. Repeat until you have all of your books in collections.

ALTERNATIVE Collections-creation method
* NOTE: You can, instead, create a Collection, name it, and THEN choose to
ADD books to it
, and you will be taken to your book collection on the Kindle Home screen and you can mark the books that are to be added to the collection.

  A book can be added to many collections. '

INTRO AND GUIDE - Main portion
The Kindle Collections feature was added with Kindle 2 and DX software version v2.5x and is a feature of the newer Kindle 3

 Basic answers to most questions on this feature are in the online documentation.
  So I've linked to the Amazon help pages that describe how this new feature works.

ALPHABETIZING KINDLE COLLECTIONS FOR THE HOME SCREEN
Amazon did not, for some reason, choose to show us our Collections-set in alphabetical order.  It's as if they expected that anyone browsing a library shelf would prefer to see the book titles in the order they were last accessed by us rather than in alpha order.

So this is an introductory workaround for that.

The Home screen image starting this section is of my Kindle screen after I applied  a workaround recommended by knowledgeable Kindle users from Kindleboards, including luvmy4BRATs who led an Amazon Kindle forum discussion on this, with some great ideas added by other ultra-creative people in those Amazon forums, ideas and examples which I'll use in another Collections blog entry in the future.

   Collection titles: Using certain prefacing symbols such as '*' or '[' or '{'  forces the Collections group-names into an alphabetical sort when using the  "By Title" sorting-option, which people with many Collections will find more useful than the official and separate "Collections" sorting-option that is given us by the new software.



That official Collections Home-listing, as seen in the image at the right, sorts only by most-recently accessed Collection, making it quite difficult to find the right collection if you have many of them.

  Note that the active Sort-type is shown at the top right and you can cursor up there to change it by moving the 5-way button to the right when you get there.

  With 30 Collections and three pages of those on my Kindle 2 (U.S.), I had problems finding any Collection I knew held the book I wanted because I had to check each Collection name on the Home screens, which took forever.

  Again, the image on the right displays the Default listing for sorting the Home screen books by Collections (rather than by Title, Author, or Most Recent).

  Then note the image above that, at the left, for the workaround using the Titles sorting-option that I mentioned

"Drawback" and "Bonus" of using Titles Sorting-option:
  Drawback: The individual books are shown BELOW your alphabetized Collections (which is why we'd make symbols prefixing the Collection titles -- to keep them above the listing of individual titles).
  It should be easy to ignore the trailing list of book titles though.

  Bonus: When you're viewing a Collections listing alphabetized via using the Titles sort, you can go directly to the Home screen section with the first letter of a Title if you want --  But ONLY THE FIRST LETTER because if you type two letters, the Kindle would start a Search of the entire Kindle for a word composed of those two letters.  That takes an eternity, so keep it to only the first letter.

    In other words, if you're looking for a title starting with the word "Nights," you'd type just 'n' and click the 5-way button, to be taken to a page with book titles starting with the letter 'n' -- this means that you can see your Collections in alpha order AND access a book title more easily when you want.

TIP
Periodicals - Amazon has a default Collection that holds your Kindle-edition subscriptions to newspapers and magazines when the issues are no longer the current ones.
 When you're not using the Title/alpha sort (and instead sorting by "Most Recent" or by "Author"), you'll see Periodicals at the END of your Home Screen listing, along with the "Archived Items" Collection always created by Amazon for books you've bought from Amazon but don't have on your Kindle at the moment.
  Tip2 - You can get to the last page of your home screen listing by typing the number of the last page and clicking on the 5-way button.

TIP 2
Getting a series of books into the right order within Collections
To get a series of books into the right order within a Collection while using the Kindle's SORT by Title work-around option as described above:

  Add another prefacing like-symbol to a Collection title as you ascend in order (or even use different symbols (to mean 1, 2, 3, 4, etc) but I feel the latter is more difficult and Amazon tends to change the ordering of its symbols in different software versions).

  Adding extra prefacing like-symbols to Collection titles (making them act as sub-collections, which the Kindle does not have) has worked well for some who were able to order their series this way.

  Quick example (remembering these are 'Collections' you are adding as a form of sub-collections (since Amazon does not offer sub-collections). You create them the same way.
    .. booktitle
    ...booktitle 2
    ....booktitle 3
or, using the symbol I used above:
    {{booktitle
    {{{booktitle 2
    {{{{booktitle 3


TIPS AND EXAMPLES FROM AMAZON HELP PAGES WITH ADDITIONAL TIPS I'VE ADDED
Following are some tips and examples from Amazon's help pages with tips I've added:


USING THE COLLECTIONS FEATURE
Information and Examples from Amazon's Online Help
(all emphases mine)
* Collections: Organize your books and documents into one or more collections.

 

Sorting Content and Using Collections


As with earlier Kindle software, we still go up to the top of the HOME screen and navigate the SORT options, which now include (except for Kindle 1) "Collections," which are categories we create (except for "Periodicals" and "Archived Items" which are essentially Collections put in place by Amazon).    The set-categories given us in earlier software (Personal Docs, etc.) are no longer offered, but we can roll our own.


The HOME screen looks the same as the Kindle 2's, but when we go up to the SORT options area at the top of the screen, we'll be able to choose to view the Collections we've created.  You can see that the Collections are shown along with the number of books or documents in those Collections.

  The default Sorting-option for the Home screen listing of books remains "Most Recent First" unless we arrow over, at the top, to Collections option (or Title or Author) and click to select another sort-order.

  You can review the Step-by-Step for Adding Collections and books for them at the top of this blog article.  You can then just use the 'Back' option on your web-browser to return here.

As you've seen, Collections are created from a Menu key option when you're at the Home screen, and Collections can be renamed or deleted later (see screen image below).

  A book can be in several collections, but even if it is in only one collection, the deletion of that collection won't affect the book, which will still be shown on and accessible from the Home screen.



  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."

  If you RE-download a deleted Amazon book that was once a part of a Collection you made, it will download to the Collection or category it was a part of before.

Except for no option for Alpha sorting of Collections, this feature is especially well thought out (except for the non-alpha order of the Sort-by-Collections listing), so it's intuitive, logical, and therefore easy to use after the initial intro to it.  Collections have a tag-type structure, so that you can have a book in several groupings at any time.  There is only one level of groupings though, so there's no sub-folder-like feature.

  I have 30+ named Collections under which I want to find things.   But it's still brought my list of 200+  books and documents way down and, as a result, it's now really easy to find the books I'm in the mood to read.


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   K3 Special, $114   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.
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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11 comments:

  1. In order to sort the collections in an alphabetical order you can also use the period "." character (it's faster -- no need for pressing "Sym"), which gives you names like ".Crime" etc.
    It's probably personal taste, but they seem neater than those with { [ or *.
    Also, you can use the period twice ("..Crime") to put the collection at the top. I have a collection called "..Reading now" for the books I am mostly focused on at the moment and I want to have them at the top of my list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. phelcq,
    Yes, your method of '.' and then '..' is one of the other solutions from others that I mentioned wanting to mention in another Collections blog entry later on. Cleaner looking, in a way, and it reminds me of a library catalog entry :-), which is a good thing.

    Thanks for adding this here. The Current-Reading is a really good feature. Others also use dots for subfolder or within-umbrella topic categories too.

    And not having to use the sym-key is a bonus.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is very informational. I thank you for some important things you've shared that now I know.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a different solution that works great for me-- I have some Collections for which I have added a special character to allow them to alphabetize as shown, but getting to my currently 'in process' books is what I want to happen fastest--
    To that end, I created a Collection named "*_Current" which ends up at the top, almost regardless of sorting order:
    1) since it has two special characters, and
    2) since it normally contains the last book I had open, reading!

    Works for me...

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't understand why you need wi fi to set up collections! It makes absolutely no sense. I have no wi fi at home and don't use any wi fi features on Kindle. If I want to create collections -- essentially folders -- on my own Kindle, why does it have to beam to Amazon? Being someone who uses a desktop computer which is hard-wired, and upload any purchases via USB. does that mean I have to go sit in a Starbucks or something to create collections? I spoke to Amazon customer service, and they had no answers -- it was just kind of, "Sorry, that's the way it's set up." This is the first thing that's really disappointed and upset me about my Kindle.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jenn,
    Collections are a structure, and what is IN them is kept by Amazon so that if something goes awry, you don't have to do the work again, with hundreds or thousands of books involved over time.

    Amazon makes sure a copy is available on your server area so that if the Kindle ever goes loco,
    you drop it, or you lose it (you'll be able to just press a button to have it all put in place, collections and books in the right places where you had put them.

    You can use that structure for another Kindle (a replacement or a 2nd Kindle of a different model) by pressing a button for that.

    I saw that you said in another thread that you might go to the Nook instead. Why not? If you're unhappy and would rather use another e-reader, that makes sense to me. In the meantime, I've given you reasons they do it. People would be too unhappy to lose all that work if something happened to the Kindle (I've had a few friends who lost theirs on vacation or even at meetings in their work offices.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. A small error...On the right side of the opening screen, the KF HD 8.9" shows "$299 - $349, but other listing is $299 - $369 which I believe is the correct price spread. Just sayin". Bill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill, thanks very much! for taking the time to let me know. I've corrected the side entry now.

      Delete
  8. I really have missed collections on my Kindle Fire. I have pre-ordered the HD larger Fire. Do you know if it will collections?

    Thanks, Rochelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rochelle, apologies for missing this when it was placed. The Kindle Fire HD doesn't have Collections and I haven't heard anything about when it might. You can, however, put certain books into the Favorites area and move books together that you feel belong together. I do like that, but I WOULD like to see the collections. That can be done by putting Kindle for PC or Mac on your computer though.

      Delete

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