Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Amazon's fee$ to convert emailed docs direct to Kindle

On May 4, Amazon starts charging for converting e-mailed documents for the Kindle when they are emailed direct to your Kindle. These will be at 15c per megabyte rather than the previously advertised 10c per document, rounded up to the next megabyte -- and will include support for DOCX files though, like PDFs, the more complex ones might not format correctly.

There will still be free format-conversion of emailed documents for the Kindle but only if you direct the email to [you] rather than [you]  Kindle users will need to move the documents from their computers to their Kindles, with the USB cable provided (it's part of the power cord) and while that will be inconvenient for many, the conversions will still be done free of cost.

The ease of just having the converted emailed-document sitting on the Kindle without having to place it there with Windows Explorer or Mac Finder will now cost you 15c per megabyte.  It will also mean that the Kindle owner must have a computer and know how to use basic file-handling to move documents from one folder to another if they want the free conversions to their computers.  Many have bought Kindles for parents without computers.  That group of customers will need to pay for any e-mailed converted documents to the Kindle.  Amazon's statement on this:
"As always, you can also use our free document conversion service for any document you want to transfer over USB, and you will not be charged.
  Still, most Amazon-format books are under a megabyte.  That will mean a 15c charge (rounded up) for a rather hefty-sized document.  We're talking text-focused books.

  The difference will be in how many illustrations are involved.  PDF documents can be in text form or consist of image-scans or direct graphic copies -- the latter is not recommended for any of the small e-readers anyway.  Documents with large photographs will be large in size (always) and therefore much more costly and these always load slowly on an e-reader, so these have not been recommended in the past.

Small photographs won't be so much of a problem but can make a book average 2 megabytes rather than 1 megabyte -- or a cost of 30c to convert it and send it direct to your Kindle.

(One of my electronics manuals was 28 megs -- but that was too large for Amazon to handle anyway so I did it myself with MobiPocket Creator, which Amazon owns, I believe, and then I used the USB cable to put the converted PDF from my computer into the Kindle's document folder.  That's a Windows program.  Mac users would tend to use Stanza or Calibre as discussed in other blog entries below, earlier.

 But unless Amazon becomes capable of having the Kindle read PDFs natively on the Kindle within a year, they will not survive in the e-reader world that is coming up.  Sony already reads it natively although the results are almost unreadable due to the small font they use for documents meant for 8x10 paper or large screens but instead presented on a 6" screen.  Every e-reader being developed will be able to read PDFs and maybe ePub files directly.  Since Amazon just bought Stanza, they may plan to do this also.

A service like Kindlefeeder will be somewhat affected by this, since that service is already feeling the impact of too many who are downloading large feeds daily and the service is needing to charge $20/yr for scheduled deliveries to one's Kindle, to lighten the queued-documents problem on their servers.  The Amazon-related cost to the user of doing a large volume of feeds direct to the Kindle, daily, may result in a scaling back now of the large demand on Kindlefeeder's servers as some subscribers may choose a smaller number of periodicals for the downloads. The free Kindlefeeder feature involves doing a manual-send to your Kindle and some may even prefer that to the automated daily send.  Daniel feels that this will also shorten processing times overall.  The daily scheduled delivery is now going to be on the premium plan noted. Getting it, on demand, as wanted is free. The Amazon-emailing cost of a daily feed to the Kindle direct, at 15c a day, will average $4.50/mo.  There are a lot of newspaper/magazine feeds available to be batched in one file per day though.
UPDATE: 5/14/09:  Premium members will get free direct Kindle downloads. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. It seems unlikely to me that people without computers really have a lot of documents to convert. Document conversion sort of presupposes actually having a document on a computer in the first place.

    Sure, having it emailed is nice, but if it's a big deal, then it should be worth 15 cents. Otherwise, dragging and dropping shouldn't really be that much of a hardship.

  2. Melina, I agree.

    I wonder how they'll treat zip files. They used to treat that as one file and of course with 1 megabyte as a marker, several will fit into one.

    While I've sent zip files, they get processed if it's a group of smaller files. However, they take over a day sometimes, whereas an individual file will be done right away.


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