Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kindle 2 and DX - basic folders and organization (before July 2010)

Ever since Christmas Day, an additional 1000+ visitors have been visiting these pages each day (how do they find it?), so I'd like to welcome them/you to the Kindle world :-)
  One way to do that is to highlight today a Kindle Tip from August that explains basic organizational features of the Kindle.  From forums, I've seen that even oldtimers often don't know about these features.

UPDATE - The instructions on this page pertained to Kindle 2 software BEFORE July 2010.  Version 2.5.x of the software has changed the functioning of file-handling, so this page should be ignored for Kindle 2's that were appropriately updated at the time and now is just a record of how it used to be.  See Introduction and Guide to Kindle 2 v2.5 features.   Also see Guide to Collections feature.

  There are no customizable folders, although Amazon is working on a software update to help with book organization, which they say will be ready before the Summer.

  However, there are built-in features for displaying only some sub-groupings of books when you choose to do that (limiting the number of items showing on your screen at a given time by type of document), and there are four ways to sort the displayed document titles.

  You'd be hard-pressed to notice the options by looking at the Kindle screen, which makes maximum use of screen real estate and keeps a clean interface, so doesn't show those options.

 The key is to cursor UP to the top and then to the LEFT, to then see the options to display only Personal Docs; or only Subscriptions; or only Books; while you can also choose instead to display All Items.

 While up there, at the top of the screen, you can also go to the Right and choose to SORT what is shown, by Author, Title, or Most Recently received or opened. On both of these options, you can go back and forth and then click on the two options you want.

Below is the original tip or guide to the Kindle's basic organizational features,
which was first posted here on August 18, 2009.

Original posting August 18, 2009
There are some recurring questions in the Amazon Kindle forums as the Fall school sessions near, and I'll start including some of the more frequently-asked ones here, along with some answers and illustrations.

One from today, for both the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX.
Q: "...my request is how do I put order to my list of books and file on the Kindle?  I don't want to see every book I have in the order of last viewed - makes it hard to find what I'm looking for - I cannot find in the user's guide how to create folders or way to categorize my Kindle content."

A: You'll need to use the 5-way button to get to the top line, to even see the options available.

  Then, 5-way to the LEFT to see four category options for the type of items you want displayed (in this case I chose "Personal Docs).

. Personal Docs   (pdfs, Word docs, text you created on a pc and moved to the Kindle)
. Subscriptions   (Amazon's newspaper, magazine and blog offerings)
. Books
. All My Items     (This will display everything.)

Of course you have to make sure you're at the top line, because going to the left could actually start a deletion of a book or file if you're not at the top.

Next, you'll want to sort the group you chose, and there are three options for that. (In this screen picture I switched my choice to books).

Stay on the top line but, this time, 5-way to the right until you see:

. Most Recent First
. Title
. Author

Those are the three sorting methods offered us.

NOTE:   Amazon's database for authors apparently sometimes allows input for
1. last name, first name and
2. first name last name.

In this case, "Alan Zeleznikar" is displayed according to the first name while "Christopher Breen" uses the last name for the sort, coming before "Bufo Calvin."

A search for "zeleznikar" will bring up the title though.

Unfortunately, there is no way to make user-customizable folders currently.
  As a workaround until competitive forces create additional reasons for Amazon to offer this basic organizational tool, try a customer-created solution using the idea of "tags" created by using the note-feature for books and articles.

I have a small list of topics I want to cover.  If you have questions about how something might be done, feel free to add them under Comments here or write me at andrys1 [at] yahoo.com . Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. One simple trick I use is that when I'm done with a book I put it in a "done" folder (with the Kindle plugged in to my computer). The linux command "touch -t 200901010000.00 done/*" then ensures that all of the books in that folder are at the end of my book list so they aren't cluttering up my recent book list. It's not enough, but it helps.

  2. Very nice, Richard!

    I wonder if one of my 'touch' utilities for Windows will work to change the date-time on the 2 files for each book. I'll give it a look later today.

  3. Thank you! I had looked all over for this information before.

  4. I'm glad it was helpful, Anonymous.

    They don't make this basic function easy to find!

  5. It's been four months since I was posted my touch trick (see above). Now that I have 7 or 8 pages of books in my Kindle I use the following more complex trick to maintain order.
    1) all samples (I usually have a half dozen or more) are in a "samples" subdirectory
    2) all books I've read are in a "done" subdirectory
    3) with the Kindle plugged in to my (Linux) computer I run the below script periodically.

    The result is that my current books are up front, in most recently read first order, then my samples, then my finished books in alphabetical order. That works for me. But I'm looking forward to what Amazon plans to provide. I hope it supports tagging.

    let cnt=10
    for i in {9..0}{z..a}
    touch -t 200905300000.$cnt done/$i* done/${i^}*
    let cnt+=1
    touch -t 200906150000.00 samples/*


  6. Rich,
    Nice use of the "touch" function for a crowded books-listing !

    I imagine they will have to, in today's age, have us do some form of tagging, with input forms given people, I imagine. Other e-readers don't use customizable folders - they use preset methods. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with.

    Thanks for sharing that tip.

  7. got hold my new kindle 2 just yesterday and i was struggling as how to see all my books on it and lo and presto i find this website after running helter skelter across the web...thanks a lot folks...

  8. iconoclast,
    Glad you found it. Welcome!

  9. In your example above, "Rome Explorations" by Alan Zeleznikar is listed first by author sort by the authors first name. This can be corrected using Mobi2Mobi_GUI along with Python 2.6 to edit the file so that it will be sorted by the last name.

  10. I do have the Mobi2Mobi_GUI and accompanying Python but haven't bothered because I use the search method and tags more. I tag a new book with the author's last name and an 'x' in front of it to make it easy to find (also the genre type or whatever is important to me).

    So many of the books need fixing in the author's area - data input seems randomly done.

    The new calibre 6.42 and above, I think (and it's at 6.44 now) supports editing metadata that shows up on the Kindle. But there is currently a question on whether titles and auxiliary annotation files are changed so they are recognized as for the same book -- which is important to keeping the annotations on both the Kindle and the amazon.kindle.com page for annotations viewing. So am waiting to hear about that.

    It's one of my favorite utilities. Thanks for the general heads-up.

  11. hi, when i try to go to top line and press left ( The key is to cursor UP to the top and then to the LEFT, to then see the options to display only Personal Docs; or only Subscriptions; or only Books; while you can also choose instead to display All Items.) there is no option, i can only press right to sort. Any ideas why or how i can fix? thanks,


  12. Anonymous,
    The software for Kindle 2's changed around July 25, 2010.

    I've updated this blog entry to show this, after getting your question. Thanks. Now, it includes a paragraph that will link you to two blog entries which are an introduction and guide to both the software features and specifically also to Collections (folder-like organization).

    Hope that helps !


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