Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Kindle PDF Convert to Kindle action now working - Update2

Update2 - 11/26/09 at 1:44 AM PST (Original post was 11/25/09, 3:15 AM.)
  After getting my first tweet of a successful conversion (from Victor Vogt ('okieopie'), it seemed it has taken a lot less than 3 days to fix or enable the 'Convert' request for Kindle2 PDFs requested in subject field of an email.

  So, to confirm this, I sent 'Droidmaker' (section 1), as it is a tough conversion to do, and it came back almost immediately, CONVERTED, and converted unusually well.  This PDF book has photos and multiple columns, with info boxes off to the side of the body.  Photos were placed at the top of a page where appropriate rather than dropped anywhere on the page as converters usually do.

  (The actual PDF displays accurately on the newly updated Kindle 2's, but since each page is crammed with text, photos and extraneous boxes, the text has to be tiny on a 6" screen ... so it's a good test AND evidence of some intelligent converting.  I had tried a couple of months ago using MobiPocket Creator and Calibre, never with particularly good results for this book).  By the way, this is a very good book, and it's free from the author currently, normally $35.

  Upshot: The conversion request-process has been Enabled!  Thanks to Alfonso for communicating with the Engineers and writing up the ticket to get this done.

Update1 - 11/25/09 at 2:48 PM PST (Original post was 3:15 AM this morning.)
A Kindle Specialist named Alfonso took my question today and said he checked with the server people on it and it resulted in his writing up a ticket to have it resolved.  He said it'll take about 3 days and in some way we'll be told when it's fixed.  Very helpful rep.

  In the meantime, the Kindle Support U.S. #, 866-321-8851, is being picked up first by non-Kindle-specialists today, and he hoped we can get back to direct transfer to Kindle people to cut the time spent repeating our questions.

Re the new firmware update reported and followed yesterday, this is a quick note.  Both Len Edgerly and I have followed the new instructions to request conversion of a PDF to Kindle format for our Kindle 2's, but both of us received full PDFs back, unconverted.

  Here's the quoted section we followed:
' * Option to convert PDF files to Kindle format. If you prefer to have your personal PDF documents converted to the Kindle format (so that they can reflow), type "Convert" in the subject of the e-mail when you submit your personal document to your address. '

  [ Excellent. We'd keep the original to check layout and use reflowed text for a copy that we can mark up or annotate, be able to use the inline-dictionary for, and search the Kindle for the content within that PDF. ]
I sent the attachments using the word 'Convert' (with capital 'C') in the Subject field of the email and I sent them to both the address and the address

  If anyone has had this Convert-request work for them, let us know.
  In the meantime I'll try to reach someone at Amazon for clarification. Thanks.  I suspect Amazon just forgot to enable the feature on the servers.

NOTE - Finding the "Update Your Kindle" option on the Kindle 2 and DX
Some have not been able to find the Kindle settings to update their Kindles manually for the update (instead of waiting for the automated one which could take weeks to reach your area) -- Be sure to press the Kindle's Menu button and click the 5-way button on 'Settings 'and THEN, press Menu again to get the option to update the firmware (after you have transferred the firmware-update in your Kindle's root- or top-level directory, which is where you'll see the folders for 'documents,' 'music,' etc).  Thanks to Malcolm for drawing my attention to the vagueness of the 'root' word.

PDFs viewed on the Kindle 2
My experience with the new PDF reader capability is that it works very well with most of my PDFs -- but any PDFs, such as camera manuals, done with several columns of graphics will need to fit a lot of material in one page and these are then prepared by the vendor in a font size so small that they're not highly readable on a 6" screen, even when in landscape mode.  Those are good candidates for conversion to Kindle format, with information searchable quickly and highlighting possible, even if the layout won't look the way it does in the printed manual. 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.

Send to Kindle

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  1. I'm sure this is a dumb question but what is the "Root Area"? Is this the opening area when you plug-in the USB cable and nothing shows but the Kindle standard folders? Seems strange that nothing shows there. I unhid the system folder but am not sure what I am doing.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. Malcolm,
    I should have said "root or top-level directory" -- which is above the folders you'll see for 'documents' and 'music' etc.

    The system folder won't work. It has to be at the top level, which is strangely called the 'root' (because all directories start from that level and work on down. An upside down tree.)

  3. Conversion not working for me, neither free nor wireless.

  4. Yes, the conversion does not work for me either.

  5. I did the same thing and just got back the pdf I sent. I will be interested to see how to do this as well.

  6. stbo and Jason,
    Thanks for the feedback. I see on Twitter some notes that it's not working for others yet either. Will try calling Amazon, as no response to e-mail yet on the situation.

  7. Anonymous,
    They fixed it after you wrote (and for some reason your note was missed as pending).

    Try again - it should be ok now.

  8. Andrys, Thank You!, Thank You! for your blog, this one.I'm still waiting for my auto-download of 2.3 as I see many are having manual download problems. (Amazon oughta be paying you for all your assistance and info on Kindle.)

  9. Harvey, thanks for your generosity!

    I think the main problem some were having with the manual download was not knowing that the 'root' referred to is like the c:\ drive described to Malcolm. That kind of naming led to a lot of confusion with early PCs and DOS, actually. If one knows that the Kindle's "root" is where you see the subfolders for 'documents' and 'audible' etc., then Amazon's step-by-step is actually quite good as a guide.

    Another reason was that many had downloaded unofficial enhancements for personal screensavers and darker fonts. However, those had to be uninstalled first, and then people wanted those enhancements back instead of the firmware update, so it's a jumble. But I don't think it'll take more than a week to 10 days to get the upgrade automatically.

    Thanks again!

  10. Michael,
    Yes, indeed! Here we've been plugging away for native PDF support for the K2, getting it, but now ecstatic to have the Converted copy as well. I like that we have the options.

    And, the DX margin-handling is so much better on the PDFs now. But it's great to have the text annotations, inline-dictionary and even text-to-speech capability, not to mention the way the Kindle does search results within a book.

    Thanks for the report!


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