Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tip: Moving files to Kindle w/o USB cable - UPDATE2

Tip of the day for those who don't want to use the USB cable to transfer a Kindle-readable file from a computer to the Kindle.

  Joel Anderson uses his computer to send his Kindle book files to his storage area and then uses his Kindle web browser to go to, the mobile version of that Google docs page, to just download the file(s) direct to the Kindle.
 This will not work with a PDF file, but it will work with .prc, .mobi, or .txt files.

UPDATE - (Same day) This DOES NOT WORK with ORIGINAL Kindle 1 ("Kindle Classic") mode.  It does work with the 6" Kindle ("Kindle 2") (released February 2009) and the Kindle DX (U.S. and Global on both Kindles).  Apologies for not checking the Kindle 1 when I wrote this.
  (I'll try one of the focused file-upload/download sites later.  If anyone else does in the meantime and finds an upload/download site that works with the Kindle 1, please let us know.

  As he said on the popular Amazon forum thread on unique use of the Kindle, "Don't know if this is unusual - but I've found it handy to upload .mobi files to my Google docs in order to download them to my Kindle. Handy when I've got files on my computer, but no cable to move them to the Kindle."

See the Google docs support page for information about how to use that page for documents.  You can share documents or just store them or convert them to Google-docs format (where that is possible) to edit them.

UPDATE2 - Same day Correction for storage limits, which are 1 gig for free accounts vs info on sample-illustrations showing 10,240 MB (10 gigs).  It's definitely 1-gigabyte storage for free + 25 cents per each additional gigabyte.

Apparently, you can store up to about 10 gigs 1 gig of documents there at no charge.   If you need more, you can buy additional storage at 25 cents per gigabyte. There's a $5/year plan to upload up to 20 gigs, and there are additional plans for heavier needs.

Here is the "In a nutshell" explanation by Google about file size limits.
'   * Docs: Each doc can have a maximum size of 500K, plus up to 2MB per embedded image to be converted to Google Docs format.
  * Spreadsheets: Each spreadsheet can be up to 256 columns, 200,000 cells, or 100 sheets, whichever is reached first, to be converted to Google Docs format. There's no limit on rows.
  * Presentations: Files in .ppt and .pps formats can have a maximum size of 10MB or 200 slides to be converted to Google Docs format; files uploaded from the Web can be up to 2MB.
  * Stored files: Files that you store but don't convert to Google Docs can be up to 1 GB each. '
Not bad!

See the Size Limits page for more detail (file formats etc).

Here's the "Getting Started" guide and the "Take a Tour page."

Thanks to Joel on the tip for transferring files to your Kindle without needing to use the USB cable connected to a computer.

  There's no charge for a transfer of Kindle-compatible file from a website page.  HOWEVER, PDFs can't be downloaded direct to the Kindle.

See the ongoing Guide to finding Free or Low-Cost Kindle books and Sources
Also, a page of links that confine searches to mid-range priced e-books. 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. Great tip, and works like a charm! Thanks, Joel and Andrys!

  2. Gary O,
    Thanks for letting us know this worked well for you.

    Joel's tip about Google docs alone is worth knowing about. I had always ignored the area -- recently they changed the amount of free storage space from 1 gig (negligible these days) to 10 gigs, so that's great.

    I found their newish 'mobile' version of that page, which should make the Kindle web browser download quite a bit easier to do.

  3. if anyone can put a step-by-step on how to do this, it would be much appreciated. I tried uploading a Word file, but it didn't work. I must have missed something along the wy.


  4. RBSHoo,
    Whoops. I mentioned this download-to-Kindle from works ONLY with .mobi, .prc, or .txt files.

    It doesn't work with WORD doc files.

    You can, however, send a WORD doc file to Amazon for (1) conversion of it to Kindle format plus (2) mailing by Amazon of that converted file direct to your Kindle.

    First, see to find out how to make yourself a Kindle-mail address if you haven't already. That would create for you a [you] address.

    That part is key to being able to send files to Amazon for conversion to Kindle format (if needed) and for sending direct to your Kindle.

    Once you've created your Kindle address, you can mail a WORD doc file to THAT email address to have Amazon *convert* the file to Kindle-format and that will also send the now Kindle-readable converted doc to your Kindle.

    BUT that will cost you 15 cents per megabyte of a file. MOST converted Word files that have no images will be under one meg and will therefore cost no more than 15 cents.

    If you do have images in the file, the file will be larger, so check how many megabytes your file is before sending it.

    See Amazon's details at on how to send the file to your Kindle address that way.

    To get the file converted AT NO COST but NOT sent direct to your Kindle, read that same section at to find out how to send your Word DOC file for Amazon conversion to Kindle-readable file BUT have the converted file sent to your *computer* instead, via your normal Amazon-correspondence email address.

    It involves the ability to send the WORD doc file to [you] (after you've made your Kindle address as discussed above). Note the 'free' part of the address there.

    This will cost you nothing. The converted file will be downloadable by you, and you'll get the link to that converted file via an email from Amazon to your normal email-address. The converted file will have an .azw file extension (that's Amazon format). In other words it'll be a [filename].azw file.

    You can then move the downloaded converted-file to your Kindle with the USB cable method or you can *at that point* upload the .azw file to your page and THEN you *can* download that file direct to your Kindle as described in this blog article.

    Hope that works for you. I will probably add this response as a new blog entry tonight.

    Thanks for asking the question.

  5. I thought that this was great tip and was looking forward to using it. I am either lazy or idealogical about wireless delivery or both (wireless delivery was the tipping point for me in buying an e-reader) so I am USB averse.

    It must be a K1 thing because when I go to the mobile Google docs page signed out from Google then sign in I get a "The page you requested is invalid" message and the same message when I navigate to that page already signed in to Google. Tried both default and advanced modes with the same result.

    As I recall, Andrys, you still have an old K1 lying around somewhere. Would you be willing to test my hypothesis?

  6. My2¢worth,
    FIRST, I erred in not giving the mobile version URL -- instead I just linked to it, so you would not have known what to type into the Kindle for the GoTo.

    I've corrected the entry to spell out that it's .

    HOWEVER, unless one uses the '/m' version URL, none of the Kindles work to get the file, as the Kindle web browsers are expected to be able to edit the files on the page and that capability isn't there.

    The MOBILE version does work for Kindle 2 and Kindle DX though. However, on the Kindle 1, the file that is uploaded does show up and you can click on the link, but all it does is show you the file (which is a binary file) as if it were straight text, so it's useless UNLESS it actually was a straight text file ( [filename].txt ), and even then it would just be 'viewable' rather than downloadable to your Kindle.

    The Kindle just does not recognize 'downloadable' files, at least not in the way they're linked at ...

    Maybe later (and you can do this too), I'll try one of the file-upload sites to see if one will just straightforwardly let you download a Kindle-readable file from the site when you're visiting it on your Kindle.

    Sorry to raise your hopes. I've updated the main blog article.

    Many thanks for posting the question and comment.

  7. You must be special, Andrys. I'm only getting 1GB free space on Google Docs.

    "You are currently using 0 MB (0%) of your 1024 MB"

    You sure you didn't buy more storage?

  8. Doesn't work with the US version of the DX. Won't accept my password (tried in both Basic and Desktop modes.)

  9. Update: Looks like it does work after all. I must have entered my password incorrectly five times...sheesh. But still not sure why you think you get 10GB free. It's definitely 1GB.


  10. Hi, Elmo -

    Google may have changed the limits. I was working with the help guides, which I linked to and at, I see in their examples:

    (1) " Uploading and exporting: Uploading any file

    You can upload one or multiple files to Google Docs. Here's how:
    . . .
    "You are currently using 0 MB of (0%) of your 10240 MB "
    You can upload files up to 100 MB. Files converted to Google Docshave smaller limits."

    (2) The 2nd example, just underneath also refers to "0% of your 10240 MB." Since 1024 MB = 1 Gig I figured it was 10 gigs.

    HOWEVER, on the same page, if you click on "Uploading and storing" you get the text-answer to all this instead of the samples saying "10240 MB"

    " Files that you store but don't convert can't be larger than 1 GB each. You get 1 GB of free storage for your Google Account, and you can purchase additional storage for $0.25 per GB.

    Only stored files count towards the maximum limit. If you delete a file and empty trash, you get your storage back."

    Notice that the text response also differs with the illustration-text in that you can upload ONE file that is up to 1 gig in size.

    The illustrations above the text-answer show a file size limit for uploads, "up to 100 MB"

    Elsewhere in the Help, re files to be "converted to Google docs" the limit per file is 500MB plus up to 2MB per embedded image to be conferted.
    That's from the "Nutshell" box I mentioned.
    They also say that the 500MB per file plus 2MB per embedded image applies to size post-conversion. So what you upload could be smaller but exceed the converted-docs limit.

    They really should have all of these 'showing' limits, on one help page, in a table maybe.

    Thanks. I will update the blog entry again for storage limits on a free account but will write their forum about their illustrations on the same Help page showing 10,240 MB storage available.

  11. also works well on the Kindle 3 web browser. Upload your ebook library to your Dropbox account from any Internet-enabled computer, and then access that account on the Kindle web browser to download your files directly to your Kindle. offers 2GB (i.e. 2,000MB) of storage for free.

  12. Works great, my USB cable was not working so this tip saved me a lot of time.

    1. Anonymous -- Thanks for letting us know that worked for you. I'd forgotten about this tip. And Jason back in 2010 said it worked well at Dropbox also, using the old Kindle 3 eReader with its free web browser (Internet browsing not available for free on newer Kindle e-Ink models that are faster and would cost Amazon too much in data charges).


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