Monday, January 16, 2012

Kindle News and Tips: How to use Amazon's own SendtoKindle for PC


A lot has been said about this recent Amazon development, and from my read of the forums, many are confused by it.

The newish feature is titled Send to Kindle for PC (similar name as a popular Google Chrome add-on), and a paragraph I saw in the Help pages for this feature gives the essence of it.

The "for PC" part means that the feature isn't ready for Macs yet but it's expected to be, soon.  What caused some confusion is that the most popular Amazon Kindle app is named "Kindle for PC" and some are not quite comfortable with the concept of a PC-Windows or Mac program that works on your computer, rather than on the now many Kindle devices that Amazon is offering -- where they are called 'apps' whether a Kindle app, an Android app, a Kindle Fire app, iOS app (Apple), etc.

First, read the description of and download Send to Kindle for PC

From the Help page mentioned, a Question and Answer:
' I installed Send to Kindle on my PC, how can I start using it?

From Windows Explorer [ TWO options ]
  • Right click on one or more documents and choose Send to Kindle
  • From any Windows application that can print, select Print and choose Send to Kindle (documents are delivered in PDF format). '
  [ This is done wirelessly, without a cable. ]

  Many at the forums are finding this very useful.  Others don't know where to download it to or how to use it.  But it's essentially as simple as the above paragraph, modified from the Amazon Help page.

  The one drawback is that PDFs are hard to read on a 6" screen.  The older way of sending these documents via email to your Kindle email address (see the ManageYourKindle page will get them on your Kindle in normal Kindle (not PDF) format.

  See How to send documents to your Kindle for more detail on the steps to take.

  . You no longer have to email a a personal document to your Kindle.
  . It's free if, as most will, you use WiFi for the action
      Those with 3G-only Kindles (all models prior to Kindle 3 (UK: K3)) would either:
      1.  Pay a small fee: 15 cents per megabyte (U.S. residents), (non-US):$0.99
        (calculating SIZE: most novels are under 1 megabyte)
      2.  Forget wireless delivery like this and use a USB cable to transfer the file instead.
  NOTE: Kindle Personal Docs Service is not available via Whispernet (3G) in Canada.

     Tip: you can set the Maximum Charge that you allow for delivery of personal docs by 3G:
         1. Visit Manage your Kindle
         2. Select Personal Document Settings from the left hand menu.
         3. Scroll down to the heading "Whispernet Delivery Options."
         4. Select "Edit" on the right hand side of the page
         5. Enter your preferred personal document charge limit.
             [Could be $0.00 to avoid 'accidents']
         6. Click "Update."

Important Feature
"You can also store your personal documents in your Kindle Library
  and download them conveniently to your Kindle device AND
  [to] supported Kindle reading applications when connected wirelessly.

  Additional bonus of this feature
  Essentially, this means that if you have a Kindle 3 or later (which means WiFi is always an available option) AND you have an older 3G-only Kindle (3G transfers are more expensive for Amazon because they pay AT&T or Sprint for that), you can now:
  . transfer a personal doc on your PC wirelessly to any Kindle you have that uses WiFi
        and then
  . download from your Amazon Library to your 3G Kindle that personal doc,
      with no personal doc fee involved.

Compatibility at this time
"Send to Kindle for PC is compatible with your Windows-based personal computer running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (64 or 32 bit).
  At this time, the only Kindle reading application supported by Send to Kindle for PC is the Kindle App for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch."

Supported file types
  . Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx)
  . TXT (.txt)
  . RTF (.rtf)
  . JPEG (.jpeg, .jpg)
  . GIF (.gif)
  . PNG (.png)
  . BMP (.bmp)
  . PDF (.pdf)

  Update: Commenter Julie quickly and rightly noted that they didn't include *.mobi or *.prc files, but these are always supported file types, as they are Amazon's own, so they may have just forgotten to list them. [End of Update]

Amazon's main description of what Send to Kindle for PC does
  • Send personal documents to your Kindle from your PC.
  • From Windows Explorer, simply right click on one or more documents and choose Send to Kindle.
  • From any Windows application that can print, select Print and choose Send to Kindle (documents are delivered in PDF format).
  • Choose to archive documents in your Kindle Library, where you can re-download them conveniently anywhere at any time.

Added Note
This feature is different from other tools previously discussed
  . sendtoreader
  . The Google Chrome add-on, sendtokindle
  . the original, Instapaper.

  These 3rd party web to Kindle tools are helpful in other ways, mainly for sending documents from web pages without ads included, to your Kindle.

Kindle Touch 3G   Kindle Touch WiFi   Kindle Basic   (UK: KBasic)   Kindle Fire
Kindle Keybd 3G   (UK: Kindle Keybd 3G)   K3 Special Offers   K3-3G Special Offers   DX

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

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. Curious they don't list mobi as a supported document, but maybe that's because it's implied by default?

  2. Julie, that's a very good point ! *.prc files also (just another extension for mobi files... I guess I should say something about that... Thanks!

  3. But now they need to add KF8 support. I tried sending a sample KF8 file to my Fire, and it got 'flattened' to mobi (not a pretty sight). And before too long, KT and K4 will have some level of KF8 support.

    The workaround for now is to side load, either via USB or via DropBox, etc., or email as an attachment to an account that Kindle Fire's mail client uses. But then they don't get syncing and archiving and such like.

  4. Very disappointed to see that everything from Send to Kindle is delivered to the Kindle reader in .pdf format. Documents delivered via SendToReader and Instapaper are much more reader-friendly with the font sizes, word wrapping, etc. that are native to the Kindle.

  5. Ken,
    That was my thought to, re getting those in PDFs, but so far people on the forum have liked the results, so maybe Amazon is making the fonts large, the margins reasonable, etc.

    What's great is that we can still use sendtoreader too. Did you try it? If so, did it look bad? I wonder if they do this in reflowable text since they don't have to match a given page in layout etc...

  6. I meant to ask did you try the Amazon 'to PDF' on any of your docs... I haven't yet.

    1. Hi Andrys,
      Sorry for the delayed reply - doesn't look like a very active discussion, does it?
      Yes, I've tried it with both web and personal docs and the delivered product is the same - typical PDF formatting, not flowable, so one must deal with zooming, panning, possibly landscape viewing, etc. Not terribly useful, IMHO, but an option for those not inclined to deal with the "plumbing" for SendToReader, Readability, Instapaper, etc.

  7. Ken, the size of the font should have been made readable in font size 3 or 4 though, no? For a congested edge-to-edge page that's being duplicated, that wouldn't be possible this way.

    Here's the thing, as I read your note. This is a general easy send of a file from our computers to a Kindle device.

    Amazon doesn't know whether it came from a carefully formatted Web page originally or you received an instructional page that's been formatted but since DOC files are 'understood,' they would try to observe that. I know, first hand, how unreliable it is to have a DOC file converted to mobi by Amazon and its MobiPocket processes though.

    So, doing it in exact layout via PDF (or soon, under Amazon's own new fixed layout capabilities) means the layout will be as you originally saw it, even if the text doesn't reflow and it's a bit hard to read on the 6"... (PDFs don't go to landscape if I remember right, on the Touch, but on Kindle Fire's 7" screen they can be read in Landscape format.)

    I think that's the reason they did it, I'm pretty sure.

    We can still send it ourselves to Amazon via email for an automatic convert to mobi and then to our Kindles if we want.

    Like you, I really like SendToReader, and Instapaper is the granddaddy and the foundation of what so many tools do.

    Readability is back to being free, I read. It often doesn't take all of the text I want, I've found, though.


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