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Kindle Help Please!

For discussion about electronic reading devices and related issues (pricing, formatting, accessories, comparisons, etc.)
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Ken
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Posts: 633
Joined: April 2009
Location: Truro, Cornwall, UK

Kindle Help Please!

Post by Ken » Wed April 13th, 2011, 10:09 am

I am about to purchase a Kindle. Before doing so, I wondered if I could possibly benefit from the experience a lot of you will have gained by now.

First, the main reason I want one is so that I can transfer a lot of my historical research from my laptop to the easier reading format provided by the Kindle (I find it difficult or uncomfortable to read a long document or an e-book on my computer). I am also of course interested in downloading future books to the Kindle, but I already have an extensive library of my favourite NF and HF books. I'm not sure that I want to go to the expense of purchasing the same books in e format.

Has anyone had the experience of transferring documents from their computers to the Kindle? I understand that the documents need to be in PDF Format, which covers the majority of my research docs (my WIP is however in 'Word,' so that will have to stay on my laptop).

I have broadband internet at home, but do not have a WiFi router. Does this mean I will have to go to a WiFi hot spot in order to be able download books? I could of course buy the Kindle with WiFi and 3G. Normally 3G in the UK is ok and not too expensive, But The moment you start to use it, say in France, the costs rocket! Amazon states that the 3G is provided 'free!' Is this as good as it sounds? Has anyone had the experience of downloading books while overseas using 3G?

Any help you can give will be most appreciated! :D

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Misfit
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Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Wed April 13th, 2011, 10:45 am

Has anyone had the experience of transferring documents from their computers to the Kindle? I understand that the documents need to be in PDF Format, which covers the majority of my research docs (my WIP is however in 'Word,' so that will have to stay on my laptop).
I'm still very much a newbie myself and much of the wireless bit is way over my head still, plus I'm not travelling at all these days. That said, I have received some PDF's from a couple of sources. One thing to watch out for, if you have documents emailed directly to your kindle there can be a charge for that, at least with Amazon US. Check the manage your kindle page at Amazon UK, which is where I'm assuming you got yours.

Transferring them from your harddrive via the USB cable is pretty simple, but the formatting of them to read easily is a whole different ball game. I've had to flip the screen to view them *sideways* and that helps a bit. Amazon has a free download of Kindle for PC software and I think that does convert them for you, but again I'm still very new at this and it's very very early in the morning and the mind isn't functioning well yet :o ;)
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Vanessa
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Posts: 4233
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Wed April 13th, 2011, 10:48 am

My Kindle is the 3G one. It's very easy to download books at the click of a button from the Kindle or from Amazon on a laptop/computer. However, I haven't used it abroad yet. I have downloaded non-Kindle books without any problems by sending it as an attachment in an email to my Kindle email address. There is a small charge - something like 20-40p depending how big your document is. I don't know about any other sort of document, though. It does say you can send Word documents. Here's what it says on Amazon:
Kindle makes it easy to take your personal documents with you. Each Kindle has a unique and customizable e-mail address you can set on your Manage Your Kindle page. You can send unprotected Microsoft Word, PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI files to your Kindle e-mail address.

To access your personal documents on your Kindle, send attachments to your Kindle's e-mail address ("name"@free.kindle.com ). The files will be sent to your Kindle via the Wi-Fi connection and also to the e-mail address associated with your Amazon.co.uk account at no charge.

To have your PDF documents converted to Kindle format so you can take advantage of functionality such as variable font size, annotation, Text-to-Speech, etc., type "Convert" in the subject of the e-mail when you submit your personal document to "name"@free.kindle.com. Image-heavy PDF files are presented in landscape orientation and don't work with devices that have auto-rotation, so those will be delivered in the Kindle format.

You can also transfer personal documents to your Kindle at no charge using your USB connection.
The internet feature is a little clunky, I find. I have got onto Librarything but it's very slow. I'll stick to using my laptop or mobile phone for general internet access.

I'm not sure how the 3G thing works as I've had to enter our personal wi-fi hex number onto my Kindle in order to get wi-fi access so I can download books automatically! It could possible be where I live (mobile phone network coverage isn't always very good. I have to go into the garden and away from the right-hand side of the house where there is a huge Leylandii hedge which seems to block it. Same with the TV aerial. And Sky is just a nightmare - as soon as it rains, no picture!)
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Ludmilla
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Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Wed April 13th, 2011, 1:06 pm

I think Misfit and Vanessa covered it. You'll need to decide what is more important to you: more seamless access (via 3G if you don't have wireless router in your home) or whether you are comfortable receiving your documents when connected via USB (personally, I think it can be a good thing to have this extra step to resist some of those impulse purchases -- Amazon makes it a little too easy to buy their books!). As Misfit mentioned, you can have documents sent to you from Amazon directly by using your Kindle email provided in the Manage Your Accounts. I'm not aware this is any different for UK customers than for US. The instructions for doing this are provided on Amazon's website.

We have a wireless router in our home, so I opted for Kindle Wifi (no 3G). I also have a Sony that is not wireless, so all the ebooks I put on my Sony are transferred via USB.

For personal documents, you might want to experiment and see which looks best on the Kindle: PDF,RTF, HTML. I haven't really experimented too much with this yet (at least not on my Kindle, I have transferred several PDFs and RTF files to my Sony and they have looked fine so far).

Good luck and enjoy your Kindle!

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sweetpotatoboy
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Joined: August 2008
Location: London, UK

Post by sweetpotatoboy » Wed April 13th, 2011, 1:47 pm

I've had my Kindle for a month or so. Like you, I largely wanted it for the many documents I already have.

YES, it can read PDFs (and importing these and the other non-Kindle formats that are supported via USB is a doddle). BUT, unless the PDF has specifically been created with large font, it is not an easy read; and even then, you don't really have many adjustment options.

If your PDFs or .doc are largely text, you're better off converting to .mobi files first, which the Kindle supports natively and can adjust as with its own format.

I use the 2epub website for conversions:
http://www.2epub.com/
You upload your file, choose convert to mobi, and download the result.

Maybe try testing converting a few of your PDFs and doc files into mobi first to see how they come out. If they're fine, then your Kindle will read and format them beautifully.
You'll need to download the Mobipocket reader for PCs to view the mobi files on your PC:
http://www.mobipocket.com/en/downloadso ... reader.asp
but your Kindle reads them as it is.

Hope that helps that part of your question.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed April 13th, 2011, 2:39 pm

Hi Ken,
Yes the 3G is free. No charges ever. I rarely use it to search the net--have used it to wiki a thing or two when reading--but in theory, you can read facebook and your email on it. I got the 3G option because I specifically bought my kindle so I could take my research documents with me to Europe.

Mine are mostly word documents which I have complied over the years by downloading appropriate parts of Google books, Wiki entries, and other articles from around the net. If I had known that I could have simply emailed them to my kindle account and had them converted to kindle format for a few pennies a document, I would have done that.

But since I didn't, I converted them to pdfs with a rather large fornt, as misfit suggested -- I think I used arial size 18, but I could just as well have made the page size smaller, since the kindle basically shows one page of a pdf on the screen. I just hooked my kindle up to my computer via the cable they include, and did a drag-and-arop into the kindle file it automatically opens for you. I now carry over 500 research documents around with me in my purse, and simply LOVE that part of things.

As to the 3G, when I was stuck at the Barcelona airport parking lot at 3AM, the dh trying to catch a few ZZZs in the car (much more comfy than the airport benches) and the light very dim, I discovered I could read on the kindle by blowing the text up huge, which I couldn't do with my pdfs. So right then and there, I went to Amazon on my kindle and bought one of EC's books, and in less than three minutes was happily reading.

One of these days, I'm actually gong to read the manual that came with it. :D

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Ken
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 633
Joined: April 2009
Location: Truro, Cornwall, UK

Post by Ken » Wed April 13th, 2011, 5:14 pm

Well, what can I say? You guys are the best! Thanks so much for all the advice. I think I'll go for the 3G option and then experiment as Sweetpotatoboy suggests. I did try the 2epub site, but wasn't able to upload the programme. I'll try again this evening.

Thanks again. Will let you know how I get on! :)

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sweetpotatoboy
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Joined: August 2008
Location: London, UK

Post by sweetpotatoboy » Wed April 13th, 2011, 5:57 pm

[quote=""Ken""]I did try the 2epub site, but wasn't able to upload the programme. I'll try again this evening.[/quote]

There's no program to upload. Just click on browse to find a file on your computer that you want to convert. Once you've selected that, you hit upload. Once that's uploaded, hit convert to mobi (the default is epub, which you don't want). Once it's converted, it gives you the option to download the converted file (right-click, and save target as). Should work smoothly. Let us know how you get on. I've found it converts PDFs to mobi very neatly.

SGM
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Posts: 699
Joined: March 2010

Post by SGM » Wed April 13th, 2011, 6:50 pm

[quote=""Ken""]I am about to purchase a Kindle. Before doing so, I wondered if I could possibly benefit from the experience a lot of you will have gained by now.

First, the main reason I want one is so that I can transfer a lot of my historical research from my laptop to the easier reading format provided by the Kindle (I find it difficult or uncomfortable to read a long document or an e-book on my computer). I am also of course interested in downloading future books to the Kindle, but I already have an extensive library of my favourite NF and HF books. I'm not sure that I want to go to the expense of purchasing the same books in e format.

Has anyone had the experience of transferring documents from their computers to the Kindle? I understand that the documents need to be in PDF Format, which covers the majority of my research docs (my WIP is however in 'Word,' so that will have to stay on my laptop).

I have broadband internet at home, but do not have a WiFi router. Does this mean I will have to go to a WiFi hot spot in order to be able download books? I could of course buy the Kindle with WiFi and 3G. Normally 3G in the UK is ok and not too expensive, But The moment you start to use it, say in France, the costs rocket! Amazon states that the 3G is provided 'free!' Is this as good as it sounds? Has anyone had the experience of downloading books while overseas using 3G?

Any help you can give will be most appreciated! :D [/quote]

I am based in the UK.

What Amazon has said about 3G being free for downloading books is true but how long it will stay that way -- who knows? However, I have had no problems with their 3G although some places are better than others. By that I mean that when travelling on a train, it tends to be dodgey when you are in the station but picks up quite quickly outside.

You can get internet access as well but this tends to be clunky and awkward -- but that might be because I haven't quite mastered the most effective use of the navigational key -- but on the other hand it might just be clunky and awkward. I must admit since using the Kindle Internet, I now find the Internet much easier on my phone which I used to find awkward but now find a lot easier than the Kindle.

I have transferred documents to Kindle. Word 2003 works (but it is said to be experimental). But you can easily convert to a .txt file (save as -- and select .txt). You could also convert them to PDF. If you don't have program already Cutepdf is free and exceptionally easy to use (you just send the document to the printer, selecting the Cutepdf printer from the printer drop down menu) and just so long as this has wrap text selected you should be OK. Alternatively, you can download a free program called Calibre which will convert from Word to Kindle or ePub etc etc. It is also incredibly useful for cataloguing ebooks, documents etc.

My Kindle has both WiFi and 3G and so long as you follow Amazon's instructions about which email address to use, you can convert documents this way but unless you want to pay, you need to use WiFi. Downloading of all Amazon purchased books is free via 3G.

If you want to keep editing your WIP then it would have to stay on your laptop because as yet there is no facility to edit such documents but only to keep notes and highlights. So the Kindle is fine for reading, downloading Amazon books (or freebies like Gutenberg) but it is no replacement for a computer (as yet).

I simply transfer from my PC to Kindle via USB using a simple copy and paste. However, I did have to change my virus scanner as the free one I was using from my provider meant that my PC didn't recognise the Kindle. But Norton works OK.

Does that help?
Last edited by SGM on Wed April 13th, 2011, 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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Ken
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 633
Joined: April 2009
Location: Truro, Cornwall, UK

Post by Ken » Wed April 13th, 2011, 7:43 pm

Does that help?? I am in awe of you guys. Where did you learn all of this stuff????? Thanks again!! :cool:

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