Syncing ‘Last Page Read’ on Kindles for non-Amazon Books

If you buy an e-book from the Amazon.com store and send it to multiple reading devices, chances are good that they will remember the last page read for that book between devices.  This feature (sometimes referred to as “syncing”) doesn’t work if you “sideload” (directly copy a file from another device) a non-Amazon book.  For instance, if I copy an e-book file from my computer to both my Kindle Keyboard and my Kindle Fire HD via the USB cable that book will not remember the last page read between those Kindles.  So what is the solution?  I know two ways to make this work.

Send to Kindle for PC

The first is using the “Send to Kindle” program provided by Amazon.  You can download the program Send to Kindle for PC from the Amazon.com site.  Once it is installed, and you register with your Amazon.com account information, it can be called up by right-clicking a file (formats: DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PDF or MOBI) on your PC.

S2K1

Choose which devices to send to and be sure that the “Archive documents..” box is checked.  Once this window is opened you can also drag-and-drop multiple files on it.  “Send to Kindle” will also appear as a new printer in your Print menu, but if you choose this option it will always send a PDF document to your device(s).

To specifically use this to sync last page read on your books they need to be in one of the acceptable formats (MOBI, for example, will work fine).  Just use the program to send a MOBI-formatted book file to your devices with the “Archive document in your Kindle Library” box checked.  As a pop-up says, it may take several minutes for it to be delivered by Wi-Fi.

Calibre

The other way to sync your e-books is to use the Calibre e-book management program on your PC to convert your file to MOBI format.  Even if you obtained the file already in MOBI format, use Calibre to re-convert it before sending to your devices.  Also, if you are a long-time Calibre user and converted your files with a version of Calibre prior to 7.44 you need to re-convert those files with a newer version of Calibre.

To get the e-books to sync using Calibre just send the MOBI format file to your devices through a USB cable.

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Summary

Both methods require installing and using a PC application.  With “Send to Kindle” you don’t need to hook your devices to your PC with a USB cable and you can sync more formats.  However, the books do pass through the Amazon cloud server.  With Calibre, only the MOBI format will sync properly and the files are transferred directly to the devices via cable — by-passing Amazon.com entirely.

 

Read EPUB Books on Kindle Fire Without Conversion

Yes, it is possible but will require “side-loading” the necessary app (Aldiko Book Reader Application).  Once loaded, the Aldiko app works perfectly on the Kindle Fire (HD).

Step 1 Change a system setting on the Kindle Fire

On your Kindle Fire use the pull-down settings menu, choose “More” then “Device” then turn on the “Allow Installation of Applications from Unknown Sources” option.

Step 2 Download the APK file

Download the application “apk” installation file.  The apk file can be downloaded directly from the source at the originators web site to your Kindle Fire.  Open the web browser on your Fire and type in “Aldiko”.  From the search results go to their Home page.  Go to “Support” from the green  menu bar.

Alkido1

On the Support page follow the first topic link (“Download the Latest…”).

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On the Download page click the apk file link (“Aldiko Book Reader Free 2.2.3.apk” at the bottom  of the page.

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Download the file to a folder on your Kindle Fire.

Step 3 Install the APK package

Open a file manager app on your Kindle Fire, like ES File Explorer or Browser for SkyDrive (discussed in a previous posting and available from the Amazon App Store) and navigate to the folder where you put the apk file (usually “Downloads” by default).  Touch the file name to launch the installation of the app.

Step 4 Get Books

Aldiko has a built-in Store for buying epub books, or get books from any source and copy them to your Kindle Fire by WiFi or USB cable.  To add books to your Aldiko library use the “Files” widget on the main screen to specify epub files on your Kindle Fire.  It is also capable of aquiring  school and library books from the library’s “overdive” system without having to install a separate overdrive app.  Enjoy!

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How to Read Kindle Notes on Your Computer

The Kindle allows you to make notes in your books by typing any text while you are reading.  You may also highlight any text by moving the cursor to the start, clicking to select, moving the cursor to the end and clicking again to complete the selection.  These two types of user text (notes and highlights) are stored on the Kindle in a file called ‘My Clippings.txt’.  Here is how you can get to the text on your computer.

Hook up your Kindle to your computer with the USB cable.

On your computer, look for the Kindle to show up as a new ‘Drive’.

Click on the Kindle drive and open the ‘documents’ folder.

Find and copy the file ‘My Clippings.txt’ to your computer.

Open the ‘My Clippings.txt’ file with your word processor application.

Below is a picture of an example file.  If you have many notes in the file, use the ‘Find’ feature of your word processor application to look up what you want.  You can also manage your notes by periodically renaming the “My Clippings.txt’ file to some other .txt file on the Kindle, or just copy it then delete it and the Kindle will start with a fresh one next time.

KindleClip

UPDATE (for Calibre users):

As of Calibre version 06.44 you can use the “Fetch Annotations” feature to transfer your notes and annotations into the Calibre database (for Kindles only).  They will then be merged with the “Comments” shown under each book in the “Book Description” pane in Calibre.  From the mobileread forums:

  • Connect a Kindle via USB and wait until the Reader icon is displayed next to the Library icon.
  • Click the small down arrow to the right of the Send to device icon, then select Fetch annotations.
  • The Jobs icon spins while Calibre is retrieving annotations from the Kindle.
  • A progress dialog is displayed while the annotations are merged into the database comments.

Is Your Kindle Ready for TEOCAWKI?

asteroidsThat’s right, The End Of Civilization As We Know It! Maybe you and your trusty Kindle will survive the disaster.  It would probably be handy to have some useful information on the Kindle, besides that copy of Robinson Crusoe.  I’ll get you started with a reformatted survival guide book.  This is from the US Army and was written for soldiers in need of wilderness survival tips.  It’s a large, comprehensive guide with illustrations that I found in an old MS Word doc format.

I’ve resized and reformatted it into an Adobe PDF file that fits my Kindle 3 display perfectly without any need for conversion to another format.  You can download the file here (Wilderness Survival Guide (+TOC).pdf).  So snatch up this guide before it’s too late, and you will be the most knowledgeable survivor in your neighborhood (until your Kindle battery runs down).

Kindle Keyboard Skinning for Fading Keys

A few of the keys on my Kindle 3 (“Kindle Keyboard”) had started to fade away with use.  Not that they were all that visible to start with.  I’d describe them as matte, off-white on a medium gray background.  Recently, I discovered that a vinyl skin could be purchased which covers the keys on the Kindle, and features far more readable keyboard lettering.  You can see a before and after comparison in the photos below.

keyboard
Can you read these keys?

keyboard_skin
How about now?

These skins are made by Invisible Defenders and sold at Decalrus.com.  Specifically, the Kindle 3 skins covering the keyboard area are called “Kindle 3_NOKEY” skins and they have a selection of over 600 styles.  For $11 USD, I think they can make a tremendous difference for reading the keys and offer some protection as well.  Or if you would prefer to buy one from amazon.com (from $11.95 and up) search their site for “Kindle 3 nokey”.   If you don’t like the shiny vinyl look they also have some with a matte finish.

Update:  To clarify pricing: Decalrus.com skins are $11.00 + ($3.00 for matte option) + $3.00 shipping.  Amazon.com skins sell for $11.95 +($1.00 for matte option) + $4.99 shipping.  If you can’t get free shipping, then both shiny and matte skins are cheaper direct from decalrus.com.

Kindle 3 Wallpapers

After jail breaking my Kindle 3 and installing the screen saver hack [instructions here], I went on a quest for new wallpapers.  The wallpapers for Kindle 3 need to be 600 x 800 pixel JPG or PNG files in 8-bit grayscale.  Here are a few places to get some wallpapers.

Here are some that I found and modified for a Kindle 3. [see a few more in this post]

finlay_13starkendenquest gahan
Grayscale_by_bmxer197 L_Virgil_Finlay_The_Time
stoer03 stoer05
stoer07 stoer08