I am very excited with this recent press release from Amazon:
In brief, the press releases says that *native* PDF support is coming to the Kindle, together with a better power management through an upcoming over-the-air (OTA) firmware update. Here’s a snippet of the actual press release:
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 24, 2009– Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced two new enhancements to the latest generation Kindle—85 percent more battery life and a native PDF reader. Kindle now has battery life of up to seven days even with wireless turned on, a significant improvement from the previous battery life of four days. Battery life with wireless turned off remains at the previous level of up to two weeks. Battery power management for portable wireless devices is a complex technical area, and the battery life improvement announced today is the result of a six month firmware improvement and testing program.
Current users who need to read PDF-formatted documents has to send those files to Amazon. After converting, Amazon will then send the converted document back to the users through Whispernet. I tried this service once and I was not very happy with the document sent back to me – to much formatting errors. But once native PDF support is rolled out, users should be able to simply copy over those documents to the Kindle and it should be displayed “as-is”.
This is a follow up to my previous post.
Another way to expand the library of your Kindle for PC is to use Calibre in conjunction with it. As good as it is, Calibre, in my opinion, has one weakness – its eBook rendering application is not very good in displaying ebooks. But there is a way around this You can use Calibre’s “save to disk” option to export your ebooks to Kindle for PC.
On Calibre’s screen, highlight the book you want to read on Kindle for PC and click on the “Save to disk on a single directory”. Then let Calibre save it to your Kindle for PC folder (found at “My Documents” –> “My Kindle Content”), Once saved successfully, open Kindle for PC and the new eBook should be visible in the main screen on your PC’s Kindle. Just make sure that the ebook you are saving is already in .mobi or .prc format.
When I installed Amazon’s Kindle for PC yesterday, I was disappointed to see that there was no option to install my own eBooks on it. There was no menu option for adding or even managing books I already have!
Well, I was wrong. It turns out that the Kindle for PC *can* read books not purchased from Amazon! So here’s a short instruction on how to add non-DRM’d books to the Kindle for PC.
- Go to your favorite free ebook downloading site. Make sure that the ebooks that can be downloaded are in Mobipocket format (either .mobi or .prc) (I recommend Feedbooks.com)
- Make sure that you’ve already downloaded and installed Kindle for PC on your computer.
- Download your desired ebook.
- Once downloaded, simply double click on the file (either .mobi or .prc) and choose to open it using Kindle for PC.
- That’s it! The ebook you have just downloaded can now be enjoyed using Kindle for PC.
The picture below shows my Kindle for PC with an ebook I recently downloaded from Feedbooks. It also shows the Kindle’s Users Guide that came with my *real* Kindle.
- Connect the Kindle to your computer through the USB cable supplied with it.
- View the contents of your Kindle. It should have the following visible folders: “Documents”, “Audible”, and “Music”.
- Create an additional folder and name it “Pictures”. Double-click your newly created “Pictures” folder and create subfolders for each group of picture you intend to view on your Kindle. i.e. “Vacation”, “Party”, etc.
- Now you can start copying pictures to the subfolders you’ve created. The Kindle will accept the following formats: .JPG, .GIF, and .PNG.
- Unmount the Kindle from your computer.
- At the Kindle’s “Home” screen, press [ALT] + [Z] and the Kindle should recognize the sub-folders you’ve created as “books”. Select any subfolder and click.to view the pictures.
- You can then go forward/backward through your pictures using the Next page and Previous page buttons of the Kindle.
Note: Resize your pictures to lower resolution. High resolution pictures takes a lot of time to render on the Kindle and eventually end up not looking too good on-screen.
Quick tip: The Kindle can also be used as an outstanding podcast-listening device. Download your podcast using your favorite program, copy it over to the Kindle’s “Audible” folder. It will be recognized as an “ebook”. When you listen to your podcast and need to take time off in the middle of the file, simply press the “Home” button of the Kindle. When you are ready to listen again, open up your podcast and it will start where you left it.
I have been loading and deleting blogs and RSS feeds on my Kindle daily, sometimes, even twice a day using Calibre. It has become a routine to download RSS feeds and blogs everyday. Yesterday, after loading a bunch of RSS feeds to my Kindle, I noticed that each item I open gets thrown to the end of the list despite my Kindle’s setting to display “By Most Recent First”.
This prompted me to do a soft reset of the Kindle (sliding the switch for 15 seconds) but it did not fix the problem. To fix the problem, I had to do a hard reset to factory default (press the “menu” button while in the “settings” screen). It turned off my Kindle and when it restarted, it displayed the initial screen when I first turned it on. All my books were deleted and I had to re-load all my ebooks.
No big deal. Since I organize my eBooks using Calibre, reloading all my eBooks took me 5 minutes and now I’m back to reading my books.
I won’t be posting as furiously as the past weeks, its a long weekend and I intend to enjoy it curled up with my Kindle. See you all later!
I’m still in honeymoon with my Kindle. On the day I received it, I was able to load it up with several eBooks that I am currently reading on my Nokia e71. Transferring of files to the Kindle is a no-brainer: just use the supplied USB cable and connect it on the laptop, copy the eBook files (.mobi, .prc, or.azw format) to the Kindle’s “Documents” folder and that’s it!
One disadvantage I am experiencing right now (apart from it not having a backlight) is that I can no longer go on a short smoking break and read ebooks. Unlike my Nokia e71, the Kindle is a tad too big to carry with me to the smoking area. I often read a chapter or two of a book while smoking and I think I will miss it if I read exclusively on the Kindle.
What I really love doing with the Kindle now is to read my favorite blogs and online newspapers offline. I download them using Calibre in the morning and that provides me with a whole day’s worth of casual reading material. I, of course, still read my eBooks on the Kindle but I reserve that pleasure as an after-lunch stress-buster and after-work routine at home.
Do I still feel the same way towards the Kindle on our second day together – hell yeah!
GOOD NEWS: Downloadsquad reports that Amazon has 18,000 free eBooks available for download. They even have a screenshot of a book that can be downloaded to the Kindle for free!
BAD NEWS: Apparently the offer is only good for U.S. residents only because when I browsed the link provided by Downloadsquad, all the 18,000 books still cost between $1.99 to $2.00 each (approximately Php100 in our local currency).