Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sideloading Your Kindle for the Tech Impaired Like Me

Because I get books from a variety of sources, they have to be loaded onto my Kindle somehow. I’m not the techiest person on the planet [that hollow sound is my webmistress laughing], and for some reason, drop and drag frustrates me because I can never see how to have everything on the screen at once. When I get files by email, or buy them from vendors that aren't Amazon, I have a couple of choices.

One way is to use the “Send to Kindle” feature. You can download the app from Amazon onto your computer. This page has step by step instructions. Once you set this up, all you have to do is right click on a saved file, which doesn’t have to be an ebook, and click “send to kindle.” Basically you email the file to your kindle’s email address, which is usually whateveryouremailassociatedwithyourAmazonaccountis@kindle.com . The help page linked above will show you how to verify your kindle email.

Two of my favorite vendors, Dreamspinner and All Romance eBooks, now have “Send to Kindle” as part of their service. Yes, buying from Amazon is easy, but it’s not the only easy vendor. Both sites will walk you through the set-up process, which goes like so. You tell Amazon that the vendor is an approved source by going to Your Account > Manage Your Content and Devices > Personal Document Settings. There you add the vendor’s addy, which Dreamspinner and Are give you as part of the setup process. The addies look funny, but copy and paste them.  Do it up once and never worry about it again. Worry about your book budget maybe, but not how to get stories on your reader.

You can do this with all books you bought before the Send To Kindle at time of purchase option existed. You can even load PDFs, but they will look kind of choppy, and it's not the ebook's fault, that's just how PDFs look when they've been converted. PDFs are fixed format, Kindle does reflowable text, and they don't play nice together, but it is possible.

Another way is to sideload. This sounds scary when you’re like me and secretly fear all technology exists only to zap your brains out, but it turned out to be pretty simple. (My operating system is Windows 7. Maybe we can hear from someone else using Windows 8 or Mac.)

For sideloading, your Kindle is really an external hard drive. So, just like your backup drive or a thumb drive, plug the turned-on Kindle into your computer with the USB cable that you use for charging your device. The computer will beep and boop and tell you it’s detected the Kindle. You can minimize the window that opens up.

On your computer, open your Library pane (bottom left corner of your screen, looks like a manila folder) and find the book you want to sideload. Select it, right click on it, and then click on “copy”. Still in your Library pane, select the Kindle, which is probably showing as your E drive, or possibly your F drive, depending on which port you used and what else you have attached. The Kindle files expand into the next row. Select the Documents folder (one click, you don’t have to open it) and then right-click, and then choose “Paste.”

Your book is now on your Kindle! You can load a PDF file this way, and it will look nice but not have all the features a mobi file has.

Disconnect your Kindle properly to avoid possible damage to the files, which you do by “ejecting device.” On the lower right corner of your computer screen, there is an icon to eject, which may be hidden in a group behind a triangle. Click the triangle and choose the icon of a USB plug with a green circle and check mark. A window opens with the choice of Eject Kindle. Click that, and it will give you another message that it’s safe to disconnect.

You just sideloaded your book. Go read!

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