I was lucky enough to get an Amazon Kindle e-book reader for Christmas, and have been enjoying it tremendously. Being a geek, though, I’ve been reading up on ways to get the most out of the experience.
First, where can I find stuff to read? Obviously, Amazon’s Kindle Store is the number one stop. There are books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs available, some costing little to nothing. However another great resource is archive.org’s Text Archive, home to countless works available for free.
Second, what if I have an existing PDF or MS Word document that I’d like on the Kindle? One option is to email the document to Amazon – they will then convert it to a Kindle-readable format and send it directly to your device. This service does cost money, though (more info on the support page). Another option (also described on the support page) is to use Amazon’s free conversion service. In this scenario, the document will be sent to you via email, and it’s up to you to get it to your device (via USB connection to your computer).
One drawback to these two options, however, is lack of control over document “meta” information, such as title, author, cover image, table of contents, etc. This isn’t a big deal when you buy directly from Amazon (who typically clean up their publications very well), or only have a few docs on your device. But if you have a lot of third-party, poorly converted documents, it soon becomes a problem when you’d like to sort by author, for example, for better organization. To solve this, Mobipocket has developed Mobipocket Creator. This software lets you convert PDF, Word, and other files, and gives you full control over meta data. Tip, the author field should almost always be [last name, first name] in order for the Kindle to sort it properly. Once converted, you transfer the file(s) to your device via USB as previously mentioned.
Finally, what if I have a Kindle-ready electronic document, but the meta information is incorrect? You’ll often run into this when downloading from third-party sites (like archive.org mentioned above). Mobipocket Creator won’t help here – for this, check out Calibre, e-book management software. This will do much of the same with regards to polishing up meta data, and will leave you a file suitable to transfer back to your device.
If you have any other good Kindle links, resources, or hints, please leave a comment below!