Yeah, I can’t blame you. Writers spend enough time sitting at computers. Why not read in comfort?
First off, you don’t have to own a Kindle. You can download Kindle reading apps for other portable devices too. My top choice for reading Kindle books is my iPad. For reading on the run, I like my phone. I have an old, clunky 1st-generation Kindle (the kind with the back cover that keeps falling off), but I can’t stand the scroll bar after getting used to a touch screen. I upgraded to the Kindle Touch, but returned it because the screen responded so slowly. Plus? I thought reading .pdf files on the new Kindle would be cool. Nope. It wasn’t. The pdf transferred to a print too small to read. Making the text bigger meant it shifted off the screen. Maybe I missed a setting or two and there was a way around this, but I try not to pay money for gadgets that make me want to throw them across the room.
So this isn’t a wild endorsement of Kindles. Rather, it’s a record of what my beta readers and I did with the readers we already owned.
You have options and I’ll list them here from most complicated to least:
- Use Calibre or a similar program. Writers use these to work on final ebooks they release to the public. If you already have experience on this level, go with what you know. Your results will be beautiful.
- If you already use Scrivener, compile your manuscript as a Kindle eBook. Is it worth it to buy the program just for Kindle formatting? Probably not, but use it if you have it.
- Convert your doc by emailing it to your super-secret email address for converting files. (More on this in a second.)
- Log in to Amazon.
- There should be a menu on the left side. One of the menu options is “Kindle.” Hover over that and you get a submenu option: “Manage Your Kindle.” Click that.
- I always have to log in again at that point.
- On the next screen, in the left menu, under the header “Your Kindle Account,” there’s an option: “Personal Document Settings.” Click that.
- Look at your settings for “whispernet delivery options.” You can limit the charge through whispernet 3G or you can do like I do and keep whispernet disabled. This means you’ll have to use an existing wireless connection (or USB) to get your personal documents. This works for me. I don’t need to use their 3G service and I don’t want to accidentally use it if my kindle can’t find my home network for some reason.
- From the “Personal Document Settings,” page, find your “Send-to-Kindle Email Settings.”
- You will see at least one email address–more if you have more than one device registered.
- If you don’t have an address here, make sure your device (or reading software) is linked to your account.
- Make note of the Kindle address you want to use.
- From the “Personal Document Settings” page, look at your approved email list.
- You can only receive documents from addresses on that list.
- At a minimum, make sure your return email address is there.
- If writers are going to send files directly to your kindle, make sure to add their addresses here.
- Send it to your own [Kindle name in the above super-secret kindle adresss]@free.kindle.com (Subject line: “Convert”)
- I usually just send this as a .doc file. It might work with other files.
- Amazon will send you an email when the file is converted, along with a link to the file.
- Go to that link. Deliver the file to your own Kindle reading device. Make sure you like the way it looks.
You can either send your kindle book to your reader’s Kindle directly (easiest) or email the file and let the reader send it on to the super-secret Kindle address. When you send to the kindle, there’s no need for subject or message.
After you send, refresh your Kindle and the file should show up. (It took a few minutes longer than I thought it should, so don’t despair if it’s not immediate.) If it doesn’t show up after a few minutes, check the archives from your reader. It sometimes ends up there.
Please note: If you are sending files from a PC, you may need this free program to send files: http://www.amazon.com/sendtokindle
From the “Personal Documents” page, you’ll see a list of files. The book you’re reading will appear here. When you’re done with it, delete it.
This is the method I’ve used with beta readers and it’s worked for us. It’s really not as difficult as it sounds once we’ve set things up. Please do share your experience in the comments. Any tips and tricks I haven’t covered? Know of any similar tutorials for Nook? Do you use iPads in creative ways? Do you use dropbox or cloud for this? I’d love to hear what works for you.