Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kindle for PC - Organizing and IMPORTING collections

Kindle for PC now has the ability to sort by collection and import collections.

This means, if you have a Kindle and Kindle App for PC, you can transfer collections from one to the other.  For a long time people have wanted a 'drag and drop' method to organize books, that would be easy to use and could be transferred to their Kindle. Now we have it.
In theory, I can drag and drop all my books into various collections, then send it to my Kindle and have it all nicely organized. It's pretty good and with some patience and practice, it's become a great tool for me.

However, it is not perfect and has limitations. And it sometimes throws out a couple of bugs & you need to be methodical. With a little bit of methodical step-by-step organizing, this can work well.

For this guide, I will call PC for Kindle "PC App", and will call the Kindle device "Device".
As far as I know, it will not work for apps on anything other than PC at this time.

There are 3 options for starting off:

1) Import from Device to PC App
if you have many books already sorted, you might want to import them to PC App, edit them and send back to your device.
Pros - can save a lot of time, many books may already be in collections that you wouldn't want to change
Cons - can end up with duplicate collections with different quantities in each.
If you delete anything from them in PC APP, it won't affect your Device. Only ADDING to the collection has any affect on the Device.

To do this method, go to PC App, click File, Import Collections, select the device. Your device collections will appear. You may now add to them.

2) Clean Slate Organization on PC App.  
Pros -
Cleaner, less likely to have unexplained differences in collections
You don't need to wipe your whole Kindle (as I did) - just delete the collections. Collection, Right Click, Delete collection

Cons - time consuming if you have a lot of books that need to go back into collections.

or 3) a bit of both. My recommended method.

You can delete collections that you know are completely disorganized on your device but leave alone any that you are happy with, like if you have a To Be Read collection with 400 books and you want to add to it but not remove from it.

So, delete the bad collections (not books!) on your Device. Do a Sync.
Then go to PC App and import collections from Device. It will bring in the collections that you left alone. Now create some new ones and start organizing books.
Try not to 'delete' anything from a collection that still exists on your device because deleting is what causes issues.

After any method, do a sync. I don't know if this helps or not but it cannot hurt. When I am happy with the collections on the PC App, I do a sync. Click Tools > Sync and check for items.
Then go to the Device, Menu > View Archived Items, click Import collections from other devices.
Selec the PC App. Import.

 - Some things to remember.

** Order in which to do things  **
When you get a new Kindle, you must download the books BEFORE you import the collections from your old device or from PC App. Otherwise you will still have to manually add the books to collections.
If anything is in archives and you want it in the new collections, download them to device FIRST.

Samples do not always cross over in the import, but they sometimes too. Since samples are unprotected, you can USB save them to your hard drive of your computer, and then copy them back over in the future.
This can mess up your numbers when you are comparing your device to your PC App, so I like to transfer them out of my device onto my hard drive.

Books out on Loan:
If you have loaned out books with the Lending feature, then they appear in archives only. That means, in PC App you can add it to a collection, but it won't be in the collection on your Device. You must wait until the book is off loan and you can download it again.

Games/ Active Content/ Main dictionaries such as Notepad and Calender do not transfer - you have to manage those on your device.

Clean Slate: If you do a 'clean slate' re-organize, you do NOT need to delete all your books. You just need to delete your old collections. This will keep the books on your device but they won't be in a collection.

Back up your collections to Amazon by turning on annotations back up. Menu > Settings, scroll to Annotations Backup. If you are starting this process by importing your Device collections to PC App, you will want to do this so Amazon has your most up to date collections.

Ghosting... I don't know why but when you delete an old collection, there's a ghost of it somewhere, so when you import, you may find it re-appearing with books in it. Simply delete the collection, and you won't lose your books.

On PC App, all books in the archive can be seen on your screen, and you can put them all into collections. On your Device, you only see the downloaded books. So a collection on PC App might show 20 books but the Device version shows 17. Maybe those 3 missing books are in archives and not on your Device.

Imported Collections compliment not replace your current collections
This is important. Let's say you put 20 books in a To Be Read collection on your Device. Then you import to the PC App.
On PC App, you remove 3 of them and add 4 others, so PC App shows 21 books. When you import that to Device, the 4 new ones will be added but it won't delete the 3 old ones. So PC App still shows 21, but now the device shows 24 (the original 20 plus the 4 new ones).

Likewise, if I delete a collection called "Thrillers" in the PC App but leave it on my Device, then when I import it will still be on my Device. I would have to manually delete it from the Device too.If you think you will be deleting books from an EXISTING collection, then I recommend either a) deleting the entire collection if it is not too big, or b) if you are just deleting a few books form a large collection then do it manually on the Device. Don't try the Device-to-PC-to-Device-Shuffle and expect to be able to delete a bunch without getting into a mess.

Even when all is done, and you have dragged all your books into a collection, then imported it to the device, you may still have the odd book that won't co-operate. First, go back to PC App and check, yes it is in a folder. If not, assign it to a folder. If it is, try importing again. Sometimes it then behaves. If not, you might just have to assign it manually.

PC App sort by:
PC App lets you sort books by Title, Author or Most Recent. Keep in mind, most recent applies to the APP not your device. Just because you read a book last week on the device, doesn't mean App will see it as recent.
On App, you see ALL books or Downloaded books. You cannot tell which ones have been put into collections without physically clicking it. Bit of a pain.

Duplicate collections
If you import back and forward, you can end up in a pickle with alsorts of duplicate collections going on. Example. You create one on Device called "Thrillers". Then - without importing - you create one on PC APP called Thrillers. When you import one to the other, now you have TWO collections called Thrillers. With different books in.
To avoid this: pick a method, be systematic. If you end up with dud collections, delete the collection. It won't delete the books, just the shelf they are on.

I deleted books from a collection on PC App, but they are still in the collection on my Device.
Importing from another Kindle only compliments your collections, it doesn't replace them or remove anything.
This is because if you have your books organized and you want to add your spouse's collections, you won't want to UN-do yours, just add to them.

Bug reports/ Feedback to amazon - On PC App, click Help > Send Feedback

This guide is very new and open to lots of suggestions to make this process better. I got there through trial and error. Would appreciate feedback.

1 comment :

  1. I am aware of 3rd programs that let you organize, but I love this ability to transfer to my kindle itself.