For the most part Amazon’s “Send to Kindle” program has worked out extremely well for them. It creates a convenient means to send just about any readable content you have on hand to your Kindle with no hassle. Anybody with an internet connection can use it and there is absolutely no complexity to the interface. You simply select your document and send it.
Apparently that wasn’t enough. Now it is possible to pick up Send to Kindle for Firefox. This takes a slightly different approach, though it delivers much the same functionality as the desktop integration we’ve had a chance to get used to.
Initial reviews have largely been positive. There was some concern with compatibility as the browser plugin was not properly updated to account for one of Mozilla’s frequent software updates and that seems to have cost Amazon a large share of its overall rating in the Firefox Extensions rating system. Since the last software update there have been few written complaints.
Rather than replicating the experience of the desktop app, Send to Kindle for Firefox takes on the likes of Instapaper. It will allow the preservation of web pages for viewing at the reader’s convenience without the need for perpetually open tabs or being stuck in front of the computer at all. Content can be read, preserved for reference, or even archived in the user’s Kindle documents.
The only real problem that seems to have come up so far, at least based on my own experience, is the inability of the new extension to push documents to the whole range of Kindle apps. Kindle for Windows 8 is unable to retrieve these documents as is the Kindle Cloud Reader. These are two of the most-used options available when a Kindle device is not on hand and neither will even acknowledge anything that isn’t purchased directly through the Kindle Store.
That’s a problem that has been needing attention for a number of reasons for quite some time now. While it is a problem that these apps can’t access user content, it is hardly fair to let that color a review of an unrelated service beyond the obvious noting of such a problem. If you need to have access to saved content in places beyond your mobile device or eReader, it might be best to avoid getting too excited about this one.
This will be of the most interest to people who truly despise ads in the web reading. It allows you to conveniently read anything you want on your Kindle ad-free without recourse to tedious copy/paste options. There are still some problems, especially in badly coded or complexly formatted sites, where you can end up with jumbles of code. It isn’t a perfect application and you’re certainly not going to be able to consider it completely finished just yet. As it stands, however, this is a valuable tool and adds a great new feature to the “Send to Kindle” application toolset.
It hasn’t been all that long since we first saw the release of the Send-to-Kindle program for the PC, but it has already proven to be a huge improvement to the Kindle’s functionality for many users. Not only does it make things like exporting DRM-free eBooks from Calibre that much easier (nobody likes having to find their USB cable, assuming they even have one), the ability to print from practically any window directly into a Kindle document makes life a lot easier. Now Mac users will get to experience the same benefits, thanks to Amazon’s newest software release.
If you are a Mac user and have an interest in taking advantage of this new feature, head over to this page on the Amazon.com site and download the application. The installation is simple and will result in having a “Send to Kindle” icon sitting in your dock. Any time you want to send something to your Kindle, you can simply drag and drop the document into the dock icon. Multiple simultaneous documents are acceptable as well, of course.
If you want to send something active to the Kindle, perhaps a web page or working document from Word, the Send to Kindle application also includes the same sort of “printer drivers” that the PC version makes available. Simply print as you normally would, choosing “Send to Kindle” as your device of choice. The same window will appear that you see when dragging document icons into the dock.
This window offers a few useful options. Most importantly, you get to tag your document with both Title and Author metadata. This means that it is not important to worry about file naming prior to transfer. One less hassle. You also get to decide on delivery options. You can choose to have your documents sent via Wi-Fi or Whispernet. If you choose Whispernet, the usual charges will apply and as such it is usually preferable to avoid it. You also get to decide which Kindle or Kindles get access to the document being sent. This can be everything on your account, just your smartphone’s Kindle for iOS app, or any combination in between.
You also get the option of archiving your document in your account’s Kindle Library. This is particularly handy and may get used more often than you expect. While each account only gets 5GB of free storage space, this does not generally fill up quickly when it is used primarily for document storage. This means that anything you think might be handy to have available can be stored in the cloud even when it is not worth the trouble of keeping on your Kindle itself at any given time. I find myself frequently using this function even when I have no reason to need an immediate transfer to the Kindle.
So far we lack any information about a possible “Send to Kindle for Linux” option. That would seem to be the next big step if another were to be take. Given Amazon’s enthusiasm for Linux as a platform, it might be a fairly long wait. It is definitely nice to see Kindle eReader and Kindle Fire functionality continuing to be expanded and made available to the largest possible audiences, however, and we can only anticipate the trend continuing as Kindle eBook prices drop in the near future.
While the news that Amazon had jumped at the chance to update the Kindle for iPad app to take advantage of the new Retina display being included in the iPad 3 was interesting, it didn’t accomplish a whole lot in terms of feature improvement for the end user. In fact, many complained that they noticed some small but useful options having been taken away quietly in the course of the update. One might expect that this is an effort to draw slightly more attention to the usefulness of Kindle eReaders, or at least the Kindle Fire, but with their newest release of Kindle for Android Amazon has demonstrated that they are still interested in making sure that users stay satisfied.
The most important feature update by far is the new ability to use Amazon’s Send-to-Kindle application to transfer files between your PC and your Android device’s Kindle app. Say what you will about the inconvenience of wireless transfers of large quantities of files, it will never be anything but a major advantage to be able to instantly move any compatible file right to the device you want to use it on. Nobody really likes having to keep track of their data transfer cables or swapping SD cards around, as far as I can tell.
While it will probably come up slightly less, at least right away, the inclusion of Kindle Format 8 compatibility for the Kindle app should make a big difference going forward as well. This format, announced in October of last year but only released officially back in January, gives the person generating each title far more control over the way their work is displayed than ever before.
This format has met with mixed responses, given that for many the advantage of the eReader will always be its ability to reflow text to meet the demands of the reader in terms of font, text size, spacing, etc., but it does allow Amazon to add some content to the Kindle Store that would otherwise be difficult at best. Among those titles that Android users will now be able to make use of are thousands of comics, graphic novels, children’s books, and more. All forms of image heavy composition should benefit from improved use of the newer HTML5 based format.
Kindle news is going to continue to center around the ongoing push to improve the Kindle Fire and its anticipated successor for quite a while, it seems. This is only natural since it is a huge undertaking that has thus far met with almost unbelievable success for a company so new to hardware development. It is reassuring to those who bought into the Kindle line as a reading method that this side of things is not being lost in the rush of things.
By improving the Kindle Apps and further supporting the new Kindle file format, Amazon improves the reading experience for millions of people and attracts even more high quality content for readers to enjoy. With luck the trend will continue and more effort will be put into improvements across the board in months to come.
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) just released a new software program called Send to Kindle that makes it easier to send most printable documents to both the e-ink Kindles and the Kindle Fire.
I downloaded the new “Send to Kindle” app on to my Kindle Touch with ease using the detailed instructions that Amazon provides and the prompts from my browser.
Right now this program is only available on Windows, but a Mac version is coming soon. Once downloaded, you can access the application in two ways. Through Windows Explorer, you can right click on the document and select “Send to Kindle”. You can also go into a program such as Microsoft Word that supports printing and select “Send to Kindle” from the list of printer options.
To test it out, I sent my resume to my Kindle. It appeared on my home screen within seconds, and formatted nicely to fit the screen. Just make sure the Wi-Fi or 3G access is enabled. Something like this is much more useful for sending documents like articles set up as a PDF that would be easier to read on the Kindle than the computer. I could have used this during graduate school when all of my classes required reading a lot of PDF articles.
The Send to Kindle program is also great for storing documents and can be used to email the documents to contacts on your pre approved contact list. Instructions on how to manage your Kindle’s email address are available as a link from the Send to Kindle page. Just search for send to kindle in the AMazon search box.
Send to Kindle works on all Kindles and devices that support it such as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. There’s no mention of Blackberry or even Android yet.
As with all of your other Kindle content, any documents you send to your Kindle is stored in the archives for retrieval from your Amazon account anytime. Send to Kindle also saves your last page read, bookmarks, and highlights and includes the ability to sync across devices.
With such easy access to portable storage and unlimited cloud storage, there should be no more excuses for losing a document again. So much for the “the dog ate my homework” excuse.
Users of both the Amazon Kindle and PCs in general may be pleased to note that Amazon has released a new software tool for the PC that will make it a great deal simpler to transfer personal documents to a Kindle device. Simply called Send to Kindle for PC, this program will both insert an option to “Send to Kindle” in the context menu for any compatible file and add a printer option to print directly to your Kindle Library in a PDF format. It isn’t a groundbreaking development that will revolutionize the way we think of eReaders, Tablets, Kindles, or computers, but Amazon has actually addressed one of the most common hassles of using their devices in a simple yet thoroughly useful way.
The workings are simple enough. Install the package and log into your account at the prompt and you are ready to go. In the case of files you already have laying around on your computer, simply right-click and click “Send to Kindle”. You will be prompted to edit the title and author of the work and given the option to deliver to any registered Kindle device attached to your account. There is a check box present for anything that you desire to have added to your Kindle Library archive. To the best of my knowledge, working mostly from trial and error, leaving this box unchecked will prevent a copy from being saved in cloud storage.
Printing via Send to Kindle is equally simple. Just open whatever it is that you wish to have sent and choose the Print option as if you were looking for a paper copy. Send to Kindle will be listed among your computer’s printers. From there you will get exactly the same prompts mentioned above, with a note at the bottom of the window that the resulting document will be in PDF format.
This pretty much eliminates the need for USB transfer cables on Kindle eReaders in any situation where reliable WiFi access is available. It seems to take less than a minute for things to upload, process, and arrive at the destination device(s), with some delay to be expected for much larger files (max 50mb). This will not take the place of your cable for music or video files, which means that it is obviously more targeted toward eReaders, but documents and photos can be sent directly to the Kindle Fire if desired just like any other Kindle.
It’s nice to see that despite the overwhelming fascination with the Kindle Fire these past few months, Amazon has not forgotten its eReading customers. This is extremely useful, and gets around the annoyances of physical connection and emailed documents. While at present it does not include any sort of document conversion, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to find out that at some point Amazon simply tells users to start sending EPUBs this way and removes the need for even something as simple as Calibre. Give it a try and see what you think. The Send to Kindle download is only 5mb or so and makes the Kindle even more useful.