An easy way to move files from your Mac (or PC) to your Kindle

By John Yunker,

When I tried out the Kindle Fire, the first thought that occurred to me was How do I easily get documents onto it?

Of course, any book, song, or movie I purchase from Amazon is automatically downloaded to the Kindle — and made available to my Kindle app on my iPad and Mac.

But what about PDF files or Kindle books that I’ve downloaded or made elsewhere, like Gutenberg.org?

I still use my (now ancient) second-generation Kindle, which shipped with a USB cable that allowed me to drag files over. That’s the old way of doing things.

The Kindle Fire doesn’t even ship with a USB cable.

These days, we have the cloud — that disk drive on the Internet somewhere that will hold all of your documents, songs, and other digital detritus.

But the cloud doesn’t always make things easier. If anything, I find that people are really confused about  managing all these Kindle devices, apps, and clouds.

So Amazon wisely created a simple application, simply named Send to Kindle, that allows you to virtually drag files to your Kindle. There is a PC version here.

Here’s what it looks like when you open it:

Pretty simple — you just drag a file onto it and it then displays a window like the following:

I just used a test document. What’s interesting is that it gives you a choice of Wi-Fi transfer (which means your device is on the same network as your Mac) or Amazon’s “Whispernet” network — which Amazon charges for. I’m cheap, so I opt for Wi-Fi. And as you can see here, the app has discovered my iPad (which has the Kindle app installed on it). If I had multiple devices and Kindles on this network, you would see those as well.

In this example, I’m transferring a PDF file, but I could also transfer a Word document, raw text document, or another .Mobi (Kindle) book.

The file is also automatically saved in my Kindle library — which lives up in Kindle’s cloud. If I were to click the “Manage your Kindle” link I would be taken to my Kindle library web page, where I can see everything in the library.

So far, I’ve used the app several times, and it works as advertised.

 

The Kindle Fire is a great deal as tablets go, but I’m sticking with the old Kindle

By John Yunker,

I like the Kindle Fire.

Though many tech gurus have criticized it for not living up to the Apple iPad (and it doesn’t), the Kindle Fire is an incredible deal at $199.

I played around with the Fire for a bit. And despite the name (Fire? Really?) the device didn’t feel cheap at all, as many said. Though it’s not as user friendly as the iPad, I had no trouble figuring out how to use it. The color screen is a welcome sight if you love full-color books. And the fact that you can start watching movies right away thanks to a one-month free trial of Amazon Prime is no trivial feature. And within a minute of starting up the device, I had all my previous Kindle purchases synced over to this device. Very nifty.

That said, I’m happy to stick with the old-fashioned black-and-white Kindle.

The reason for this is that I already have an iPad.

Right now, the original Kindle and iPad complement one another nicely. The Kindle is lightweight and does one thing extremely well. The iPad is heavy but does everything else extremely well.

And the old Kindle has buttons. I got used to the buttons for zipping through books, and I’m not ready to give them up for an all-touch screen just yet.

The Kindle Fire falls somewhere in between the old Kindle and the iPad, which appears to be a nice place to be given that the the device is projected to sell 5 million units this year and is outselling the iPad at Best Buy.