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Old 07-27-2011, 11:40 AM   #1
PocketGoddess
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Question Help Please - Kindle Collections for (a) Dummy

I'm a proud new KSO 3G owner, got it almost a month ago. And while I'm not new to ebooks (been reading them for years on my Palm IIIx & a long chain of other devices to today) I do need some help with a few Kindle-specific questions.

I'm looking for the best, easiest method to handle getting books into collections on my KSO. I have literally thousands of ebooks, and I can't find anything right now. I'm not planning to keep all of them on my device, but I do want to have a core of 200+ on there at all times--some of my favorite series, some reference books, and another 5-10 to choose from so I'll always have something I want to read according to my mood when it's time to start a new book, etc.

I use Calibre to manage everything, stored in Dropbox, because I want to be platform independent (I use both a Sony Vaio and a MacBook Air). My books aren't really organized in Calibre yet, though I'm slowly getting there. My top series have been entered, and I'm working on tags and covers now.

I've seen a few options around here, but after reading through the threads I'm more confused than I was. Some are Calibre plugins, some are standalone programs, and require scripting knowledge that I don't quite understand.

I just installed my first Calibre plugin on Monday, and even that took a little handholding, so I really do need a simple "dummies" suggestion that works. I'm open to any and all suggestions, but ideally I would like a Calibre plugin so that I'll stay platform-independent.

Thank you in advance for your help!
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:21 PM   #2
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As a general statement, unless you use the built-in collection management on the Kindle itself, any other collection management 3rd-party will mean that after you modify the collection memberships, you need to Restart your Kindle (Note, I said RESTART, not RESET, there is a difference!) so that the new .json file with your changes can be read correctly into memory.

So, that said; you could use either Calibre plugin (which I've used, it's ok), or the Kranf one; or I think there are other ones out there as well. I like the simplicity of the Kranf one; you may want to try that one first. You can put the executables right in a subfolder on your Kindle, and run it from the the Kindle. Just read and/or watch the video on how to use it.

http://www.applied-mathematics.net/t...onManager.html

PS: I never thought of using Dropbox as my repository for my Calibre library. I'll have to think if that's a good idea for me or not. Maybe!
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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Thanks. The fact that there's an instruction video is daunting, but being able to see how it works is a big plus. I'd like to do something in Calibre, because it's faster than my Kindle (the 5 way is a drag, and makes me miss the touchscreen on my Nook STR) and because ALL of my books are there, instead of the subset that is on the Kindle.

I'm such a noob, I don't know how to reset or restart my Kindle. Guess I better start searching for info on that.

Dropbox works fantastically for ebook storage. Anywhere, anytime access, which is great for me since I switch between PC and Mac so often. And it takes just a couple of taps within the iPod Touch or iPad app to open one of your ebooks in another app on the device, such as GoodReader or iBooks or Stanza, so if you forget to load something up before a trip, you can still snag it and read it.

As long as you don't try to use two instances of Calibre at once and get the files confused, it works perfectly. I've had it this way for months with no issues at all.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:43 PM   #4
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^ Good tips

As mentioned there are a few Kindle collection managers - I have not used them all, but rely on this one:
http://www.colegate.net/KindleCollectionManager/

Still in dev, but works very well. A bit more elegant than the Kranf one IMO because there is no need to copy any executables over to the Kindle to use it - its a small app you run on your PC.

Maybe this will give you some ideas:

I currently have 10 Collection categories on my K3 Wifi that I created using the above. Because I named my Collection categories using a "_" at the start of the collection name, my K3 main/home page simply shows my all 10 of my Collection Categories, with the rest of my books listed afterwards. I feel this keeps things very neat and the way I like it.

e.g.
__Currently Reading
_ Archived
_Fantasy
_Horror

etc, etc, etc,...

I created my collections using the app above while K3 connected to PC. Then simply RESTARTED the device as mentioned by slkissinger. Once restarted, I click on a collection name, hit MENU and then ADD/DELETE books for that collection.

Easy peasy. You can also send books to specific collections from within the app, but it does not always work. Yes, this would be faster done on PC, but the app is still under dev like I said and it works quite nicely for now, at least for me.

Many folks like the Kranf one and also others use the calibre plugin - I intend to try them both myself at some point just to compare.

cheers and good luck!
-les
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:59 PM   #5
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I haven't been able to find the restart info yet, that word appears way too many times when I search here.

Can you add many books at once using the one you mentioned, KCM? That's what I like about the nook's bookshelf feature. I'm confused too since you say it's a PC app, but you actually add things to collections on the Kindle itself.

Or maybe I'm just thinking too hard, and read more into it than you actually wrote.

I don't mind trying multiple options, I'm just worried about keeping the integrity of my Calibre library. I don't want to take the slightest chance of it getting corrupted or messed up in any way.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:13 PM   #6
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lols...sorry...

re: RESTART of Kindle. From your MAIN SCREEN, hit the Menu button. Click SETTINGS. When in SETTINGS, click press the Menu button again. There is an option to RESTART your device.

As for KCM, yes, you can add multiple books to each collection - I do it on the Kindle3 itself. As I mentioned, seems this is a feature of the PC side program, but it does not always work [books don't get copied over to the collections 100% and it doesn't always read the collection contents perfectly - a bit buggy in this area still, but hopefully is being worked on].

So, to recap, if you wanna try KCM:
- download and install the app to your PC
- connect your Kindle to your PC
- launch KCM from your PC
- create your collection names using KCM on the PC [the app has self-explanatory buttons]
- COMMIT changes to your Kindle then EJECT
- RESTART your Kindle after ejecting
- your newly created Collection categories should be on the Kindle
- CLICK on a COLLECTION name then hit MENU button - you will see ADD/REMOVE ITEMS...Click this
- then follow the screen prompts on your Kindle. You will need to page to the next screen until you reach the end of the listing of your Kindle contents

Pretty much it.

Suggest you make 1 Collection as a test if you wanna try KCM, maybe make one called "Reading". Like I said above, I want all my collection names on the first Kindle screen so I use the "_" character before the collection name.

hope this helps and is not too confusing. Like I said, I have not used Kranf or the calibre plugin. Others may feel those are easier than KCM.

And FYI, I have observed zero effect on my calibre library using KCM. It doesn't impact anything in calibre AFAIK.

cheers!
-les
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:37 PM   #7
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Just my opinion; but I've used KCM; and I like Calibre's plugin over KCM. Mostly because I really live in Calibre these days. But the Kranf one looks very elegant IMO as well.

I could see doing this: Use the Calibre plugin to ONLY import collection information from the K3. But use Kranf to actually make changes to collections. I haven't actually done it that way yet though. Maybe I'll experiment later and see if that idea works in reality.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:44 PM   #8
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So the Calibre plugin isn't as easy to use, or as flexible as Kranf? I have a few collections on the KSO already, but I don't care if they get blown away, since anything I do on the desktop has to be faster than what I can do on the device.

Sounds like I've got some experimentation on my future; I'll make a couple of backups of my Calibre library just in case. . . .
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:04 PM   #9
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I think the Calibre plugin is just fine, and quite easy to use. Since you're already IN Calibre to manage your collection, I think it makes the most sense to use the plugin there. It quickly becomes part of your normal workflow.

If you're starting with some collections already, just import them the first time, and then use the Create option from that point onward. You'll need a custom column to keep collections information in. Mine is labelled "Collections". (Duh.) And Calibre will give you a drop down list for which collection(s) to put each book in.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:56 PM   #10
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Cool--that sounds like just what I need.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:26 PM   #11
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So I played a bit. And here's how you can use both Calibre or Kranf.

Kranf uses the folders under \documents on your Kindle to decide where a book should be in Collections.

So, here's how I made Calibre respect that folder structure. My custom column is "kindlecollection"

after rearranging and updating collections using Kranf (so all my books are in subfolders), I re-imported collections into Calibre. In Calibre, under Preferences, "Sending books to Device", this is my template:
{#kindlecollection}/{title} - {authors}

since my user/custom column is kindlecollection, all I have to do is populate the user column 'kindlecollection' in Calibre; then when I send it to device from Calibre, whether I end up using Calibre to update, or Kranf, either way the collection is honored.

One irritating thing about Kranf, I do have a couple of ActiveContent things. Kranf just puts those back in the root (not in a collection). So for that reason alone I may use Calibre more often for Collection updates. Obviously this is still early in my testing of what I prefer; I may change my mind in 10 minutes.
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