Use Send to Kindle to Read and Review your Personal Documents

by Carla Douglas
@CarlaJDouglas

Do you use Amazon’s Send-to-Kindle feature to transfer personal documents to your Kindle or Kindle app? Yes, you can send your own documents – drafts, stories, reports, the options are endless, really – to your Kindle to read at your leisure. It beats reading from a laptop or having to print and manage a sheaf of papers.

When I first learned a couple of years ago that I could send my own Word documents to my Kindle I thought this was great – but then I sat down to figure out how to do it. It was a laborious process, and not especially user friendly or intuitive. It required a few steps, but eventually I installed a Windows plugin that allowed me to right-click on a Word file and send it directly to my Kindle.


I used this feature for a while, mostly to do manuscript evaluations. When I updated my version of Word, I forgot about it 
– until now.

Amazon has made getting the Send-to-Kindle option much easier, and there are now two ways to navigate it. Before you begin, be certain your Kindle is registered at Amazon, in your name.


1. Amazon assigns your Kindle, and all your registered devices, with a Kindle email address. You simply email your documents to this address, and voilà, they’re ready to read at your convenience. 

Here’s how:


Go to Amazon, sign in, and navigate to Manage Your Kindle.


Under Your Kindle Account select Personal Document Settings.

Under Send-to-Kindle E-Mail Settings you’ll see all your devices listed, each with its own Kindle email address:


The next step is dead easy. Simply email your document as an attachment to the Kindle address associated with the device you want to read it on. You can send a document to all your devices if you want.


2. Download and install the Send-to-Kindle plugin for your PC or Mac. 

Here’s how:

Go to the Amazon Send-to-Kindle page. This link is for PC, but there’s a Mac option on the same page.

Click the Download Now button, then click Install. Then click Finish, and you’re done. 

This procedure is so much easier than when I first installed this feature a few years ago. Before the installation is finished, you’ll be asked for your Amazon account email and password. Just enter the regular email address and password you use to log into Amazon, and then select Register. 

Finally, when you do go to use the Send-to-Kindle feature, be sure to right-click on a closed document. Here’s as screenshot of what you’ll see:

Select Send to Kindle, and your document will soon appear on your device. You’ll also have options about which devices (I always select all of them) you’d like your document to be sent to.

Why might you want to send your personal documents to your Kindle? Here are a few ways to use this feature. You’ll think of more, I’m sure. 

  • To read a manuscript for evaluation. Maybe you’re used to writing in the margins, but with the Kindle you can highlight key sections and make notes. Notes are saved and compiled, ready to retrieve later when you do a write-up.
  • If you’re in a writers’ group, people will frequently be emailing you drafts and iterations of their current work. The Kindle is a good place to collect these. Again, you can highlight them and make notes for retrieval later.
  • Someone has asked you to be a beta reader for their novel or other lengthy work. Or, you have asked others to beta read for you. You have the option to send your manuscript to their Kindle.
  • You’ve finished your own manuscript and want to do a read-through. Sending it to a new “environment” will help you to see your work with fresh eyes.
  • To check how your cover and other images will look before you finalize and publish them.

You can send the following file types: 
Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX)
HTML (.HTML, .HTM)
RTF (.RTF)
JPEG (.JPEG, .JPG)
Kindle Format (.MOBI, .AZW)
GIF (.GIF)
PNG (.PNG)
BMP (.BMP)
PDF (.PDF)
 

I have used Send to Kindle to transfer both MS Word documents and PDFs to all of my devices. The PDFs read just fine, given the fixed format. But the Word docs transfer beautifully — they’re reflowable and without any obvious formatting glitches. 

Finally, you can highlight and make notes on these documents, just as you would on a Kindle book, and using this feature makes for a satisfying reading experience. A number of readers have asked about how to retrieve these highlights and notes – is the process the same as reading a Kindle book you’ve purchased or in Kindle Preview? The answer is no – at least not yet. Watch for a post soon about how to highlight and where to find your notes. Amazon is working all the time to improve the user experience.

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8 thoughts on “Use Send to Kindle to Read and Review your Personal Documents

  1. Carla, you continue to astound me. You and Corina are always on the cutting edge of editing technology. I’m going to try this next time I get an evaluation. It sounds dead easy, but then I have to learn how to highlight and make notes and all that stuff. Thanks for another great post!

  2. Hi Arlene,
    Sorry for the late reply. Thanks! This is just a little feature you can use if you want, but I find it really convenient for catching up on work-related reading, especially if I’m travelling. The highlighting feature is easy to use once you get used to it. But I agree — the Kindle keypad is pretty slow.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment!
    Carla

  3. Carla, I’m not getting very far with these instructions. I get as far as the Personal Document Settings, and then the screen looks completely different from yours. There is no Send-to-Kindle E-mail Settings box with my devices listed below.

    I’ve also typed “Send-to-Kindle” in the Help box, and I get sent on a wild goose chase. None of the screens look anything like what you’ve shown. Can you help?

  4. Wow, this is awesome, just what I’ve been looking for. So now if I self-publish I should be able to download to Amazon right from Word with this, right?
    Everyone was telling me I should use Scrivener and I tried it but find Word is more user friendly. So I was hoping for a way to make this work, thanks 🙂

    1. Hi there — thanks for your question. Actually, this post focuses on sending your personal documents — including your unpublished manuscripts — to your Kindle, so that you can read them there. You can also make notes and highlight words and passages. This is also useful if you’re beta reading for another author, or if someone is beta reading your book. So the content in this post isn’t really part of the Kindle publishing process.

      However, Corina has a post that focuses on what you’re asking: At a Glance: Ebook Formatting for Kindle Publishing http://beyondpaperediting.blogspot.ca/2013/08/at-glance-ebook-formatting-for-kindle.html explains what you need to do to get your Word doc ready for Amazon. Good luck!

      Oh, and btw, we do recommend Scrivener, too — you can export your Scrivener documents into Word for editing and formatting prep. Watch for a future post here about that!

      Thanks again for getting in touch,

      Carla

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