For at least as long as I’ve owned a Kindle (about a year now), Amazon has provided a document-to-Kindle conversion process, that allows you to convert some popular document formats to read on your Kindle. In order to do this, you’d e-mail the document to a specific e-mail address and, once Amazon notified you that the conversion was complete (via e-mail), you could download the document to your Kindle via 3G (for a charge) or WiFi (free). You could also download the file to your computer and transfer to your device via USB for free.
The “problem” with this service is that the rules that apply to Amazon e-books did not apply to “personal documents,” as Amazon calls them. Basically, the document would be transferred once to a particular device (indicated by the e-mail address to which the document was sent) and then Amazon would delete the document from its servers. If you had multiple Kindles on your account or needed to re-transmit the document to your Kindle, you had to go through the process again.
Enter the new “Kindle Personal Documents Archive” – I received this e-mail from Amazon this evening:
Dear Kindle Customer,
As a past user of the Kindle Personal Documents Service, we are pleased to let you know about some improvements:
- Your documents are now automatically archived in your Kindle library (you can control this from the Manage Your Kindle page at www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle).
- Archived documents can be re-downloaded from your archive to the all-new Kindle and Kindle Touch devices, as well as Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3rd Generation–requires the latest software update v3.3 from www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates) – you will be able to find and download your documents from any of these devices that are registered to your account.
- Now (just as with Kindle books) Whispersync automatically synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks and annotations for your documents (with the exception of PDFs) across devices.
We expect to extend these features to Kindle Fire and Kindle apps (such as Kindle Cloud Reader, Kindle for Android, Kindle for iPhone, Kindle for PC, and Kindle for Mac) in the coming months.
You can control these new features from the Manage Your Kindle page at www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle where you can see a list of your archived documents, re-deliver documents to your Kindle, delete any document from archive, or even turn off archiving for your account.
Learn more about the Kindle Personal Documents Service from our help pages at www.amazon.com/kindlepersonaldocuments.
Thank you for choosing Kindle,
Amazon.com Kindle Support
Amazon will now store up to 5GB of my personal documents in an archive that sits right alongside my archived e-books.
The help page provided in the e-mail mentions how to find your Kindle’s e-mail address, as well as specifying addresses that are allowed to send files to your Kindle.
One thing that was not immediately clear to me was pricing. The Transferring, Downloading, and Sending Files to Kindle support page mentions pricing (of $0.15 per MB, depending on your location), but what it doesn’t mention is that is the pricing if you are transferring the file via 3G. If you are transferring the file via WiFi, it is free. Neither of these have changed from the previous incarnation of the service.
If you have a Kindle that supports 3G and WiFi, how do you ensure that the file is transferred for free?
There are two ways to to get your files wirelessly (via WiFi) for free on your 3G/WiFi Kindle.
The Manage Your Kindle – Personal Document Settings page allows you to set the maximum charge limit for transferring files via 3G. Simply set this to $0.00 and all files that you send to your Kindle’s e-mail address will only be downloaded when you are connected to a WiFi network.
You can send your document to your “@free.kindle.com” e-mail address. For instance, if your Kindle’s address is “firstname.lastname@example.org,” just send the document to “email@example.com.”
You need to re-register your Kindle to view documents in the archive.
So, I sent a document to my Kindle, successfully downloaded it, and also saw it in the Personal Documents Archive on the Amazon web site. When I deleted the document from my Kindle, it still appeared on the archive web site, which is what I expected, but I could not see it in the “Archived Items” on my Kindle. That seems to defeat the whole purpose of the document archive.
The clue to this problem is that when I went to delete the document, the option said “Delete This Document.” What I found out, through a few peoples’ blogs, is that you have to de-register your Kindle and re-register it. Once you do that, the option changes to “Remove from Device” and your archived documents will now show up in the “Archived Items” list on your device.
To do this:
- Go to your Kindle’s home screen.
- Press the Menu button and choose Settings.
- Next to the Registration heading, choose deregister.
- Choose deregister when you get the warning – since we’ll be immediately re-registering, we don’t need to worry about features not working.
- Now next to the Registration heading, choose register.
- Enter the e-mail address and password for you Amazon account and choose submit.
After re-registering, I was able to see my personal documents in the “Archived Items” screen.
For more information
Kindle Personal Documents Service help page on Amazon.com
Supported File Types for Kindle Personal Documents Service
How to find Your Send-to-Kindle E-mail Address