Sunday, November 20, 2011

Using Collections on the Kindle Touch

The Kindle has had the "Collections" feature for a while, but frankly it was much more cumbersome to use on the Kindle Keyboard (K3) than on the new Kindle Touch (KT).  Collections are a very useful feature when you have hundreds of ebooks on your device.  Some people call them folders, but they're more like Labels in GMail. With a folder, you pick one place to put the book, whereas with a label, you can apply as many labels as you like to a book. This is great because you can a) label multi-genre books with as many genres as needed, and b) apply additional sorting schemes, like "To be read" or "Favorites."

I had already set up a bunch of collections on my K3. Collections are device-specific, but Amazon lets you import them from one device to another.  As their directions specify, it's important that you first put the already-labeled books onto the device before you import the collections.  Otherwise the books won't have labels when you bring them over later,

My collections had gotten very out of date because it was a more work to add books to a collection on the K3, using the 5-way controller to move the cursor.  Most of my newer books had no labels. Ergo, after I had imported all the books I wanted onto the KT, I imported my K3 collections and then went through and edited them to add books.  This is so easy on the KT! You simply:

  1. Sort the home screen by collections (I am not positive, but I think you need at least one collection on the device for this to be an option).
  2. Press the collection you want for about two seconds; this gives you a menu that lets you select "Add books."
  3. This will then list all your books; you can change the sort order by tapping the current sort order ("by title" or "most recent" or "by author"), just like you do on a normal home screen.  I recommend By Author when labeling by genre, as authors tend to write in one genre and it makes selecting all their books easier.
  4. There will be a small box on the right side of the screen which will have a check mark for all books labelled with that collection (The collection name appears at the top, in case you get confused). 
  5. Tap the box to add or delete a label for that collection.
  6. Navigation is just like the home screen; finger swipe up and down to advance or tap the page number at the top right to specify a page to jump to. 
  7. Use the "Done" button  to store changes to that collection.

A nice sort of safety net is to sort the home screen by collections and scroll to the end.  Any unlabeled items (i.e., items not in at least one collection) appear by title after the last collection.  Tapping a collection name opens that collection and displays a list of only those books.

I know some folks who only keep the books they're reading on their device. I know Amazon keeps everything in an archive, but for me, half the appeal of an ereader is having my library in my purse. The collections are now a very easy way to impose order on that library.

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