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Why “Send To Kindle” makes Amazon better than Barnes & Noble and others

By Juli Monroe


Last week I wrote an article for one of our sister sites, GadgeTell, on ways Barnes & Noble could remain relevant with the Nook line [2]. While I stand by everything I wrote in that article, I missed an important point.

One of the reasons I stay with Amazon and my Kindle Touch is because of the “Send To Kindle [3]” feature. Send to Kindle allows you to treat personal documents the same as Amazon content, including syncing between multiple devices.

It’s easy to use. After downloading and installing the app [3], simply right-click on a document, and Send to Kindle will be one of your options. The following window will pop up and you can choose which device(s) you want to send to.

[4]See the “Archive document in your Kindle Library” box? Check that, and Amazon will store it in the cloud, and sync your location between multiple devices.

I like to read on my Touch, my iPad and my iPhone, depending on where I am. I rely on the ability to maintain my location on multiple devices. Barnes and Noble and Kobo both sync their content to multiple devices, but not side-loaded personal content. If you’re like me and read books from multiple sources, on multiple devices, you’ll value that ability from Amazon.

When I go into my local Best Buy, I look at the Nook HD and the adorable Kobo mini. I start to think that maybe my budget could afford one more gadget and reach for my wallet. Then I think about manually syncing locations with my iPad and move on to eye the Kindle Fires.

It’s so simple. The other booksellers could implement it quickly. Why don’t they? Is it really better to complain about Amazon instead of making changes to compete effectively?

19 Comments (Open | Close)

19 Comments To "Why “Send To Kindle” makes Amazon better than Barnes & Noble and others"

#1 Comment By Marilynn Byerly On January 12, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

If I want to load a personal document to my Nook, I save it as an epub document then drag it onto my Nook. No extra application needed.

I’ve never needed to sync so no comment on that.

#2 Comment By Dan Eldridge On January 12, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

I could be wrong, Marilynn, but I don’t think Juli was suggesting that it’s not possible to load personal documents onto a Nook. She was simply pointing out how much easier and simpler that process is on a Kindle. It’s foolproof, really: You click a button. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Saving a document as an EPUB is a different story altogether. I don’t think most people even know how to do that. And to drag it onto the Nook, you’d need to have your Nook plugged in to your computer, which means you’d need to be in front of your computer. That’s a lot of extra steps and a lot of inconvenience. It’s almost as if B&N doesn’t want its Nook customers to figure out how to load their own documents.

#3 Comment By Marilynn Byerly On January 12, 2013 @ 11:06 pm

I don’t know about Word, but Pages for Mac saves to ePub as easily as any other document format.

All I had to do was open one of my novels in Pages, save it as an ePub document then drag it to the Nook. As I said, very simple.

#4 Comment By Rob Suggs On January 12, 2013 @ 11:36 pm

Marilyn, I can do everything that you can do (even though I don’t use Mac) and still the point remains: Clicking one button is easier than going off to get your reader, connecting it with a cable, and transferring a file. I don’t want to go get my Kindle every time I want to put a web article on it. It’s nice simply to click once and move on, regardless of where in the house my Kindle happens to be. Great that you’re happy with your Nook, but there is no argument here. One task is demonstrably simpler than the other.

#5 Comment By Tony On January 13, 2013 @ 9:28 am

Thanks, great app i had never heard of it

#6 Comment By Jussi Keinonen On January 13, 2013 @ 9:28 am

I still use the Klipme version of Send to Kindle. Does the same thing and I love it.

I would use my Kobo more if it had the same ability. A very good article,

#7 Comment By Juli Monroe On January 13, 2013 @ 10:39 am

Dan, thanks for answering. You’re right. I never intended to imply you couldn’t side-load to a Nook. Certainly you can, and if you’re using the Dropbox app, you can even do it wirelessly.

However, there’s no way to effortlessly keep multiple devices in sync with personal documents. If you only read on a one device, no problem. If, like me, you read on many (I’m up to 4 now), Amazon makes it too darned easy, and I think B&N and Kobo should follow suit.

Of course, then I might be tempted to get a Kobo mini, and I’d be juggling 5 reading devices at the same time. Nope. I’m changing my mind. Kobo and B&N would be doing me a public service by staying just as they are. 😉

#8 Comment By Michael W. Perry On January 13, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

You hit on one point where Apple’s been most laggardly. It’s insane that, years after launching the iPhone, there’s still no in-app way to send a document from a Mac to an iPhone or iPad. And this Digital submenu off the File menu, should be clever enough to know how to send documents to a colleague’s iPhone/iPad as well as my own.

Along with that, OS X needs to get more clever. The fact that almost any document can be written to a PDF does little good when it’ll be viewed on a tiny iPhone screen. OS X needs to be smart enough to save almost any document to ePub too. That Digital menu should have a “Send as ePub to my iPhone” option.

#9 Comment By Juli Monroe On January 13, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

Michael, good point. Not being a Mac user, I didn’t realize that lack. Windows obviously has the same problem, but then I guess I can’t really blame Microsoft for not wanting an easy way to send documents to an iPhone.

However, a Send as ePub option would be fantastic to have as part of any operating system.

#10 Comment By Dan Eldridge On January 13, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

Two questions for Juli, or anyone else who uses Send to Kindle on a regular basis:

1. Have you noticed the app acting a little wonky lately? As in, not actually working? Or is that just me?

2. I suspect it’s just me, which leads to my second question: Do any of you find that it works especially well (or especially poorly) with any particular browser? I can’t really imagine using anything other than Google Chrome, and when Send to Kindle for Chrome first launched – I think it’s only been a few months – I started using it like crazy, and it worked like a charm for me. Up until then, I’d been using Instapaper’s Kindle app, which (sort of) requires a few extra steps. But lately I’ve gone back to Instapaper because I can’t get STK to launch. Perhaps I just need to reinstall it or something, but I’m also curious to know if any other Chrome users have had trouble with it over the last couple/few weeks.

#11 Comment By Frank Lowney On January 13, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

@Michael W Perry, indeed there are such methods. In addition to Pages as per Marilynn’s comment, there are built-in Services that will render almost any text that you select into an ePub file. Take a look at: [5] for the details.
Personally, I prefer to use Pages to assemble ePub files for my students out of a number of web-based articles. I can then upload that to my Calibre server so that they can easily discover and download that ePub file. Other, similar options include an iTunes Course or any standard web server, blog or wiki.

#12 Comment By Juli Monroe On January 13, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

Dan, sorry but I rarely use Send To Kindle from a browser. For that sort of thing I use either Instapaper or Pocket. I’ll test it tomorrow and report back.

#13 Comment By Jessica “JBaby” Moss On January 14, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

Apple has done syncing since iBooks debuted long before Amazon. As long as the file was DRM-free ePub Apple would sync your place across devices. It’s one of those secrets Apple isn’t very vocal about. It was, IMO, their killer feature that made me switch away from Amazon. Apple really does need to make iBooks for the desktop to complete the circle for those who want that.

#14 Comment By Juli Monroe On January 14, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

Jessica, I didn’t know iBooks did that with DRM-free epubs. Good to know. Still, it only works with iDevices, and I do like reading on an e-Ink device enough that I don’t want to give that up.

But thanks for the information. I’ll file that away for the future.

#15 Comment By Jessica “JBaby” Moss On January 14, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

You’re welcome, Juli. I can understand not wanting to to give up eInk. I never got into eInk because I always thought it was too much money for a device that only did one thing and needed an external light source. I know these minor issues have been rectified with the latest generation devices, but I just don’t need one now. However, I was almost tempted to by the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight when it premiered! I’m a diehard eReader since I got a Handspring Visor for Christmas in 1999. Reading on backlight displays doesn’t bother me in the least.

#16 Comment By Juli Monroe On January 14, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

All right! Another former Visor owner. I got mine in 1998, so I was just a bit ahead of you.

Backlighting doesn’t bother me either. I just love how small and light my Kindle Touch is, and the battery life is amazing. When we go camping, I bask in the sun to read while my husband has to find shade for his iPad. That said, I’m not sure I’ll replace it when it dies. My new Nexus 7 is a sweet device that’s almost as light. Basking in direct sunlight might be overrated.

#17 Comment By Jessica “JBaby” Moss On January 14, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

Former Visor owners unite!!! To this day I still sing its praises! It was the best gift ever! I remember going back to school after Christmas break feeling like the coolest kid in the world! My sister, who’s 9 years older, go it for me. I was 16.

From a portability standpoint my iPhone is my primary eReader. I love my iPad when I’m sitting at a table or desk. I can wait for the iPad mini to go Retina so I can get it! I still won’t be holding it to read but it will be more portable. I just got an tv for Christmas and I’ve been playing around with AirPlay Mirroring. It’s so cool mirroring iBooks to my tv. Now I don’t have to hold my iPhone at all while reading. I’m thinking it would make for a very cheap screen reader for those with vision impairments.

I haven’t been camping in ages, but I remember going camping back in the early 2000s and reading on the Visor. It would get dark and I’d turn on the backlight and the words would turn green. Good times! Reading in the sun is the only drawback to reading on my iPhone. But it’s not something that happens a lot so it’s not too annoying. I’m not a beach or read by the pool kind of girl. Has your husband tried polarized sunglasses while reading from his iPad? It only works if he reads with the iPad in landscape.

#18 Comment By Juli Monroe On January 14, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

Polarized sunglasses, eh? Never thought of that. He usually reads in landscape, so that should work.

Oh, and Dan, if you’re still with us after all the Visor craziness, Send to Kindle works fine from Chrome on my computer. Delete the plug-in and reinstall? Assuming you haven’t already tried that?

#19 Comment By Jessica “JBaby” Moss On January 14, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

Here’s where I learned about the polarized glasses tip. [6]