Possibility and Probability

A Python programmer with a personality thinking about space exploration

4 October 2015

Kindle hack: Make PDFs work for you

by nickadmin

Here’s a really useful kindle hack I bumbled my way into the other day. I love reading on my kindle for a lot of different reasons, but one of the killer features is the ability to highlight and make notes. This allows you to mark sections that are important to you, add a note if you need to, and then later review just the notes (and jump to the relevant sections if necessary). This works great for kindle book, but I also like to read PDF’s. When you read a PDF on a kindle though, it doesn’t let you do the highlighting because it tries to keep the formatting of the PDF. The secret is to convert the PDF into a format that kindle understands. This allows you to then markup the “PDF” with highlights and notes. But, how do you do this? One way is to install some software and then manually convert the PDF…. but that is no good. Another alternative is to send your PDF to a 3rd party service and have them convert the document for you…. and that’s equally bad. The best solution is to email the PDF to your kindle! A lot of people know about this, its the easiest and fastest way to get non-Amazon books onto your kindle. What a lot of people don’t know is that if you put the word convert in the subject line, Amazon will automatically turn the PDF into a kindle format and then send it to your kindle. From there, you can read the PDF like a normal kindle book, making highlights and notes where ever you need to. This is a great little kindle hack that makes your life better! To do this, all you need is you “mail to kindle” address (visit your Amazon.com kindle settings page to get this address). Then find a PDF you want to turn into a kindle document. Send an email your mail to kindle address like this:

To: [email protected] Subject: convert

Be sure to attach your PDF. If everything works like it should (assuming you PDF doesn’t have any password protections or really odd formatting) then Amazon should deliver a copy of the PDF in kindle format your kindle within a few minutes. If there’s any problems with the conversion, you’ll probably get an email from Amazon letting you know what happened. This little kindle hack is perfect for taking notes on a document that was “recommended reading” in a class. If the document is only available in PDF format, grab a copy and send it with the “convert” subject line and boom! You’ve got a kindle version you can take notes on (and look up words with, which is my favorite kindle feature!)