Kindle Fans: The Update…

Thanks to everyone who pitched in in trying to help me with Kindle-gate. I do believe I might be onto a solution. Well, I am 90% sure I have it, but I will have to wait until I can pry the Kindle out of my father’s hands tomorrow to make sure everything works (he will be distracted watching wrestling, at full volume. Yay?) I think I will be able to take, say, 10 books or so and make them into one file, that reads like one long book, broken up by cover art and such. Once he starts reading one, he should be able to sail through to the end without the scary home button. When he gets done, I will have another monster file for him. Anyways, here is pretty much the conversation we had…

Dad: Did you figure out a way for me to get out of having to push that button?

Me: Eh, I think so. I will have to…

  1. Re-download books to your Kindle in a little different way
  2. Hook your Kindle up to my computer
  3. Transfer your books over to a program called Calibre
  4. Run them through a program to remove the DRM encryption
  5. Run them through Calibre to make sure everything is in e-pub format
  6. Run them through a program to merge them into a single file, like a giant book
  7. Run them through Calibre again to return them to mobi format
  8. Transfer that one big file from my computer back to your Kindle

Dad: That sounds easier.

Me: (mouth open)…Yes, of course. Much easier than hitting the home button.

Dad: Yeah, I think so.

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13 thoughts on “Kindle Fans: The Update…

  1. Cassandra B. says:

    Interesting idea. I have used Calibre to split up box sets into individual books, but not the reverse 🙂 Hope it works well for you and your dad.

  2. cheryl says:

    I have calibre and it works well.
    I have problems with the DRM removal software… it just doesn’t seem to work on certain books or it is my lack of knowledge and computer stuff.
    I have a kindle keyboard and it to me is easier on the eyes and simple to use.. maybe you could find one of those used. I bought a kindle fire but I use it mostly to use the text to speech feature and listen to books.
    That to me is one of the drawbacks to the newer kindles that don’t have the text to speech capability.
    Good luck with your transferring books mission and if you know the name of the removal software could you pass it on? or does that cross some you can’t say rule?
    I picked up the Kindle Fire second gen as a refurbished and saved some big bucks.

  3. Iain says:

    That sounds like it’ll do it… altho there’s probably going to be a lot of time spent getting used to the system and trial and error in getting it working the first time or two…

    Depending on what your dad reads, pre-bundled full-sized book anthologies are an option, too… usually get 5-10 books in a single file then… usually themed… Amazon has to do that in more than the UF genre…

    I use Calibre… its especially great for renaming books to start with 01, 02, 03, etc when sorting book series… something that would have been useful if your dad could handle the home screen

    There are tons of features of Calibre I’ve never used… merging/splitting books being one of them… I only started making a book catalog file that loads onto kindle in the past year using Calibre…

  4. Dawn Bettin says:

    My Dad drove me nuts too. His idea of using the computer was to play Solitare. Then he developed dementia and it was a whole new crazy train. However, he died in June and I would give anything for one more conversation…even if I ended up pulling my hair out. So, go easy on your dad. And, most important, tell him you love him every chance you have. Love your column.

  5. Abra says:

    I couldn’t tell if you were already doing this from your post, but you can use plugins to strip the DRM as you import the ebook into Calibre, which should save you a step. I haven’t tried putting books together, but I’m sure there’s a plugin for that. The Dear Author blog is a good source for Calibre advice.

    I don’t know if you’ll have the same DRM problems I had, but after much trial and error this is how I have to process a book so I can actually open it on my Kindle. I have to download it using Kindle for Mac, import the file from the hidden library into Calibre (after installing the plugin), and change the format to Mobi. At that point I can hook up the Kindle via USB and transfer the book over. I’ve had problems going directly from Kindle to Calbre and for some reason not all books lose their DRM and will open on my Kindle, but this way seems to always work. I do all this because I like to put the number of stars in the title.

  6. Dawn says:

    Bless you for taking such good care of your dad — I’m sure my mouth wouldn’t have just been hanging open! Your situation sounds similar to mine where anytime my mother wanted the VCR set to record I had to program it (even though it was pretty fool-proof) when I lived at home years ago.

    More recently she couldn’t figure out why the games she had just played on the kindle fire I gave her wouldn’t open up…trying to figure that out over the phone is impossible!

    Good luck with changing and merging the book files.

  7. Erin S. Burns says:

    I do that with series so I can have them all in a batch. The biggest problems you might have are that if the formatting isn’t the same you get weirdness with the headers and it screws up the table of contents. Or occasionally it propagates italics and you end up with one or more books all in italics, I’ve never figured out why.

    If you don’t already have Sigil, it’s a free software and can help you fix things.

  8. kaleigha says:

    Many, many thanks everyone. All of your advice was much appreciated. Here’s what I ended up doing…

    Downloaded from Amazon to my Kindle for PC
    Added books from my PC Kindle Library to Calibre, with the remove DRM add on enabled
    I converted everything to e-pub, then used the merge e-pub add on
    Then I converted everything back to Mobi
    Hooked the Kindle up to the computer and sent the one giant file back over.

    It looks like it has worked. Buuuut, he did wonder why he had to flip through so many pages of copyright info and stuff he didn’t read. Can’t I just get rid of that, so he doesn’t have to? The sound you hear is my head hitting the keyboard. And I have just discovered that yes, I can edit the darn thing to remove those pesky un-needed pages. One must save the finger, I guess. On the plus side, I now feel confident enough to ask for a job at a publishing house.

  9. cheryl says:

    Wow. I didn’t know you could do that. I have the remove DRM in my Calibre but it doesn’t work on all the books but I just don’t know if I set it up wrong or what.
    I have figured out I can get the locked text to speech unlocked by converting to epub and back to mobi. Strange things that.
    I didn’t know you could get rid of of parts of the downloaded book… learn something new here. thanks .

  10. Iain says:

    Yea… edit (epub) book was added in Calibre 2.0 I think… I mostly use it when I need to fix PDF conversions… I know you can read PDFs on Kindle but I kinda hate trying… but converted PDFs generally have headers/footers converted into text mid-sentence… fixing it requires knowledge of regex (regular expressions) or a lot of time…

    …using it to delete copyright info tho probably went fast… most books are split into seperate html files by chapter…

    You know what would really make this whole process easier on your father?… If you just recorded yourself reading the book and he could listen to it at his leisure… :P…

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