This post is a cry for help to my US friends. If any of you have signed up to use the new Kindle Unlimited borrowing feature, could you please experiment to see if you can borrow a book using the side-loading method?!?
What is Kindle Unlimited?
For those who may not have heard of Kindle Unlimited yet, it’s a new featured offered by Amazon whereby you pay a monthly subscription fee of $10, for which you get to borrow as many books as you want. The only restriction I can see is that you’re only allowed to borrow 10 books at a time – i.e., you have to ‘return’ the borrowed books before you can select and download another ten.
What is side-loading?
Most people who buy ebooks from Amazon use the easy Whispersync feature to download their books direct to their Kindles. But Whispersync relies on wi-fi to work, and some of us don’t have wifi [yes, I know, what luddites, shocking]. So, when I buy ebooks from Amazon, I have to download them to my computer, attach my Kindle to my computer, and then copy the new ebooks from the computer to my Kindle. This slightly cumbersome process is called side-loading. [See instructions on side-loading at the end of the post].
Why do I want someone to experiment with side-loading?
As a voracious reader on a very strict budget, I’d love to sign up for Kindle Unlimited [KU]. Unfortunately, KU is only available in the US [for the moment]. If it’s a success, however, I’m sure it will quickly be extended to the rest of Amazon’s world, including Australia.
Before that blessed day arrives, however, I need to know whether I’m going to be able to even use the feature. As mentioned above, I can only download ebooks using the side-loading method, but I suspect KU will only be available via Whispersync. Why? Because Whispersync would allow Amazon to track the borrowed books. By contrast, side-loading would allow the user to keep a copy of every borrowed book on their PC, even if they deleted the copies from their Kindles.
So, if anyone is game to help me out, the process is detailed below, starting from within Amazon itself. Do not miss this first step!
Side-loading Step 1
As I can’t sign up for Kindle Unlimited, I have no idea what its download screen looks like, so the best I can do is show you screenshots of how to buy ebooks for side-loading. If side-loading is available for Kindle Unlimited, I imagine it will work something like this :
So …you are signed into Amazon/Kindle Unlimited, and have found an ebook you like. Now, look for a box called ‘Deliver to:’ [or something similar]. If you see a little arrow next to the ‘Deliver to:’ box, click it to see what delivery options are available. If you see something like the screenshot below – i.e. a list that includes the option to transfer via the computer, click it and continue with Step 2.
If the only option is to download to your Kindle, it means side-loading is not possible. Cancel and thank you for experimenting, and letting me know the result!
Side-loading Step 2
Assuming there is an option to transfer via the computer, this is likely to be the next screen you see :
Side-loading Step 3
You are still signed in to Amazon, but now the program is asking you where you want to save the new ebook file… on your own computer. Click on Save.
Side-loading Step 4
You are now looking at the folders on your own computer. I save all my downloaded ebooks to the folder ‘EBOOKS kindle’, so that is where I will save the latest one I have bought. You will need to navigate to the folder of your choice and then click the Save button.
Once the ebook file has finished downloading, you will be taken back into the Amazon web space to buy more books or sign out. Your latest ebook purchase, however, is now safely saved to your computer.
How to transfer Amazon ebook files from your pc to your Kindle
Step 1 Hook up your Kindle to your pc like so :
The USB cable you can see in the photos is the same cable I use to charge my Kindle.
Step 2. Open My Computer or Windows Explorer, and find the ebook file you have saved to your pc.
Step 3. Left click the ebook file to highlight it.
Step 4. With the ebook file highlighted, press the Ctrl and C keys on your keyboard – at the same time.
[Windows will not show you any notifications, but 'Ctrl C' is a keyboard shortcut that copies the highlighted file to a holding area called the clipboard. A copied file will stay in the clipboard until you paste it somewhere else, or overwrite it with something else].
Step 5. Now scroll down My Computer or Windows Explorer until you see your Kindle device listed.
Step 6. Double click on your Kindle device folder. You should now see some sub-folders. The one you want is called Documents :
Step 7. Left click on the [Kindle] Documents folder to highlight it [as shown above]. Next, press the Ctrl and V keys on your keyboard – at the same time.
[The keyboard shortcut 'Ctrl V' will paste your copied ebook file into the Kindle Documents folder].
And that’s just about it. After you ‘Safely eject’ your Kindle from the computer, you should find your new, side-loaded ebook file waiting for you to read.
If we’ve gotten this far, it means I will be able to side-load Kindle Unlimited borrows, once they become available in Australia. Yay!
If not, I’ll be crying in my coffee. Either way, however, my deepest thanks to whoever does this bit of technological sleuthing for me. Please let me know how you go in comments. Of course, you can also make comments about other things, and I hope you do. :D