New Plus feature: Send to Kindle

Welcome back, Protaggers.

We’ve spent the last few posts here on the blog talking about new features available to everyone on the site with the launch of Protagonize 2.0. This evening, we’re launching a new feature specific to Plus subscribers (and believe me, they’ve been patient in waiting for subscriber-specific features.)

Protagonize on KindleSo, I’d like to introduce the newest subscriber feature on Protagonize: the ability to Send to Kindle. This new option lets you send any work on the site (in PDF format, for now) to your Amazon Kindle e-reader, provided you’re a Plus member.

I’m sure a few of you are thinking to yourselves, “hey, I don’t have a Kindle, how does this help me?” — let me clarify:

  • You don’t need to own a physical Kindle device — the Send to Kindle option works with the (free) Kindle software readers for your PC/Mac, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone devices as well. Don’t have a Kindle app? Grab it here.
  • The reason we’re not supporting any other e-reader devices right now is that they don’t offer the option to easily send books or PDFs to your device via email. If other e-readers offer up the option down the road, we’ll be happy to add support. Just drop us a line and let us know, we’ll look into it right away.

With that our of the way, let’s walk through how you can get this feature configured to work with your Kindle. It’s not super-complicated, but thankfully you only need to follow these steps once.

  1. First off, you’ll need to set your Send to Kindle email address. If you don’t already have one (and if you have a Kindle in any form, you should already have one, whether you know about it or not), you can get it by going to Amazon’s Manage Your Kindle page and finding it in your list of Registered Kindle Reading Apps.
  2. While you’re there, go to your Personal Document Settings page, and scroll down to Approved Personal Document E-mail List. At the bottom of the list, click the Add link and add kindle@protagonize.com to your whitelist. This will allow you to receive the works you send to yourself from the site without them going into an approval queue.
  3. Next, you’ll need to go to your Edit Profile page on Protagonize and paste your Kindle’s email address into the Send to Kindle field at the bottom of the form, then hit Save profile.
Send to Kindle configuration

That’s it! You’re all set to send works to your Kindle from Protagonize. Now let’s take quick look at how you can send yourself a story from the site. Don’t worry, this part is a snap. :)

Pick any work on the site, and open the Options menu. Right beneath where you’d normally see the Export to PDF option, you’ll now see a new option to (see below):

Send to Kindle

Click the new Send to Kindle link from the menu, and you’re set. You’ll see a small dialog letting you know that the PDF is being generated, and once it’s finished (which can sometimes take a few seconds), you’ll see another dialog confirming that the document was sent to your Kindle successfully. Poof!

One caveat — keep in mind that sending documents to your Kindle can take a little while as Amazon’s servers process submissions. They warn that it can sometimes take up to an hour for items to be delivered. In practice, it’s usually no more than five minutes or so; sometimes faster. Either way, be forewarned that there may be a delay.

Once the item is delivered to your Kindle, you should see something like this (screenshot is taken on an iPad, so your experience will definitely vary.)

Your Kindle Documents

If you have questions or comments about how this works, feel free to ask in the comments below, or contact us directly at help@protagonize.com with any issues.

That’s all there is to it. Enjoy!

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10 Responses to New Plus feature: Send to Kindle

  1. Elorithryn says:

    *Dances for joy* Where’s my Plus 5 button for this feature? *grins*

    Now… what to upload first… *ponders*

  2. Tyler says:

    This looks like it’s a good feature for Kindle users for sure, and I understand it’s a lot of effort to do this for every e-reader, but the pdfs go incredibly strange when I put them on my Kobo reader :( it’s impossible to read them whether they’re a pdf or coverted to an epub because for some reason the epub conversion loses a lot of the information and the formatting goes weird, chapters and the titles go missing and it’s just generally not worked for me. Any ideas?

    • Nick says:

      Hey Tyler,

      Unfortunately I can’t help with converting PDF to ePub – we will be adding ePub exporting down the line in addition to PDF export, but I have no idea what tool you’re using to convert the PDFs yourself, so there’s no way for me to support it. It’s not really feasible for us to support content being converted to an alternate format by a 3rd party.

      Also, there is no way to send site content to a Kobo directly Iike there is for Kindle, so until they have that feature, we can’t do anything there either. I would love to support some alternate e-readers like the Nook and Kobo, but they’re lagging pretty far behind Amazon in terms of allowing external services to interact with or send content to their devices.

      The one problem I *could* address is the problems you’re having viewing raw PDFs on the Kobo reader. Again, without a physical Kobo reader (if someone wants to send me one to test on, feel free :), the best I can do is use their iOS app and test it there. The PDFs we generate are pretty standard, so I’m not sure why they’d be rendering poorly outside of general layout issues. Without re-writing our entire PDF generation code (which would take a while and not guarantee anything), it would be really tough to test out alternative methods.

      I’ll give the Kobo PDF viewer a shot in their iOS app and see if I can do anything to clean that up, though, but no guarantees — if it happens to be something busted with their PDF rendering, it’s not something fixable from this end.

      • Tyler says:

        I was using Calibre to convert and transfer e-books to my Kobo. The Kobo’s own desktop program doesn’t allow for any kind of e-book at all other than what you purchase from their store, which is incredibly annoying, so it could be an issue with Calibre rather than the PDFs from here. I just don’t know how to stop it from going all stupid.

        As for viewing an actual PDF on the Kobo, it works, it’s just that the file, when you view it, is either unreadably small, or when you zoom in, half the page goes off the screen and you can’t get it back without zooming out again. Which makes it impossible to read. Maybe there’s something I’m missing, I’ve only had it since the end of July, but so far everything else has been so straight forward that my technophobic grandfather is interested in getting one.

        • Nick says:

          Hey Tyler,

          Yeah, unfortunately no e-readers that I’ve found have ideal PDF reading circumstances – the Kindle doesn’t allow zooming at all, and it sounds like the Kobo has similar problems. Are you finding similar issues with other PDFs you’ve transferred to the Kobo? I would assume it’s the same across all of them, assuming the same form-factor and portrait layout.

          As for Calibre conversion, there’s no real way for us to support that, it’s kind of in your hands as to how the conversion goes.

          I’ve got an experimental build of ePub exporting (and Mobi for Kindle) working now using Protagonize content, so hopefully all of these PDF-related viewing issues will be moot shortly. I may ping you directly to test it out and let me know how it looks at your end.

  3. Moonwalker says:

    This is waaaaaaaaaaaay cool, Nick! I’ve been promising myself for a couple of years (literally) that I would take all my protag stories and store them on something outside the site. I have some of them on an external E drive, but now I can put them on my ereader and show off my stories at work. Nicely done, Nick!

  4. Jackerbie says:

    Bit of a personal plug here, but if you want to send some finished stories to your Kindle library, the Completed Works group has lots! I’ve also updated the FAQ to reflect recent site layout changes and the Send to Kindle feature. Happy reading!

  5. abigail-rose says:

    Hi, I have a Kindle Fire. I’ve followed all the instructions, when I put my ‘Send To Kindle’ address on my profile and click save, but when I check again it’s disappeared, and clicking on the ‘options’ on a work doesn’t show the ‘send to kindle’ option. Please help!

    • Nick says:

      Hi Abigail-Rose,

      The Send-to-Kindle feature is only for Plus account holders – you were seeing the email entry box by mistake (which I’ve fixed – sorry about that!).

      To be able to use this feature, you’ll have to upgrade to Protagonize Plus.

      Cheers, and let me know if you have any other questions.
      -nick

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