Everything you wanted to know about Kindle Folders

It’s a little bewildering to see the post topics at the official Kindle forum –

Might the 2.5 update bin file slip out as a torrent or to Rapidshare, etc?

 Show me your collections!

2.5 — if it’s now a full release, why can’t we download it?

Does any K2 owner have the 2.5 update?

question for those that have the update

We have Kindle owners creating their collections even before getting the update, people curious to know what it looks like, and lots of people wondering why they can’t get the 2.5 folders update already.

Well, let’s find out about the magical and revolutionary Folders feature.

What the Kindle Collections feature is like

Amazon’s Help Pages for the Kindle have details and screenshots on the Collections/Folders feature.

Here are some key details –

  1. There is an option to sort by ‘Collections’ which lists Collections first and orders them by Last Read First i.e. whichever Collection had a book in it read last shows up first (and so forth). 
  2. Collections are listed in italics with the number of books in them within brackets.
  3. The Home Screen Menu has a ‘Create New Collection’ option.
  4. Books in a collection do not show up on the Kindle home page when in ‘Collections’ mode.
  5. Deleting a Collection does NOT delete books in the Collection. 
  6. Collections are stored on Amazon (their cloud/servers) and can be transferred to other registered Kindles you have.
  7. Deleting a collection or deleting a book from a collection does not affect the content itself.

The help section on Kindle Folders is well written and easy to understand. It’s a short 3 pages with 4 screenshots – Do check it out.

What people’s questions and concerns are + Answers

Please note that the main question is when the Kindle 2.5 update goes out. That’s end of May and there’s no known way of making it sooner. End of May is just 3 weeks away.

  1. Can a single book be in multiple collections? Yes.
  2. Are there sub-folders? No.
  3. How are collections sorted? By latest book read.  
  4. Can you put samples in Folders? Yes.
  5. Do I need to have wireless on to get the upgrade? Does it increase the probability of getting 2.5? Yes and Don’t Know.
  6. How would you know your kindle has upgraded to 2.5? The fonts will seem different. To confirm go to the Kindle Home Page, press the Menu button, press the Settings Button, and at the bottom right of the Settings Page will be your Kindle’s version number. It’ll be 2.5 something if you’ve gotten the Kindle 2.5 upgrade.
  7. Will collections sync across Kindles? Yes.  
  8. Will a book put in the archive and brought back go back to its collections? Yes.
  9. Does Amazon really need to do a limited test? Yes. They have to make sure the upgrade works well. With features like Folders and Font changes a lot could go wrong in addition to the usual potential problems with an upgrade.
  10. Is there a way to sneak into the pool of people getting 2.5? No one’s found any way to do that yet.
  11. Are the new Settings all on 1 page?  They’re split across multiple pages. Page 1 gets Registration, Popular Highlights (turn it on and off), Social Networks (Manage), Annotations Backup, Device Password (turn on). Page 2 gets Device Name, Device Email, Personal Info, Device Info. Courtesy Marcia Sargent.
  12. Is a change in registration date to April 2010 indicative of getting 2.5? No. They are completely unrelated. However, after the upgrade supposedly you don’t have a registration date any more.
  13. When will Kindle for Collections come to Kindle for PC? Amazon have said it’s a feature they’re thinking about adding. No ETAs.
  14. Have any Kindle 2 owners gotten the upgrade? What about Kindle 2 US owners? Yes and Yes. It’s not just Kindle DX owners.

How people are organizing their folders (collections)

There’s a really good post about what folders people are choosing for their kindles. The common choices are –

  1. By Reading Status i.e. Currently Reading, Samples, Unread, and Read. 
  2. By top-level categories and genres i.e. Classics, Fiction, Nonfiction, Public Domain.
  3. By sub-genres and detailed categories i.e. Historical Fiction, Supernatural Romance, etc.
  4. By Author.
  5. By Price.
  6. By Series.  
  7. By personal themes.
  8. By which century they were Published. My favorite 😉 .
  9. By Country of Origin.
  10. A few people are even considering by Publisher.

Everyone seems as confused as me about whether mysteries and thrillers should share a folder.

Perhaps the most interesting is Betty’s structure of Folders –

Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Bio’s and Memoirs
Mystery and Thrillers
Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Done – 1 Star
Done – 2 Stars
Done – 3 Stars
Done – 4 Stars
Done – 5 Stars

Another interesting folders set-up is from Carole –

Healthy lifestyle
Investing and Retirement
JFK, New Orleans, Crime
Personal and PDF’s
Politics and History
Science and Math
zzz_Fiction (put in the z’s after reading the last post! LOL)

Some good ideas are –

  1. Preface the folder name with a number to make them easier to identify quickly. So Romance could be ‘1. Romance’. Note that this doesn’t help with sorting as Collections are sorted by Last Read First.
  2. A separate folder for Currently Reading.
  3. A separate folder for To Be Read.
  4. A folder for Documents and Personal.
  5. Use code words – Samhain for risque romance novels and so forth.
  6. Try to limit collections to one page or a few pages for quick and easy access.

Kindle 1 owners want collections too

Quite understandably Kindle 1 owners are demanding to know when they get Folders.

Haven’t been able to find any details.

Kindle Folders – Better Late than Never

It’s easy to point out that a lot of the excitement is due to the fact that the feature is a couple of years late in arriving. However, it’s here and it’s simple and it seems like it’ll work well. In this case better late than never does apply.

It’s time to look forward to a Kindle with Folders that magically work across all your Kindles and might soon work with the Kindle for PC app.

41 thoughts on “Everything you wanted to know about Kindle Folders”

  1. Why are the collections sorted by last read? What an odd choice. Why can’t they simply be in alphaeticaly order. If you asked me to list a dozen ways I might want to sort my collections, I don’t think I would ever suggest by last read.

  2. Alphabetical makes more sense to me too. Think it’s a case of over-optimizing.

    What would be perfect is if your 2-3 last read books showed up at the top followed by collections.

  3. You mention that the fonts are different in the 2.5 update.

    Have you taken a look at them yet? Are they sharper than the current font? Or are we only talking about the addition of two larger text sizes?

    1. The help content clearly indicates two larger font sizes that seem to be 50% and 100% bigger than the current largest font size. I haven’t seen it yet so no idea.

      Not sure about the extra clarity and other font related additions.

  4. I have the update for my DX. I do not notice any difference in the fonts, other than size options (larger fonts). No choice of font styles.

    Within a collection, you can sort by Title, Author or Most recent.

    If you sort your Home page by collections, the home page will show the collections PLUS all items not in a collection.

    Although you didn;t discuss i9t in this post, the pdf zoom works great as well.

    1. thanks for the update Rick. So no additional fonts and no noticeable difference in the fonts. Good to know. Wonder what Amazon meant by font clarity improvements.

    2. Ok, let me see if I have this straight…

      So on the Home Page, the collections themselves are sorted by last read? For example, let’s say I have everything sorted into two collections: “fiction” and “nonfiction.” Even though “fiction” comes first alphabetically, if the last book I read was from the “nonfiction” collection, then the “nonfiction” collection was be listed first on the Home Page?

      But then once I go inside a collection, the specific books can be listed alphabetically?

      Is that right?

  5. I’m another Kindle 1 owner who would love to have folders. I’ve downloaded children’s books for my little ones to read on trips, non fiction of various subjects, etc. When you get into the hundreds of downloaded books, and the Kindle allows 1500 books, it seems unfair that we Kindle 1 readers can’t also get the folder upgrade. It seems it should have been part of the original program.

  6. I read mostly fantasy/sci-fi series. I cannot wait to create a “Waiting on Next Book” collection where I can place the first book of every uncompleted series that I wish to continue reading. I’m constantly forgetting to look for the next book in X series.

  7. Speaking of sorting…

    I like to sort my books by author. Unfortunately, the Kindle is not perfect at doing that. For some books it looks to the first letter of the last name; for others it uses the first letter of the first name. For example, I have five of books by Joseph Conrad. Kindle puts three of them under “C” for Conrad, but two fall under “J” for Joseph. This mainly happens with books I download from Project Gutenberg, but it does happen with books I purchase from Amaxon as well.

    Anyone else have this problem? Anyone find a work around?

    I had a similiar problem with iTunes sorting my music. But there is a solution with iTunes: you can go into the properties of any song file (even ones with DRM) and adjust the artist, song writer, album, track, year, genre, etc., and that will get it to sort properly. I can’t figure out a way to adjust the properties of my eBooks.

    (Which brings up another point: if eBook files did have accessable, modifiably properties, it would be nice if they had more categories, like mp3s, so that you could indicate the genre (mystery, sci fi, history, bio, etc) so that your Kindle could sort that way as well.)

    1. Atom, a partial workaround is to add your own tags – so to all the conrad novels you’d add xconrad as a note somwhere and then search for xconrad. Or to all the authors that start with j a note that says StartsJ or just x_j.
      You could also start using folders though it might defeat the purpose to create a folder for each alphabet.

      1. Thanks. I did a little research to figure out how to modify the metadata. I learned from the Amazon forums that there are a couple of free apps. I downloaded one and spent the day using it.

        It didn’t work for couple of books. And in some, but not all cases, it erased my notes and bookmarks (I was warned that it would erase all of them, so I was surprised that some were saved).

        One good thing about it is that you can add an image for the cover (most Gutenberg books have no cover image).

        I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or related to the modified files I just put on it, but now my Kindle keeps freezing. In fact, it freezes so bad that holding the power slide for 60 seconds does nothing.

  8. Here’s the workaround for collections. . .
    Name the collection with a symbol in the front and browse by title. . . . the collections because of the symbol will be alphabetised and on the beginning pages. . . .

    I organise as follow…..

    ~ Classics
    ~ Fantasy
    ~ Horror
    ~ Non-Fiction
    ~ Romance
    ~ …..etc etc etc

    Then I sub categorise
    ~__ Cliff Notes
    ~__ Reference
    ~__ Harry Potter Series
    ~__ Pern Series
    ~__ Star Trek Books
    ~__ Xanth Series
    ~__ etc etc etc

    And for kicks since I read fanfiction
    ~____ BTVS/Angel Fanfiction
    ~____ Crossover Fanfiction
    ~____ Stargate Fanfiction
    ~____ etc etc etc

    Doing it the way above allows me to keep a unified look while alphebitising and keeping things in order of importance to me.

    I like Book Genres as the top category ~
    Then Series, SubGenres, References ~__
    Finally fanfiction ~____

    It’s a bit annoying to setup at first, but it works well and you can work it the way you like.

  9. Too bad that the archives can’t be sorted. I know that sounds unnecessary but it is really hard to remember what a book was about, and I already have about 400 books to scroll through, then guess and download, then read the description…

    1. Yeah – since Books in Folders come back into Folders when brought back from the Archive it would seem to make sense for Amazon to add Folders for the Archives.

  10. Too bad that the folders or collections are only 1-level deep. The Kindle books on Amazon have several levels of departments. It would be nice to have more shelves to sort our books on the Kindle.

    1. You have to press up on the 1st book on the kindle home page and on the very top you have to press right and choose to sort by ‘Collections’. If you sort by most recent first, or title, or author – then books in collections and collections both show up.

      1. Dana, get your collections sorted first, using switch11’s recommendation. When you have all the books in their proper places, then go back to viewing by title. Your Collections will be all nice and organised and easy to search through.

        Granted, the collections show AND ALL the titles from ALL the books show in alphabetical order following them . . . but it’s not an issue, since you can just go to whatever collection you are interested in and search from there, since you got it all settled already.

        They really need to come up with a way to make the Collections Alphabetized automatically. That’s my biggest pet-peeve. If they did that, having to switch to Titles and seeing everything wouldn’t be an issue.

  11. Books do not show on my Kindle3G homepage (sort by titles) when I copy ebooks in Mobi or azx format from my computer ( Windows XP ). Help

    1. When your Kindle is connected to the computer it shows up as a DRive. Let’s say ‘Kindle G:’.

      When you click on that you get a list of folders one of which is called ‘documents’.

      Option 1: Drag the files you want on your Kindle from their directory on your PC to this Documents diectory.

      Option 2: Select those files wherever they are and right click and choose ‘Copy’.
      Then go to the Documents Folders. Double click on it to be inside it, then right click and select ‘Paste’.

  12. Thank You

    Will try to move books from my computer to the Document Folder in the kindle then to a Collections Folder

    Will let you know results

    1. Moving to a collections folder is only through the Kindle.

      All your books have to be in the Documents Folder. Collections are via Kindle and don’t show up physically.

  13. Success!!!

    Used internet to find Kindle formated books
    Hooked the kindle to the computer
    Downloaded directly to the Kindle Document folder
    Books show on the home page
    Moved the books to the collection desired
    Sorted home page by collections

    Again thank you for the tips

  14. Hmmm, I’ve searched high and low, but can’t find an answer to the problem I got with my new Kindle.
    Software is current, but it does not let me select ” Creat new Collection” on the home menu, the option is shaded out.
    Anyone got an idea what is happening?
    Do I need a Wi-Fi connection for it to work?



    1. You need to connect to WhisperNet. If you have Kindle WiFi that means finding a WiFi network and then start creating Collections. After you create one you don’t need WiFi to make others.

      If you have Kindle 3 then that should work or finding a place that has AT&T 3G coverage.

      Note that you also need WiFi or 3G connection if you want to sync Collections across Kindles.

      1. Thanks!

        TBH, this is idiotic,,, not everyone lives close to one of those.
        What has being able to read a book got to do with being able to access a wi-fi hotspot?

  15. My (current) collections are:

    Currently Reading
    Misc Novels
    Genealogy and History
    Middle Ages
    Needlework and Crafts

    I leave the Currently Reading collection open all the time, so my Kindle boots to it. There’s a much cleaner screen, and i can see what I’m working on.

    Not being able to customize the collections sort order is one of the biggest pains. I guess Amazon didn’t figger we’d get so obsessed about it. I hope elves are watching this and other forums and reporting back to the Amazon programmers, 🙂

  16. Trying to sort things out on my Mum’s new Kindle 3G (UK) and the collections are driving me crazy. Mum reads books in a series and wants to store them in the series order – this seems reasonable to me but I can’t get them to stay that way – she re-reads them so doesn’t always want the most recently read book showing at the top of the list – any ideas?

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