What Tools and Apps for Kindle Owners should we make?

Over the years my team and me have been making various tools and apps for Kindle owners. Of course, we’ve made a lot of mistakes and sometimes not stuck with things. That means we have a few things that are well done i.e.

  1. Notepad for Kindle. Not for Kindle Touch (working on it) or Kindle Fire (completely different development ecosystem, not working on it).
  2. Calendar for Kindle. Same as above.
  3. Other Kindle Apps like Calculator and Address Book.
  4. This Blog (hopefully, it’s well done and not medium rare).
  5. Kindle App Review Blog. Maurine is doing a great job here and she has nearly every single Kindle App reviewed.

We also just released a Kindle Game based on Alice on Wonderland. It’s called Alice in Crossed Up Land. You have to match objects from Alice’s World and you can play Match-3 or Match-4 or Match-5 (match either 3 objects or 4 objects or 5 objects).

We also have lots of things that are at various stages of completion i.e.

  1. Book Summit. A Social Network for Kindle Owners (lots of authors for some reason).
  2. Book Monk. A Kindle Book Search Tool. It’s fallen into a bit of disarray at the moment. However, it’s something I’d be interested in working on if there’s interest from all of you.
  3. The Kindle Start Page Maker. Which lets you create a ‘book of links/favorites’ that you can keep on your Kindle Home Page.
  4. Kindle Page Number Tool. A tool that lets you convert (approximately) from page numbers to locations.
  5. Various projects that haven’t seen the light of day.

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Perhaps all of you can help me/us in deciding what would be most valuable for all of you in 2012. The things that are interesting to us as a team are:

  1. Curation Engine. Enter in criteria + get a list of books that you can sort and arrange.
  2. Crowd-sourced Curation Engine. Here we would give all of you some way of triggering what’s best.
  3. Recommendation Engine. Enter in one or more books you like and get suggestions.
  4. A site that only features indie author books.
  5. Filtering Engine for Free Books. So you could say – I only want to see books that are by published authors and rated 4 stars and longer than 300 pages. The Filtering Engine would bring up all such books.
  6. Something Else. 

I will be continuing the blog (and also writing about good free books to the extent possible) but it’s just not possible to manually go through 500 to 700 free books a day. The added issue of there not being any simple way to even look at today’s free books makes it all rather difficult. On top of everything we have the problem of some offers being for 1 day only.

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Please enter your thoughts for this Poll, and I’ll let you know which 1 or 2 projects we decide to focus on in 2012.

Thank you for your time and ideas.

Kindle ecosystem – the very best Kindle sites, tools, blogs

Here are my picks for the best Kindle sites in the Kindle ecosystem.

May 2013 Update: You can subscribe for Free Emails with hand curated Free Kindle Books from our site KEBooks.

Kindle Blogs

  1. Kindle World - Lots of good tips for the Kindle and coverage of Kindle news and issues. Andrys does a great job of keeping you up to date with what’s important in the world of Kindle.
  2. Kindle Nation - Steve runs a great blog and a weekly newsletter. The blog has lots of coverage of Kindle news, offers, indie authors, and other Kindle things.
  3. I Love My Kindle - Bufo Calvin runs a blog full of Kindle Tips and Kindle goodness.
  4. The Digital Reader - A very good blog with lots of updates on everything about eReaders.
  5. Teleread - General eReader and eBook News with lots of Kindle related news thrown in.
  6. Kindle Daily Post – The official Amazon Kindle Blog.
  7. Blog Kindle - A good blog plus the author also coded the unicode font hack for the Kindle.
  8. Kindle Reader – Jan has regular updates on books worth reading.
  9. BookSprung - Used to be Kindlerama. Offers free screensavers if you have the screensaver hack.
  10. Red Adept Reviews – Reviews on books for the Kindle.

Kindle Main Stream Coverage

  1. Wired Kindle - Charlie Sorrel and Tim Carmody do a very good job of covering the Kindle plus it’s free of ‘Apple’s iMouse is so much better for reading’ nonsense.
  2. Engadget Kindle - Engadget has lots of Kindle related news. It’s also one of the sites, along with BusinessWeek and NewsWeek, where Amazon tends to release ‘leaked & secret’ news.
  3. Techmeme - Has good news updates on technology, with occasional Kindle news.
  4. Google News: Kindle – The latest Kindle news via Google News.

Kindle Podcasts

  1. Kindle Chronicles - Len Edgerly does a great weekly Kindle podcast.

Kindle Book Deal Blogs & Kindle Free Book Blogs

  1. Free Kindle Books at KEBooks - Handcurated daily free kindle book lists. Disclosure: Our Site.
  2. Books on the Knob - Lots of deals.
  3. Randomize Me – Lots of deals and offers.
  4. Daily Cheap Reads – Books at $5 or less.
  5. Pixel of Ink – Free & Bargain Kindle Books.

Kindle Forums

  1. Official Kindle Forum – The best forum to start with.
  2. MobileRead Kindle Forum – Lots of good information here. This is a treasure trove of hacks and technical tips for the Kindle.
  3. Kindle Boards – Perhaps the second biggest Kindle Forum after the official one. It’s more like a forum with karma and direct messaging etc. so it’s better than the official forum in some ways.
  4. Kindle Korner - A good Yahoo group. Lots of members and good quality control.

Kindle Social Network

  1. BookSummit – Has more authors than readers. Works from the Kindle. Disclosure: Run by me.

Kindle App Blogs

  1. Kindle App Review. Disclosure: This is my blog. Haven’t been updating this much as making apps is getting in the way of writing about apps.
  2. Kindle App News – Updates whenever there are new apps or app sales.

Kindle Reading Apps

  1. You can get Kindle Reading Apps from Amazon for the following platforms – iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7.

Kindle Tools and Sites – Conversion

  1. Calibre – For all your conversion needs. It does a lot of stuff including ebook management and meta tag editing. Definitely worth trying out.
  2. MobiPocket Creator, Publisher Edition - this is great for converting documents to Kindle Format.
  3. Stanza for Mac - Replaced with Kindle for Mac now.
  4. On-Kindle PDF and ePub converter (Do read the warnings).
  5. AutoKindle takes PDF, Lit, PDB, CHM, and HTML and converts to Kindle format.

Kindle Tools and Sites – RSS, Read It Later, Browser Helpers, Trackers

  1. Kindle Feeder - Send RSS feeds to your Kindle using Kindle Feeder.
  2. InstaPaper - People seem to love this to an unhealthy extent. It’s a way to mark articles for later reading.
  3. Read It Later + Calibre – A good solution for reading articles later (on your Kindle).
  4. KInstant – A Browser helper for the Kindle that makes websites Kindle friendly.
  5. Skweezer - Squeezes websites into a format that works well with Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 browsers.
  6. Mysteria - Create a watchlist of books and the instant they are available in Kindle format you get an email.
  7. eReaderIQ – Price Drop Tracker with Email Updates. Also has advanced search.
  8. Kindle Start Page Tool – Add your favorite bookmarks and get a file you can keep on your Kindle Home Page to instantly go to your bookmarked sites.
  9. Kindle Page Number Tool – A very rough way to convert locations to page numbers.
  10. Mangle (Manga + Kindle) - Manga on the Kindle.
  11. Star Charts optimized for the Kindle.

Free Kindle Books Sites

  1. New Free Books in the Kindle Store. This goes to a post on this blog.
  2. Free Books from Project Gutenberg - The best formatted free public domain books.
  3. ManyBooks – Just as good as Project Gutenberg.
  4. Internet Archive – 1.8 million books and texts.
  5. Librivox- LibriVox has over 1,000 free audiobooks.

Kindle Tips

A plug for our Kindle Tips App – It has 130+ tips, it lets you add tips you find elsewhere, it has a slideshow mode, and it lets you select tips as favorites.

  1. Top 25 Kindle Tips.
  2. Top 25 Kindle 2 Tips.
  3. Top 25 Kindle DX Tips.

Kindle Hacks

  1. Jesse Vincent - Kindle Hacking Blog.
  2. Reversing Everything Blog – Kindle Hacks. Igor’s original Kindle Hacks/Tips post. Most only work on Kindle 1.
  3. Run your own Screensavers -  Go to this page, and see Post #41 for directions and the code. Heed the warnings – this is risky.
  4. Kindle 1 Font Mod Tool.
  5. Jesse Vincent’s hack to connect your Kindle 2 to the Internet via a USB connection to your computer (rather than WhisperNet).
  6. Jesse’s hack/tool to convert ePub files to .mobi format (which the Kindle 2 supports).
  7. AppleScript to email text from online newspaper articles to your Kindle.

Note: Please don’t link to your own site. Also, sites that don’t meet a rather random, undefined bar will not be included.

Kindle Page Numbers Tool

Just added a Kindle Page Number Tool that lets you find the approximate location in a kindle book corresponding to a page in the physical edition. The key word is ‘approximate’. 

This is accessible through your kindle browser. It is NOT a Kindle hack or an on-board tool. Just go to bookmonk.com and there’s a link at the bottom of the page titled ‘Kindle Page Number Tool’.

Its based off of an idea from Andrys Basten and Len Edgerly. Thanks to them for the idea and for feedback.

Here’s a short video guide –

The Kindle Page Numbers Tool lets you enter a bunch of different information i.e.

  1. Number of Locations.
  2. Number of Book Pages
  3. Location at which Chapter 1 starts.  
  4. etc.

And then pick one out of 4 options i.e.

  1. Find location for a page number i.e. where in the kindle book would a particular page number be. 
  2. Find page number for a location i.e. what page does location 3,345 (or any other) correspond to. 
  3. Percentage complete (useful if only 6000 out of 9000 total locations are the actual book).
  4. Time Left, based on how many location you’ve read and how much time they have taken.

Note:

  1. The results are approximate. However, they’re better than nothing. 
  2. Its been tested somewhat – however, there might still be undiscovered errors.
  3. If you find an error please leave a comment.  
  4. Due to rounding etc. you’ll often see 29% instead of 30%, 2980 location instead of 3000.  
  5. My understanding of locations is that they do not match each other in size i.e. the results of this tool are pretty approximate.
  6. If you have a feature request please leave a comment.
  7. I don’t know of any way to get this on-board the Kindle. HTML forms are not supported so there would be no way to get it to take input if we used the html as .txt trick.
  8. Here’s a kindle tool start page you can download and add to your Kindle for direct links from the home page. The name of the book will be kindletools. It MUST be saved as a .txt file and must be moved to your Kindle/documents folder.

There is also a kindle browser accessible, super simple calculator added. The link again is at bookmonk.com at the bottom of the page and in the kindletools.txt file.

Cool Kindle Stuff

Here are some cool Kindle related images, scripts and more -

  1. Star Charts optimized for the Kindle. Courtesy Roban Kramer, and found at Kindle Korner. Do keep the instructions in mind (works on Kindle 2 too) -

    To use the charts on a kindle:
    *Plug your kindle into your computer and open up the Kindle storage volume.
    *Make a directory called “pictures”. Underneath that, make a directory called something like “StarCharts”. Hint: if you have trouble, make sure the folder doesn’t  have any spaces in the name (spaces are fine for me, but at least one Mac user had trouble with a space in the name).
    *Unzip the above archive and copy all the images to the “StarCharts” directory.
    *Eject/unmount the kindle.
    *Go to the home screen of the kindle and hit “alt-z”. A new entry called “StarCharts” should appear, which should allow you to see the charts.
    *When viewing the charts, press “F” to see them full screen, and press “F” again to exit full screen mode.

  2. The screen savers that came with the Kindle 1, all in one zip file, courtesy Igor. Check out Post #4 in the thread.
  3. Another interesting collection of images usable as Kindle screensavers.
  4. A collection of rather interesting screensavers made from Piranesi’s Carceri d’Invenzione (drawings of imaginary prisons).
  5. Skweezer - A tool that takes any blog or page and “squeezes” it into a smaller, mobile compatible form. You can then also choose to view the squeezed site without pictures.
  6. An AppleScript that takes text from a magazine or newspaper article and emails it to your Kindle. Note: Seems that it does take some amount of technical ability.
  7. InstaPaper started supporting the Kindle last week (support is still beta). Its a pretty cool tool and definitely worth checking out. Interestingly, InstaPaper is the creation of the lead developer at Tumblr.

It’s good to see so many tools and sites being built for the Kindle and Kindle 2. Also, it’s particularly encouraging to see popular applications begin to support the Kindle.

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