The Kindle doesn’t natively support PDF documents, which was a real disappointment for me. I wanted to be able to take the many PDF’s that I receive on a daily basis and read them on my Kindle – and save a few trees in the process.
As it turns out, PDF support is considered experimental on the Kindle and the documents can be loaded onto the device if you use Amazon’s document conversion service.
Here’s a perfect example:
Today, I discovered that the authors of Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty and Happiness after the Digital Explosion are making a version of the book available for download under a Creative Commons license from their web site. While this is certainly great news, I wasn’t about to print the PDF, nor read it on my computer screen.
Enter Amazon’s document conversion service. Each Kindle comes with an email address. If you send a document that you’d like converted and loaded onto your Kindle, to this address, you’re pretty much done. Depending on the complexity of the document’s formatting, it should be available on your Kindle no later than twenty minutes from when it’s received.
Because the PDF for Blown to Bits is so large – about 22 megabytes – I first had to overcome a delivery challenge: Gmail won’t allow me to send attachments larger than 20 megabytes.
Apple to the rescue.
I opened the document in Preview on my MacBook, selected “Save As…” and was given the option to save the document with a reduced file size. When the process was complete, the resulting PDF was only 6.3 megabytes. Cool.
I then emailed the document to Amazon and waited. About 15 minutes later, it was ready for loading onto my Kindle.
Other than some funky formatting of the table fo contents, the formatting of the book is nearly perfect (although I haven’t encountered any diagrams or exhibits, yet).
I’m going to try this with some longer blog posts soon, too. That said, HTML is supported natively so I should be able to just copy a document to the device using a USB cable and avoid the 10 cent fee that Amazon charges for using the document conversion service.