Written by Books, Technology

Uploading Large eBooks to Amazon’s Cloud

A bit of a ramble, but in short – does anyone know how to get large files (over 25MB) into the Amazon Kindle Library aside from via email?

Read on for the detail…

If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that buying eBooks on Amazon is very easy. It could be easier – they’ve still not fixed the ability for you to give someone else a specific eBook as a gift – but in general it’s a painless experience.

Once you’ve checked out the title you want, it goes into your Kindle Library. The beauty of that is that any physical Kindle you ever buy and log in on can easily access your library and let you download the books you want. And if you use the Kindle App on a phone or a tablet, the same is true. You can sync titles of your choosing to your device easily.

I still love paper books, as my flat will attest to. However I’ll happily concede that when travelling or trying to read big documents, using a Kindle or Kindle App can actually be a superior experience. Travel and cookbooks immediately spring to mind.

But of course Amazon is tying you into their proprietary store, and there are other places I want to get documents. Two such places are tech book suppliers O’Reilly and Pearson. Both sell files that I can download and read on the device of my choosing.

This is where problems can begin. If you want to get a third party document – be it a PDF or Mobi format book – from somewhere else onto your Kindle there are two ways of doing it. You can plug the device in via USB, then drag and drop. Or you can use email. Amazon will give you a bespoke email account and any documents you send to it show up on your Kindle!

There are problems with both of these methods. The USB method will not safely back up your document. If you lose your device, or upgrade it, files can easily be lost. Furthermore, it won’t help if you’re reading a document on more than one device and want to keep your position in sync.

The email method is fine as far as it goes, but file sizes are limited to 50MB. That’s massive for a novel, but anything with lots of pictures and/or graphics can reach this size easily. More limiting still is that there are barely any email services that will let you send files larger than 25MB (Gmail’s upper limit for example). Going bigger than that, and email providers insist you link to a service like Google Drive. That’d be fine for anything else, but it doesn’t work with Send to Kindle.

I bought an ebook today that came in two formats: either a 27MB PDF or a 47MB mobi file. But I just haven’t found a way to get either file into Amazon’s system.

Latterly Amazon has the Amazon Cloud Drive – their version of Google Drive or Dropbox. There’s even a folder called “My Send-to-Kindle Docs.” And you can upload large documents there. But just adding them doesn’t help as they aren’t immediately made available in your Kindle’s cloud library.

I’m sure that this is all just and oversight, and Amazon will eventually sort it out. But in the meantime, if you want to put large documents or ebooks on your Kindle/Kindle App, and you want to keep them secure, then Amazon is really not making it easy for you.

[As I say, if anyone has any tips on ways to get around this, please do shout!]

UPDATE – Thanks to someone on Jelly, I was pointed to a wider range of Amazon tools to do just what I want. In fact, I had tried the Chrome plugin, without success. But it looks like the basic PC program does the trick working from a right-hand click in Windows Explorer.