The big list of free Kindle tools

Kindle ToolboxThere are quite a few programs and web services that can be really useful to Kindle owners. This post compiles 17 of these that every Kindle user should know about, ranging from eBook conversion programs to services that can broadcast your favorite websites to your Kindle.

Note that many of the tools listed here aren’t strictly Kindle specific, but can be very useful to anyone who has a Kindle or any other eBook reading device, such as PDF cropping tools and eBook conversion apps, etc.

 

Areas covered include ‘eBook Reading Tools’, ‘General eBook Conversion’ , ‘PDF to Kindle Conversion’, ‘Organizing files on your Kindle’, and ‘Sending web content to your Kindle’.

eBook Reading Tools:

1. Kindle Cloud Reader: read eBooks from anywhere

2. Kindle Reader for PC and Mac: read eBooks on your computer
3. Kindle Previewer: see how converted eBooks will look on your Kindle

General EBook Conversion:
4. Amazon Kindle email conversion service: free online eBook conversion service
5. Calibre: eBook conversion and management software
6. Hamster Free eBook Converter: casual, powerful eBook converter
7. Auto Kindle eBook Converter: converts PDF, Lit, and HTML files to Kindle-friendly .MOBI format

PDF to Kindle conversion:
8. Briss: visual PDF cropping tool
9. K2PDFopt: converts complex PDF’s into Kindle friendly ones
– Also see my two related how-to articles on optimizing PDFs for reading on the Kindle (here and here).

Organizing files on your Kindle:
10. Koll3ction: use folder structures to organize your Kindle documents into collections

Sending Web Content to your Kindle:
11. SENDtoREADER: bookmarklet to send any web pages, Google Reader entries to your Kindle
12. Kindle It: browser extension that will send any web page to the Kindle
13. KindleFeeder: deliver up to 12 RSS feeds to your Kindle via whispernet
14. Greader2Kindle: read your Google Reader feeds on your Kindle
15. Instapaper: automatically delivers unread Instapaper articles to your Kindle
16. ReadItLater: deliver unread ReadItLater articles to your Kindle
17. Readability: receive your Readability reading list automatically on your Kindle

Other tools: a few that I wasn’t motivated to write mini reviews for


Kindle Cloud App Screenshot1. Kindle Cloud Reader: read eBooks from anywhere

This is a web app that connects to your Amazon Kindle account and lets you read your eBook collection from any PC or device. This service  (which is partially conceived to liberate Kindle eBooks on devices and tablets from from dependency on ‘app stores’ as go-betweens) is a great idea and works really well.

Because it is browser based, Kindle Cloud Reader can be used from any platform or internet enabled device.

Go here to get Kindle Cloud Reader.


Kindle PC App Screenshot2. Kindle Reader for PC and Mac: read eBooks on your computer

Kindle Reader for PC/Mac was meant for those who wanted to buy and read eBooks instantly on their computer without a physical reader. What it is in effect is as a local desktop client for your Amazon Kindle eBooks.

This program is different than the cloud reader in that it functions as a good general use eBook reader  and will read all Kindle-readable formats offline. Double clicking on any .AZW format file (produced by the Amazon online conversion service, #4 below) will add the file to the library, or on PC you can import eBooks into the Kindle Reader by manually placing your Kindle-readable eBook files into the “My Kindle Content” folder in “My Documents”. (Note: one thing to consider is that you will need a valid Amazon userid/pass to log into the program).

Go here to download Kindle Reader for PC, and here for Mac.


Kindle Previewer Screenshot3. Kindle Previewer: see how converted eBooks will look on your Kindle

This program is extremely useful if you’ve been converting eBooks to Kindle appropriate formats (from formats that are presumably less Kindle friendly), or if you are publishing your own Kindle eBooks. What it does is simply allow you to see exactly what you eBook will look like on the Kindle, saving you the trouble of having to upload and test it on the device. Sounds simple but, as someone who has done a lot of PDF to Kindle conversions, I can attest that it is extremely useful.

Go here to download Kindle Preview for PC of Mac (scroll down to the middle of the page).


amazon_logo4. Amazon Kindle email conversion service:free online eBook conversion service

Amazon offers an online document conversion service whereby you could email any of the following format documents (MS Word, PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI, as long as they are unprotected) and have them remotely converted to Kindle-friendly .AZW format. This service comes in two flavors, a free one where your document is emailed back to you, and a paid one where it is beamed down to your Kindle via whispernet 3G.

What you need to do to use the free service is register your email at Kindle management page at Amazon. Next, you can send an email to yourname@free.kindle.com with “Convert” as the subject, and the file you want to convert added as an attachment. Note that some email services have size limits on attachments in (for example max attachment size in Gmail is 25 megs). Also note that you can zip your document first before attaching. Your converted file will be sent back to you via return mail.

This is a great service and an excellent way to read all kinds of documents on your Kindle from anywhere without dealing with local eBook conversion software.

Go here for more info.


Calibre screenshot5. Calibre: eBook conversion and management software

This is the reigning king of eBook readers for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It is an ambitious eBook management suite that includes eBook format conversion, an eBook reader for any format, and online tagging and local organizing of eBook files. It also supports syncing with Android, iOS, and most all eBook reading devices, including the Kindle.

For Kindle owners, Calibre is the surest way to convert most any document format under the sun into a Kindle friendly format (such as .MOBI). It is also a great tool for tagging/downloading metadata to your eBook files as well as syncing them with the Kindle. In short, a great tool if you have an extensive eBook library, especially if it mostly from non-Amazon sources. Or if you also like to read and organize eBooks locally on your computer.

Go here to download Calibre (also see my in-depth review of Calibre for PC).


Hamster Free ebook converter screenshot26. Hamster Free eBook Converter: casual, powerful eBook converter

This software can convert pretty much any eBook and document format into a Kindle friendly format such as .MOBI. The reason it is so powerful? It actually incorporates some of the (open source) code from Calibre, above. (Note: at one point they were in violation of some of the terms of usage for this code, but that seems to be no longer the case).

This is a must have for two reasons (1) it can convert most anything to Kindle friendly .MOBI quickly and efficiently, and (2) it is great for one-off, casual use, and doesn’t have the kind of ambition and breadth that Calibre (above) has, if all you want is to quickly convert and move on.

Go here to download Hamster Free eBook Converter (also see my in-depth review of Hamster Free Ebook Converter).


Auto Kindle eBook Converter Screenshot7. Auto Kindle eBook Converter: converts PDF, Lit, and HTML files to Kindle-friendly .MOBI format

Once run, this program will ask you to point to a PDF, LIT, or HTML file and convert it to MOBI. That’s all there is to it; the program has no interface, except for a small configuration dialog used mainly to set the output folder (see screenshot).

When I tested it, there was a bit of a lag between clicking the program icon and getting the file dialog prompt, but it performed the conversion well. As a general converter, however, I still prefer the much slicker and more powerful Hamster Free eBook Converter (#6 above).

Go here to download Auto Kindle eBook Converter (Windows only)


Briss Screenshot8. Briss: visual PDF cropping tool

For most PDF ebooks out there (and there are very many). the Kindle unfortunately does not provide a very good reading experience. And while most of the tools mentioned above can convert a PDF eBook to something more suited to the Kindle (i.e. .MOBI or .AZW), the headers/footers/page numbers in most PDF eBooks can end up strewn inside your converted eBook in a very unpleasant fashion. Briss can help avoid this by letting you crop these elements (in a semi-automated way) before converting.

Moreover, by eliminating headers/footers and white margins, it can in  many cases result in a Kindle-ready PDF that does not need conversion at all.

For a step-by-step on on how to crop and convert a PDF check out my post: Optimize PDF’s for reading on your Kindle 3: crop then (optionally) convert to AZW

Go here to download Briss (also see my in-depth review of Briss).


9. K2PDFopt: converts complex PDF’s into Kindle friendly ones

This is another tool that can be used to reformat PDFs for a better Kindle user experience. This tool will auto detect sections of content and string them together automatically, producing a PDF that looks like what you would expect a Kindle ebook to look like. It works like magic, especially on PDF’s that might contain multiple columns.

See an example below:

Pre K2PDFOpt Screenshot Before processing Post K2PDFOpt Screenshot After processing (showing 2 pages)

The only drawback to using this software is that it converts PDFs to bitmap images while processing, resulting in a PDF can be more than 30 times the size of the original file that was used to create it.

For step by step instructions on how to use this program, see my posting entitled: How to read PDFs on the Kindle (or smartphone, or any small-screen device) – revisited.

Go here to download K2PDFopt.


10. Koll3ction: use folder structures to organize your Kindle documents into collections

koll3ctions Screenshot

The Kindle supports ‘collections’, which are the organizational equivalent of tags. But with its non touch screen interface setting these tags up can be quite a chore to set up. This is where Koll3ction can help; it will let you go into your Kindle’s ‘document’, ‘audible‘, and ‘music’ folders on the Kindle and create your own folders and subfolder within them. You can then re-arrange your Kindle ebook and audio files within these folders to organize them into collections (see image above for an illustration).

Next, run ‘Koll3ctions.bat’ from your PC/Mac/Linux computer. The program will create collections based on your folders, completely replacing any collections that existed previously (it will make a backup of these though). Note that (a) the program does not have an interface; it will run and exit, and (b) you will need to restart your Kindle for the new scheme to appear, which on the Kindle 3 involves resetting the device via holding the ‘on’ switch for 20+ seconds.

Go here to download Koll3ctions (works on Windows/Mac/Linux).


SENDtoREADER screenshot11. SENDtoREADER: bookmarklet to send any web pages, Google Reader entries to your Kindle

SENDtoREADER is a bookmarklet that can be placed in your browser toolbar and used to send any webpage (text and images) to your Kindle via WIFI (free) or whispernet (paid).

It can even be added to your Google Reader sharing services, wherein it will send Google Reader articles in their entirety to your Kindle (and not just the bit that is visible in Google Reader)

Setup involves adding your Kindle email to SENDtoREADER and adding SENDtoREADER to your list of your Kindle approved email (on the ‘personal document settings’ in Amazon’s manage your kindle page).

The free version does all the above; the paid version will let you subscribe to RSS feeds and automatically send them to your Kindle.

Go here to sign up with SENDtoREADER.


Kindle It Screenshot212. Kindle It: browser extension that will send any web page to the Kindle

Available as a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome (and Android), ‘Kindle It’ will let you send any web page to your Kindle on the fly, and will even display a little preview window to show you exactly what is being sent. It is a less sophisticated version of SENDtoREADER (#11 above), in that it has no Google reader integration, no paid RSS subscriptions, etc.

You will have to do the usual setting up before Kindle It will work with your Kindle (i.e. adding ‘kindle@fivefilters.org’ to your list of Kindle approved emails on Amazon’s manage your kindle page). After that, all you need to do is enter your Kindle email address into the form when you are actually using ‘Kindle It’, and it will beam it to your Kindle (use @free.kindle.com to send via WIFI, and @kindle.com to send via whispernet).

Go here to get the ‘Kindle It’ browser extensions.


Kindlefeeder screenshot413. KindleFeeder: deliver up to 12 RSS feeds to your Kindle via whispernet

KindleFeeder is an RSS subscription feed service that can send feeds straight to your Kindle. The free service will let you add and manage up to 12 RSS feeds; however, it will only send via whispernet (i.e. to @Kindle.com, Amazon’s paid 3G delivery system), or alternately will send feeds to your personal email as .MOBI attachments, which you can then manually move to your Kindle. Free WIFI delivery (i.e. @free.Kindle.com) is only supported, unfortunately, in their paid service.

Also note that delivery of RSS feeds in the free version is not automatic; you will have to log in and press a button for RSS feeds to be delivered to your Kindle.

Go here to sign up with KindleFeeder.


14. Greader2Kindle: read your Google Reader feeds on your Kindle

Greader2Kindle Screenshot1 Greader2Kindle Screenshot3
Enter your Google Reader credentials and your Kindle email, and this software will go log into your Google Reader, convert your unread items to .MOBI, and then email them to your Kindle via WIFI (or, you can use your @Kindle email to send via whispernet). Alternately it can simply output a .MOBI file that you can install on the Kindle manually.

Note that your Gmail address will have to be added as an approved email (on the ‘personal document settings’ in Amazon’s manage your kindle page).

This software can be somewhat glitchy in my experience (e.g. I had to install it twice, and emailing would at times time out). Also, your security software might intervene when it detects that it is trying to contact the gmail servers; however, the output is quite good (see screenshot above right), and the actual content of the articles is available for offline reading on the Kindle, not just a listing or excerpt.

Go here to download Greader2Kindle.


Instapaper to Kindle Screenshot15. Instapaper: automatically delivers unread Instapaper articles to your Kindle

Instapaper natively supports article delivery to the Kindle, using both WIFI (@free.kindle.com) or Amazon’s paid whispernet 3G (@kindle.com). All you have to do is go to Instapaper’s Kindle settings and enter your Kindle’s email address, and set the delivery schedule; daily or weekly.

As with the other services mentioned above, the Instapaper email address (found on the Kindle setup page) will have to be added to the list of Kindle approved emails (‘personal document settings’  section in Amazon’s manage your kindle page).

Go here for Instapaper’s Kindle settings page.


ReadItLater logo16. ReadItLater: deliver unread ReadItLater articles to your Kindle

Unlike Instapaper (above) ReadItLater does not support Kindle delivery on it’s own. You can still receive ReadItLater articles on your Kindle with the help of some of the tools above, namely KindleFeeder (#13 above) and Calibre (#5 above).

Go here for instructions on how to sync ReadItLater with your Kindle using Calibre.


Readability Browser plugin17. Readability: send any page to your Kindle

Readability is a service similar to Instapaper or ReadItLater mentioned above. They offer two Kindle related services; however, only one is free, while the other is a service for paid subscriptions only.

The free service: a convenient browser add on that can be used to send articles to the Kindle much in the same manner as some of the tools mentioned above (i.e. SENDtoKINDLE, Kindle It).

Paid subscribers can automatically  receive their reading list in a “digest form” every morning.

Go here to get the Kindle browser add-on.


Other tools:

  • PDFMashercan help reformat complex PDFs into a simple single flow. (I prefer K2PDFOpt above though)
  • PaperCropanother PDF to Kindle program.
  • MobiPocket Creator can create/publish eBooks as well as convert eBook formats.

Know of other tools that are useful for Kindle? Let us know in the comments section.


 
 
 
Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
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  • http://mgthantzin.com Thant Zin Oo

    Thanks for this post. Really useful for Kindle owners.

    Cheers!
    -

  • Will

    Wow. What a great list! Thanks for sharing this.

  • http://www.bluemel.eu/kindle Andreas Bluemel

    Hello,
    really good collection of tools. May i translate it to german and use in on my homepage ?
    Regards,
    Andreas.

  • Jeton

    You may add on the Instapaper section that its possible to download the .mobi files that contains all saved articles directly via the Kindle Browser.

    Works better that waiting for it to be delivered.

  • willus

    Hey Samer,
    Thanks for posting. BTW, k2pdfopt v1.16 (just posted) creates significantly smaller PDF files (about half the size of the version you reviewed). Also, PaperCrop is another utility much like k2pdfopt (actually came before it).

  • http://www.bluemel.eu/kindle Andreas Blümel

    You may also add in the Instapaper section. It is a two-way Instapaper sync for Windows and your e-book reader.

  • http://www.bluemel.eu/kindle Andreas Blümel

    You may also add http://www.wordcycler.com in the Instapaper section. It is a two-way Instapaper sync for Windows and your e-book reader.

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  • T.D.02809

    Thank you for this list and the great descriptions of each item. I clicked a link @ mobile read forum and voila! Thanks.

  • jpbartle

    Great list, one suggestion: Readers trying to synchronize large libraries of PC folder content into Kindle collections should look at Kranf Kindle Collection Manager. http://www.applied-mathematics.net/tools/kindleCollectionManager.html. Have looked for months for a tool like this, free version, works as advertised, very helpful video about operation on site.

    • Samer

      @ jpbartle: thanks for the tip; I am testing Kranf Kindle Collection Manager out, although I see there is a paid version and a free version with more features.

  • Jack Smith

    calibre is absolutely an free kindle for converting any types of file, I have converted my own books and had a great experience but after converting after all it needed some manual work editing the tags for html file I ordered my book to http://www.ebookconversion.com/ and they helped me with guidelines

  • Jenp83

    Calibre is awesome. (especially if you’re “borrowing” books from “sharing” sites and they’re not in .mobi format). teehee

  • Victor

    Thank you very much this article! It is really really helpful. I will try most of them and will write a review.

  • BananaTricky

    Many thanks – I have over 1,000 books on my Kindle and your website put me onto Calibre – now my Kindle collections are nicely ordered and series named so that I can see everything I want easily.

  • dahacouk

    Hi there,

    Do you know of anything to convert multi-column PDFs into single column PDFs but preserving text as text and not converting to graphics?

    I’ve tried a few already but they can’t handle the columns perfectly. K2pdfopt.exe does but output is graphics.

    Am I asking too much? ;-)

    Cheers Daniel

    • Samer

      @ dahacouk: Briss (also mentioned above) can crop out columns in a PDF into individual pages. Once you get that you can convert your resulting PDF normally.

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  • http://www.pdf-converter-macosx.com/ Mac

    Wow, you have done great work here. I guess you should add Savory in the above list.

    Savory is a native ebook conversion package for the Kindle 2. It lets you download and read PDFs and ePubs on the Kindle without a manual conversion step. It runs natively on the Kindle. While it doesn’t add anything that you couldn’t do from a desktop, it streamlines the process, allowing you copy epubs and PDFs to your Kindle over USB or download them from the web, and immediately read them offline.

    • Samer

      @ Mac: thanks so much for the tip. I will certainly look at Savory and add it to the next revision of this post.

  • Ted

    Another place to online convert things:

    http://www.online-convert.com/

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  • hearty

    another useful tool that kindle owners should know is clippings converter (http://clippingsconverter.com). This “free online” tool can be used to convert kindle clippings to word, pdf or excel format, or even publish them directly to evernote. hth. :)

  • http://www.pdf-epub-converter.com steve

    PDF to Kindle Converter.

    http://www.pdf-epub-converter.com

  • http://www.iproofread.co.nz Chris Sparshott

    I will use a couple of your links for my site iproofread to help my clients manage kindle data.

  • Anonymous

    good man………………………..good work…………………………..

  • Lauren

    Dayum … thanks for this. Very useful recommendations I’ll definitely check out. :D

  • Pascual

    One of the best tools: Mobipocket Reader

    Is not only for reading, it can convert many formats to .mobi format

  • oho

    Recently bought Kindle 3 wifi just want to thx for your effort to list the tools :D

  • http://www.free-ebooks-kindle.com/ Kindle Ebooks

    Thanks for you great tips. It always needs to convert PDF eBooks to kindle mobi format and the tools provided above work great on my windows box.

  • Randall

    I’m needing some help on making some magazines in pdf form I have easier to read on my kindle fire. AT this point, the magazines just show up as pdfs with no cover with just the filename. I want to be able to have a two page view like the way one would read a standard paper magazine. I tried using Briss but it said the file was too big. Any help or advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  • alessa

    Same problem here, trying to load my magazine subscriptions which are pdfs to my android kindle on my tablet, I can’t see the cover at the moment, any thoughts please?

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  • tim

    For those of you who use the kindle email service, try out this free program. Kindle Sender – https://sourceforge.net/projects/kindlesender/files/ . It removes all the hassle of logging onto your email account and adding it as an attachment. You simply drag and drop your document onto the program and it sends it for you

  • Matt Darling

    For the folks who read black and white comics (eg most manga), Mangle is a pretty awesome program for getting them onto your Kindle. Granted, you need to have every page of the comic as an individual image, but once you have that, Mangle will resize and recolor everything so it looks beautiful on the Kindle’s screen. Supports all Kindle models, I believe.

    http://foosoft.net/projects/mangle/

  • James

    Is there a way for Kindle Previewer to preview pdfs? Sometimes they don’t come through right and it would be good to be able to check them on the pc rather than dig around for my Kindle each time.

  • Mark

    I tried many tools to convert my manuscript but none of them are work 100%. So i outsourced my work to http://www.atozebookconversion.com/kindle-conversion.html and finally i realized the manual conversion is the best.

  • Mark

    I tried many tools to convert my manuscript but none of them are work 100%. So i outsourced my work to http://www.atozebookconversion.com/kindle-conversion.html and finally i realized the manual conversion is the best.

  • Xavier

    Folks, never even try to install Auto Kindle Ebook Converter. Just read what people say in comments about it on CNET http://download.cnet.com/Auto-Kindle-eBook-Converter/3000-10743_4-10907625.html The software is an utter crap and masterpiece of screwing up your computer. I’ve had a displeasure of using this file for a while and the ebooks were missing whole pages of content, not to mention a total lack of text formatting.

  • http://kp.toddmedema.com/ Todd Medema

    I’d also highly recommend Kindlepedia – it sends a new Wikipedia article to your Kindle every day –
    http://kp.toddmedema.com/

  • vion77
  • Rajgoldwin

    GREAT SITE. GOOD WORK. THIS PAGE IS A MUST FOR ALL KINDLE OWNERS. PLEASE UPDATE AND KEEP CURRENT.

  • http://www.extractext.com Ryan

    I’d like to add Extractext.com to this list.

    This service is pretty sweet. You send an email with your image or pdf to their email address, and it not only converts it to a searchable pdf, but you can specify a reminder time, and it will send you a text message at that time and convert and send the document to your kindle when the alarm goes off. Comes in handy for me when I want a reminder for something, but have something to read related to that reminder. It’s already on my kindle and ready to go.

  • mo

    Another one worth mentioning is http://www.kindlesend.com it lets you send rss, email, and fanfiction to your kindle.

  • http://netmediablog.com Nwosu Desmond

    The list here has been so awesome, i definitely made a note on this one. I never knew about some of these tools till i read this post. I am definitely subscribing to your RSS. Nice blog and thanks for a well written post.

  • http://www.vaclavvitous.eu Vaclav

    I found best app for delivering app for your personal documents see here:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle
    and it’s the easiest converter pdf to kindle which I tried (and the best).

  • http://stanharrison.wordpress.com Stan

    I’ve found a new Kindle ebook creator software that looks worthwhile. You can read more about it on this site: http://thekindleritualreview.com

  • Uta

    I use http://2epub.com to convert ebooks to Kindle formats. It’s completely free and very usuful.

  • http://www.tohodo.com/ Tom

    Please also review this:

    http://www.klip.me/googlereader/welcome

  • Ranga