Hostingheaderbarlogoj
Join InMotion Hosting for $3.49/mo & get a year on Tuts+ FREE (worth $180). Start today.
Advertisement

Kindle for Mac: Everything You Need to Know to Read in Sync

by
Gift

Want a free year on Tuts+ (worth $180)? Start an InMotion Hosting plan for $3.49/mo.

In this article, we're going to take a look at the relationship between your Kindle and your Mac and how to keep your library in sync wherever you're reading (whether it be on Kindle hardware or not).


Kindle for Mac

One of the big advantages of Amazon's content ecosystem is the range of platforms available for consuming their content. Books purchased through Amazon are not limited to being read on Amazon's first-party hardware. On the contrary, free Kindle apps are available for all of your Apple hardware, including your Mac, with the full functionality as if you were reading on a Kindle itself.

After grabbing it from the Mac App Store, Kindle for Mac will sync up your library of content and allow you to start reading straight away. The app's buttoned menu bar provides access to all the standard functions of a Kindle app, including manipulating presentation styles, bookmarking pages and searching.

Kindle for Mac, available for free in the Mac App Store.

Kindle for Mac works fully with Whispersync and Send to Kindle, features of Amazon's Kindle ecosystem that we'll look at next.


Whispersync

With the versatility of the Kindle platform, it's not out of the question that you'll want to read your content across devices. Start a book in the Kindle for iPhone app on your commute to work, pick it up in the OS X app at lunch and then finish off on your actual Kindle hardware in the evening.

Whispersync is an automatic feature built into Kindle apps across platforms, including on Kindle hardware itself. The function syncs the following content:

  • Annotations you've added to books and content on a Kindle app/device
  • Bookmarks you've made in books
  • The furthest page read on a Kindle device or app, allowing you to instantly find your place whenever you switch devices

Fortunately, Whispersync is always turned on by default so you don't have to do anything to get it up and running. If you're using the Kindle for Mac app as part of a cross-platform reading setup, you'll be prompted when opening a book to change the page if you've recently read further.

The Kindle for Mac app, here prompting me to sync to a further page as it has been read more recently on a different device.
The Kindle for Mac app, here prompting me to sync to a further page as it has been read more recently on a different device.

Turning Off Whispersync

If for some reason you wish to disable Whispersync, it's easy to perform a halt on the feature. Simply head to your Amazon account on the web, visit the Manage Your Kindle page, select Manage Your Device and turn off Whispersync Device Synchronization.

You're still able to enact manual syncing of the last page read on a Kindle device by selecting the menu and choosing Sync to Furthest Page Read.


Send to Kindle

Whispersync is a great way of automatically having your Amazon books be completely in sync wherever you choose to read them, whether that be in an app on your phone, tablet or Mac, or on a Kindle device itself. However, what if it's not a book that you're looking to read on your device? This is where Send to Kindle comes into practice.

Send to Kindle allows you to push a variety of content types to your Kindle or Kindle reading app, including web content and documents. The first of the three ways in which to do this is through email, where you're able to grab yourself a Send-to-Kindle email address to mail documents to, in order for them to be pushed through to your app or device.

If you're looking to send web content (say a news article or even a tutorial from this very site) to your Kindle app or device, the easiest way is to grab the Send to Kindle extension for your browser. Currently available for Chrome and Firefox (with Safari coming soon), the extension adds a button to your browser's UI that will, on command, push web content to your Kindle library in two-clicks.

Tip: The keyboard shortcut alt + K will also do the same as going through the button in your browser.

Initial setup will allow you to define just which apps and devices the pushed content will get sent to.

Send to Kindle, as a Chrome extension.
Send to Kindle, as a Chrome extension.

The final Send to Kindle method is through a native OS X app which provides a drag-and-drop interface for sending documents to your Kindle app or device. Download the app and simply drag a document in one of the supported formats for it to be sent to your Kindle library.

The drag-and-drop method in Send to Kindle.
The drag-and-drop method in Send to Kindle.

Send to Kindle also registers itself as a printer, so it's possible to "print" a document to the app in the same way one can generate a PDF, which is especially useful if you happen to be creating a document yourself. Simply choose Send to Kindle from the list of available printers when you action the process in the regular way for the respective application.

Send to Kindle in the OS X printing dialog.

Whispernet

Send to Kindle delivers content to your Kindle by one of two means: WiFi or Whispernet. The former is just as you'd expect, content is pushed out from your WiFi-connected device to your other WiFi-connected device and is completely free. However, Amazon also makes available a service entitled "Whispernet" in the United States, a feature that allows your documents to be sent to your Kindle over a 3G network without having a personal subscription.

Pushing a document over Whispernet will do so through Amazon's prepaid 3G network, costing $0.15 per megabyte when enacted inside the United States (or $0.99 per megabyte when travelling outside). Opting to use Whispernet is a choice available in the initial setup of your Send to Kindle extension or application.


That's It!

Amazon doesn't make it too difficult to get reading without the worry of finding your page when you pick up a book on another device. Plus, the Send to Kindle service makes it super easy to get your own documents and content pushed to your device, making Amazon's Kindle ecosystem a fantastic place to aggregate your readable content.

Advertisement