Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to: Side-loading a pdf into your Android Kindle app

This took me a while to figure out, so thought a blog post on the topic might help other people who have similar issues.

Let's say you have a pdf or other file that you want to read on your Andtroid phone in the Kindle app - admittedly, there are several other applications in the Android eco-system that are arguably better for reading pdfs (e.g. Aldiko, Cool Reader etc) and the like, but let's posit that this is what you want to do for sake of argument. (if you already use the Kindle app on your phone to read ebooks, using Kindle to also read your personal documents leads to uniformity of interface and convenience of use). Currently, Amazon requires that for the Android platform, in order to access personal data, you first email it to them at your <email>@free.kindle.com address, so they can convert it and make it available to you from within the Android ecosystem. This is nice, and somewhat convenient, but has two major (in my view) drawbacks:
1. you need to load your personal documents into the Amazon cloud, and need to manage them within the cloud using the Amazon interface thereafter,
2. you need to have a wifi or other network interface instead of simply transferring your document from the PC to your Android phone.

A rather convenient means exists to bypass the Amazon ecosystem while utilizing the Kindle app to read self-generated pdf documents like your office memos that you do not necessarily want to entrust to the cloud. To do do, you can follow the steps below:
1. download and install an Android application like FileExpert. This permits you to navigate the file system on your phone and locate files of interest
2. connect your Android phone to your computer, and turn on access to the phone's internal storage via USB.
3. create a folder in the phone (preferably on the SD card within it) to store the files you want to transfer. Transfer the files over into that directory via USB.
4. Disconnect your Android phone from the computer, next, run FileExpert (or equivalent) application. Navigate to the folder where you have stored your files. Click on the file you want to read. The OS asks you what application you would like to launch to read this file. Select the Kindle application, and you're set.