Over the years I’ve posted this in some form or fashion several times with the last time being in November of 2013. However, I’ve been asked about this topic many times over the last couple of weeks as we have a lot of new readers to this blog as well as people upgrading to new varieties of Kindles, so it’s obviously time to post this tip again and update where appropriate.
Today’s post is rather long and is about the “Collections” feature, in attempt to provide a general review of what a collection is and how to establish them on your new or existing Kindle – which might be handy to those of you who have upgraded from any previous version of Kindle on the market
Please note these instructions are for e-Ink Kindles only; I will post something similar for Fire tablets soon.
Collections – A Basic Primer and “How To”
Your Kindle can organize the books and other content you have on it in a file folder system called “Collections,” which if you are unfamiliar with it think of the file structure in the “My Documents” folder on a Windows-based computer: you have your files organized by topic or whatever system you may use. You can do the same with your eBooks. The following is a mixture from the Amazon customer service website as well as my own observations and experiences.
I store all of my titles by genre – mysteries, science fiction, western, etc. – so I can see what is available when I am ready to start a new book. I have over 400 books on my Kindle (no, I don’t think I have a problem) and organizing them by genre helps me keep it straight. You can use whatever system is easiest for you.
If you store a lot of content on your Kindle, you can create collections to improve your organization. A collection is a category you can create on your Kindle’s “My Library:” you can then move your books and other reading material from the Home screen to the collections you create and your Kindle will sort your content by collections after you create your first collection. The following is how you can do it on a Kindle Paperwhite, but if you have another e-Ink Kindle the instructions are pretty much the same. I will also point out there are several different ways to do it, and this tutorial is not meant to be the “only” way.
To create a collection:
- Select “Create New Collection” from the Home screen menu – you will need to tap the three vertical dots on the top right-hand of your screen to activate the menu, just below the time and battery status icon. Once the menu displays, tap “Create New Collection.” Go ahead, I will wait…
- Enter a name for the collection by tapping the blank box once with your finger; tapping the blank box with your finger will display the keyboard where you can type away. Please note the first letter will be capitalized and the subsequent letters will be lowercase. If you want all caps, you will need to press the “up” arrow button (just above “123” on the keyboard display) before each letter. Also, if you want numbers of special characters (like &^#$), you will need to tap the “123” icon.
- Tap the “OK” icon when finished.
To rename or delete a collection:
- You will need to be on the screen viewing the listing of your books and not the home screen (you will need to be viewing all of your titles by “Collection” and not, for example, by “Title.”
- Highlight the collection name by placing your finger on the Collection name and holding it to have a new menu screen pop up.
- Select the desired action with the controller by tapping the option with you finger (i.e., “Rename” to change the name).
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
Note: Deleting a collection from your Kindle does not change the content stored on your device. Items previously placed into the collection that are stored on your Kindle will appear on the Home screen after the collection is deleted and you are sorting your books by anything other than Collections (i.e., by title or author).
To sort your book content by collection:
- Tap the Home icon.
- Swipe once from right to left to see the list of titles; alternatively, you can tap the “My Library” link on the top left.
- The menu item on the top far right (just under the search icon space) is how you sort your titles: your choices are “Recent, Title, Author, and Collection.” I don’t know what may be displayed on your Kindle, but tap one of those to see the four options.
- Select “Collection” from the four options by tapping it with your finger.
Managing Content in Your Collections
After you create one or more collections you wish to use for organizing your Kindle’s content, you’re ready to associate items on your Kindle with those collections. Here are a few handy collection features:
- Collections are stored on Amazon: When you create a collection on a device, it will save your collection so it appears in Archived Items on other devices registered to your Amazon.com account. This allows you to transfer collections across registered Kindles.
- Books are associated with collections until removed: If you add a book to a collection on your Kindle and then delete the book from your device, it remains associated with that collection in Archive Items. If you download the book again, it will automatically appear in the appropriate collection on your Home screen.
- Books can appear in more than one collection: You can associate a single book or other item from your library with multiple collections if you wish. For example, I have a collection for Kindle Unlimited titles I haven’t read yet – it reminds me to get to it – and I also put them in the appropriate genre such as “Mysteries & Thrillers.”
- Collections don’t change device or Archive Items content: If you delete a book from a collection or delete an entire collection from your Kindle, it does not change the actual items saved on your Kindle or in your Archive Items on Amazon. When you delete a collection from your Kindle, any downloaded items from that collection will appear the Home screen instead of in the collection. In other words, if you want to delete a specific book, just delete it like you would any other book from your Kindle (although it will still be listed in the cloud in your collection).
To add or remove books from collections items:
- Highlight the collection name on the Home screen.
- When the new menu item pops up, select “Add/Remove Items”
- Select “Add/Remove Items” with the controller.
- Highlight and select a title you wish to add or remove. Items currently in the collection will display a check mark to the right of the title. If you have hundreds of books like I do on my Kindle and stored in Amazon’s archives, this method is a pain in the neck! See my alternative method for removing items within a Collection in the “Removing or Reorganizing Content in a Collection” section below.
- Select “Done” at the bottom of the screen when you’ve finished editing your collection.
To import a collection from another Kindle:
- Go to the “My Library” option and sort your books by “Collection.” All of your collections you have created on other Kindles will be displayed, followed by individual titles that aren’t categorized.
- On the top left-hand side of the screen, you have a choice to see “All” of your collections or just the “Downloaded” collections currently on your Kindle. Select the “All” option.
- If the collection is on your current Kindle, on the right-hand side of each collection’s name will be a star; if there isn’t a star and you want that collection on your current Kindle, tap and hold the collection’s name and follow the instructions
Note: Importing a collection from another device does not import the books or other items to your Kindle if they aren’t downloaded already. However, books already on your Kindle that are associated with a collection will automatically appear under that collection name on your Home screen. Open up the collection you just imported by tapping it once, and if you are still in the “All” view (remember, from the top left-hand side of the screen) you will see all of the books you have categorized in this collection. Books on your Kindle have a black checkmark on the right-hand side, those that are not but in the cloud do not have this check mark. To download a book from the cloud to your Kindle, just tap the name of the title once (but do not tap and hold!) and it will start the download process if you are connected wirelessly.
Removing or Reorganizing Content in a Collection
Maybe you would like to know how you can change books from one category to another, especially if you accidentally put one book in the wrong place. I’ve done that before a few times. While I am sure there are many ways to do this, here is how I corrected the problem and put the book where I originally intended:
- Let’s assume you have 9 categories of collections, and you have one titled “Science Fiction” and another one titled “Westerns;” further assume you put a Science Fiction book in the Westerns category and you want to correct that error and put it in the Science Fiction category.
- Press the “Home” icon the select the “My Library” option. Assuming you have your display to sort by collections, you should now see the list of categories you created for your Kindle’s unique collections, including the Science Fiction and Westerns categories.
- Open the Westerns category by tapping it one time.
- In the Westerns category, you should see the problematic book you wanted to have in the Science Fiction category. Tap and hold your finger on the name of the title which should have a new menu screen with several options available to you such as “Go to” and “Book Description;” my Paperwhite has 8 different selections.
- The very first selection should be called “Add to Collection.” Choose this option by tapping it one time.
- This next screen should be all of your collections – from here, you can scroll left or right. Scroll to the Science Fiction category, and tap the box on the right-hand side on the Science Fiction line.
- If you have followed the instructions so far, the Science Fiction category should now have a checkmark in it, which means it is now included in the Science Fiction category collection.
- You will also see a check mark in the box to the right of the category you didn’t want it in – the Western category; tap that box one time to remove the check. This may take a little bit of a delay, depending upon how many books are on your Kindle. Give it a few seconds and it will work!
- Your book should now be removed from the Western category and only in the Science Fiction category.
- You are finished. Press the “Done” at the bottom and get back to doing what you originally meant to do with your Kindle when you picked it up: read!
As I indicated toward the beginning of this rather lengthy post, this isn’t the only way to do this – I actually use a combination of the above as well as the manage my content and devices section on the Amazon website. Do whatever works for you – but if you have a lot of books I encourage you to make the time investment to get organized now so you can spend more time reading.
Hope that helps!
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