Please note: this tip was significantly updated in February 2018. Click here to read it.
Over the past few years, I’ve posted this in some form or fashion a couple of times with the last time being in January 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 like the Paperwhite, so it’s obviously time to post this tip again.
Today’s post is rather long and is about the “Collections” feature, and is broken up into two parts. The first section is a general review of what a collection is and how to establish them on your new Kindle – which might be handy to those of you who have upgraded from any previous version of Kindle on the market except for the Kindle Fire. Please note the Kindle Fire does not have the Collections feature at this time (although you can purchase an app to do that in the Amazon App Store if you click here or type in http://smarturl.it/firecollections into your web browser.
The second section is for the experienced Kindlers who already know about Collections and want to transfer them over to a new Kindle.
Collections – A Basic Primer and “How To”
Note: In certain sections, I reference a five-way controller: that is for those of you who have, for example, a Kindle Keyboard. If you don’t have a Kindle Keyboard, just pretend I said menu option, controller, or such as it may be for your version of e-Ink Kindle!
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 your 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 and my own observations and experiences.
If you store a lot of content on your Kindle, you can create collections to improve your organization. A collection is a category you create on your Kindle Home screen. You can then move your books and other reading material from the Home screen to the collections you create. Your Kindle will sort your content by collections after you create your first collection. The following is how you do it on a Kindle Keyboard, but if you have a Paperwhite or regular Kindle the instructions are pretty much the same.
To create a collection:
- Select “Create New Collection” from the Home screen menu.
- Enter a name for the collection.
- Select “Save” when finished.
To rename or delete a collection:
- Highlight the collection name on the Home screen.
- Click to the right to reveal the collection options.
- Select the desired action with the controller.
- 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.
To sort your Home screen content by collection:
- Move your cursor to the top of the Home screen to highlight “Showing All Items” and your current viewing option.
- Move the controller to the right to reveal available viewing options.
- Select “Collections” from the options.
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 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.
- 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.
To add or remove collection items:
- Highlight the collection name on the Home screen.
- Move the controller to the right to reveal the collection options.
- 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.
- Select “Done” at the bottom of the screen when you’ve finished editing your collection.
To import a collection from another Kindle:
- Select “Archived Items” from the Kindle Home screen.
- Select “Add Other Device Collections” from the Archived Items page.
- Select the desired collection to import and select “ok” to confirm.
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.
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” button. 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 category.
- Open the Westerns category by highlighting it and then pressing down on the five-way controller.
- In the Westerns category, you should see the problematic book you wanted to have in the Science Fiction category. Highlight it with the five-way controller and then move the five-way controller to the right (if you press all the way down on the five-way controller you will be instructing your Kindle to open the book to read). This should have several options available to you such as “Go to Last Page Read” and “Book Description;” my Kindle has 8 different selections.
- The very first selection should be called “Add to Collection.” Choose this option by highlighting it with the five-way controller then press down on the five-way controller to select it and see the next screen.
- This next screen should be all of your collections – from here, you can scroll up or down with your five-way controller. Scroll to the Science Fiction category, but don’t press anything yet.
- If you have followed the instructions so far, the Science Fiction category should be highlighted and right under it in a black border with white letters will be an option called “add to this collection;” select this by pushing down on your five-way controller.
- You should now see a checkmark to the right of this category, which means it is now included in the Science Fiction category collection.
- You will also see a check mark in the category you didn’t want it in – the Western category; move your five-way controller to this line-item.
- You should now have the Western category highlighted. Similar to the instructions just three bullets above, you will have a text box appear with “remove from this collection” as your option; choose this option by pressing down on the five-way controller.
- Your book should now be removed from the Western category and only in the Science Fiction category.
- You are finished. Press the “Home” key to get back to the home screen and get back to doing what you originally meant to do with your Kindle when you picked it up: read!
Transferring Existing Collections to Your New Kindle
One thing about collections – for example, you can transfer all of your collections from your K2 to your Kindle Paperwhite without spending the hour or longer you initially took in setting it up. The following instructions assume you are moving from a Kindle 2 to Kindle Paperwhite; for reference purposes, for each place you see K2, think your old Kindle and Paperwhite as the new Kindle.. These instructions should work for the latest generation of Kindles with the exception of the Kindle Fire.
There is a catch, and here is how you do it (If you already de-registered your previous Kindle, this will not work for you!):
- Download the books individually to your new Kindle first. You can do that by either scrolling to the “Archived Items” on your Paperwhite’s book list and select them, or go to the “Manage Your Kindle” section from the Amazon website and select which books to transfer to your new Kindle. That’s going to be a pain in the neck as you can’t do a bulk transfer, but that’s what you have to do.
- Once you have these books downloaded to your new Kindle – and it may take some time, depending upon your wireless connection speed – you can put the computer to the side and just use your Kindle, as the remaining steps are pretty easy.
- Using your Kindle, press the “Home” screen.
- Keep page turning until you get to the “Archived Items” line-item (it will be at the very end).
- Select and open (by clicking the controller) the “Archived Items” line-item.
- When you open this up, and regardless of how you sort the books by title or author, the first line-item on my Archived Items list in italics is Add Other Device Collections. Select this.
- You will see a list of Kindles on your account that have collections on them. For example, my “old” K2 is listed here as well as my new Paperwhite; my two K1’s are not listed as the collections feature is not available for that model. Select the Kindle with the collections on them. For example, I selected my K2 as the collections I setup are on the K2 – I want to transfer them to the Paperwhite.
- The Paperwhite will think about it for a bit, and the collections will be on your new Paperwhite.
- You’re done!
I didn’t transfer all of my books from the K2 to the Paperwhite. Why, you might ask? Well, I have a bad habit of grabbing a lot of the free books – upon further reflection, there were about a dozen I realized either (a) the content really wasn’t that appealing after all, or (b) I don’t have enough time to read a million or so books and never would get around to reading them.
Hope that helps!
Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your e-Ink Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week trial subscription! Click here for the Amazon page of the Kindle Books and Tips blog or type in http://smarturl.it/fkblog into your web browser.