Did you know that you can email e-books to your Kindle using Calibre? Long-time Calibre users may be familiar with hooking their Kindle up to their computer via a USB cable and using the app to copy files onto the device—but that may not always be convenient. If you use the Kindle app on your smartphone or tablet, rather than using a hardware reader, managing your device via Calibre may not even work at all. Frequently, apps don’t have USB-accessible storage—especially if you’re using an iOS device, which basically obfuscates its file system unless you’re using iTunes.
However, with Calibre, you can email any e-book file to any Kindle device or application that has an email address. Here’s how to do it.
Setting Up Amazon
First, you might want to consider setting your Kindle device email addresses to something easy to remember, instead of the [your account name]_[random number] format they’re assigned by default. Here are instructions for how to do that for all your apps and devices.
Also, make sure that your personal email address is on the whitelist of emails that are allowed to send to your Kindles. To check, go to Amazon and log in, mouse over the “View Account” button at the upper right, and click on “Manage Your Content and Devices.” In the screen that shows up, click on the “Settings” tab to the right of “Your Content” and “Your Devices,” then scroll 2/3 of the way down to where it says “Approved Personal Document E-mail List.” Any email addresses you’re likely to send email from should be listed there. If yours isn’t, click on “Add a new approved e-mail address” and add it.
If you look just above this area, you’ll see a complete list of devices and apps you’ve added, and their email addresses. This can be useful for setting up the next section, so you may want to keep it open in another window.
Setting Up Calibre
Next, we need to add your device email addresses in Calibre. To do that, launch Calibre, then click on the “Preferences” icon that looks like gears meshing in the top right of the menu bar. Go down to the fourth row and click on the first icon, which will look like an envelope and say “Sharing books by email.”
This will open a screen where you can enter the email addresses of your devices or apps. To add an address, click the green plus button to the right, and it will open a space for you to enter a new email address and what formats it should use. So, enter your Kindle’s address. One interesting thing is that, for Kindles, you don’t have to worry about the “Formats” section—when it notices you’re using a @kindle.com email, it automatically sets them to Kindle formats only. You can enter as many different email addresses for as many different apps or devices as you like.
Remember that if you enter the email using “@free.kindle.com” instead of just “@kindle.com,” it will only download to your 3G Kindle if it has a WiFi connection, so Amazon won’t charge you the few-cents-per-megabyte 3G document conversion fee. If all your e-ink Kindle devices are WiFi-only, it’s academic.
Next, go down to the “send email from” field beneath the device email listing and fill in your own email address—one of the same ones you put in the “Approved” list on Amazon. If you want to make sure it works, click on the little “Test email” button at the lower right, then type something in the message body and click “send”. In just a second or so, you should get an email back from Amazon complaining that there was no attachment to the email. That means it worked!
You usually shouldn’t need to fill in e-mail server information; Amazon doesn’t seem to kick up a fuss if your email address is used in a message coming from Calibre’s servers. Give it a try with the “Test” button and see if it works without; if so, don’t worry about it. If not, check with your local ISP to see what information you should put there.
When you’re finished, click “Apply” at the bottom right, then close the Calibre “Preferences” screen.
Emailing E-Books with Calibre
Finally, go back to your Calibre e-book list, and select a book you want to email to your app or device. Click on it to highlight it, then click on the “Connect/Share” icon in the menu bar—the one that looks like three little blue balls connected to a hard drive. It will open a menu that includes a number of email options. You can choose to email it to your primary Kindle address, to one or more of the addresses under “Email to…”, or use “Selected Recipients” to let you choose one or more devices to receive the e-book. If the e-book isn’t already in a Kindle-compatible format, Calibre will prompt you to convert it before sending.
And that’s all you have to do.
Of course, you may not want or need to email e-books from Calibre to your Kindle very often. It’s simple enough to connect your Kindle via USB and transfer as many books as you want to at once—and the Kindle app on your phone or tablet often has other ways to load documents, such as letting you share it from Dropbox or from your download folder. But sometimes you just don’t want to mess with all that.
Maybe you don’t even have your Kindle with you—it’s out in your car, or you left it at work, but you want to have the book on it when you get there. Or maybe you don’t have the time to hook the Kindle up to your computer and wait several minutes for your computer to fetch the metadata and e-book list before you can manipulate files on it. Or you just don’t feel with fiddling with Dropbox or downloading the file to the app on your smartphone. The benefit of emailing from Calibre is that it’s dead simple to do once you have it set up, and it doesn’t require any further action taken on your device or app beyond turning it on. Click the book, click the email option, and when it says “done,” you’re done. Next time it has Internet access, your Kindle will slurp it down.
As a reminder, if you’re emailing documents to a Fire tablet, any e-books you send will show up not under the “Books” app, but under “Documents.” They will still be on your device for reading nonetheless.