Friday, May 1, 2009

Conversion costs—much ado about nothing?

Why are people so upset with Amazon's announcing it will charge by the megabyte for user-generated files pushed to the Kindle? Those of us who have had a Kindle since its onset in November of 2007 have long known that Amazon always reserved the right to charge, and up until now they have not. Yes, they have increased the price that they might have charged, but you can still send files to yourself for free using the method where Amazon e-mails you the file and then you drop it onto your Kindle via USB. One suspects that sending those files direct to your Kindle was using more bandwidth than Sprint had intended providing for Whispernet.

To send a file for conversion (fee to be charged after May 4):

Go to your account on Amazon, sign in and click on Manage Your Kindle. Right at the top of the page, you will see a list of your Kindles and devices. For each Kindle, there is an e-mail address attached. This would have been assigned by Amazon and can be changed to something unique to you, such as

Your Kindle's e-mail address is an inbound-only destination that allows you to receive e-mail attachments from contacts on your Kindle approved e-mail list. Scroll down to see this. As a default it will contain the address Amazon uses to contact you, but you may add other addresses from which attachments may be sent. An attachment sent to our hypothetical address of will be converted and delivered wirelessly to your Kindle. Free as of this moment but about to become 15¢ per megabyte rounded up to the closest megabyte.

If you are not in a wireless area or would like to avoid the fee, you can send attachments to to be converted and e-mailed back to you. You can then transfer the document to your Kindle using the USB connection. Connect the Kindle, and click on it to see its folders. Drop the file into the Documents folder. Eject the Kindle and detach it from the USB port.

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