Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

How to create Kindle Collections on your Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle...

Introduction

I received an email this week asking me whether I had a post dedicated to creating collections on the Kindle. I was certain that I had but I search through my archives revealed that there was a gap in the how to content  pertaining to the Kindle.  I had a couple of different posts but no one central location.

Kindle Collections are basically folders on your Kindle that help organize your content.  There are three ways to create Kindle collections.   One is on the device itself. One is using the desktop programs. And the third is using my favorite software organization program Calibre.

1) Creating Kindle Collections on the device.

Step 1

Home Recent Paperwhite

First, create a collection.  Go to the Home screen and select “Create New Collection” from the menu.  Name your collection. Some people have very creative names. Mine are very basic. I have folders called TBR, Books to Read Now, Books to Avoid, etc.  You can organize your collections by date, by genre, or by the person who recommended it to you. Perhaps you’ll organize by tropes.  The selection is yours.

Create New Collections

To delete a collection, highlight the collection name, press and hold for the popup to appear and then you can choose “Delete Collection” from the choice of four options. This is where you can rename a collection as well.

If you do delete a collection, you will not remove those books from your device, only removing the folder in which they resided.

Once you have your collections created, you can sort your Home Screen content by collections.  On the Home screen, select “Recent” and then selection “Collections.”

You can place books in more than one collection.

Step 2

Add to Collection

Get your books into the collection.  Press and hold the cover image of a book.  A pop up screen will appear and the first option is “Add to Collection”. Check the box next to the collection where you want the book to appear and hit Done at the bottom of the screen.

From within a collection, tap menu and then select Add/Remove Items.  A list of your books will appear which you can sort by “recent”, “title” and “author.” Put a check by each book you want in that particular collection or uncheck books you don’t think are appropriate to be in that collection.

 

2) On your desktop

Create Collection

Screenshot 2013-10-19 15.01.13

Step 1: Create a new collection or import collections from your existing device.

Step 2:  Drag and drop the collections.  This process works better if your books are downloaded instead of just archived when you are moving them. The cloud symbol means that it is archived and not downloaded to your computer.

Cloud

Get Collection on Device

Step 1:   Go to your Kindle device.

Step 2:  Hit “Home” and then “Menu” and then “Sync and  Check for Items”

Your collections should sync across devices.   But, Jane, you say, I have collections that are empty but on my computer, they exist.  This is because you don’t have the books downloaded to your device.  This is what Amazon says:

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.

3) Using Calibre

If you are a Calibre user, and if you aren’t, you should look into it, a programmer named meme at MobileReads created a Kindle Collections plugin which you can download here.    This post walks you through the install of the plugin and the basic usage of the plugin.

The more books you have on your device, the slower your device works particularly when loading the menu and the collections.

Step 1.  Install Plugin

Gather your Kindle, a kindle cord, download Calibre, and the plugin.  Hook up the Kindle to the computer, open Calibre, and install the plugin according to instructions here.  Once you have installed the plugin, you will need to restart Calibre.  You must have your Kindle connected to your computer to operate the plugin.

Step 2.  Customize Plugin

After Calibre is restarted, go to Preferences -> Plugins.  You will need to find the Kindle Collections plugin which is located under “User Interface Action plugins” or type “Kindle Collections” in the search bar.  Highlight the plugin and then click “customize plugin” button.  Suggested customizations include:

  • Creation of automatic tags:  I do not advise using this feature if a) you have a ton of books on your device or b) unless your calibre metadata is very clean. If you download tags from Amazon or another source, it is likely that you are going to have thousands of tags with only one book in them.  Plus, if creating collections based on authors is a nice idea if you only have five or six authors. More than that and again, you’ll have pages and pages of collections with only one book. Collections are to help you organize, not create more pages on the device to scroll through in order to find your books.
  • Preserve existing collections. Check this if you have collections on the Kindle device you don’t want deleted.  These are collections that you have created on the device and not through Calibre.  Uncheck if you want to control all the collections through Calibre.
  • Ignore uppercase/lowercase.  This means if you have tags that are paranormal and Paranormal, Kindle Collections will treat these as one tag instead of two different tags.

Read more about the plugin here customization features here.

Step 3  Creating collections

You can create user categories in Calibre and this can be used as the basis for your Kindle Collections.  Your user categories can be simple such as “Read, TBR, Unread”.  Or perhaps they are genre specific:  “Paranormal, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Historical”.   Again, if you become too granular in your user categories, you may end up with dozens of collections.

The Kindle Collections icon shows up in the bottom of your Calibre screen. I have the goodreads plugin installed and it shows up next to the Kindle Collections:
Kindle Collections icon

Automatic Collections

 

You can create collections based on: Author Sort, Authors, Publishes, Read, Series, Tags, Title, and User Categories.  (See my advice in Step 1 re using these automatic collections).
automatic collections

Manual Collections

You can create manual collections.  Create a collection by typing in the name of the collection and pressing the green plus sign.
manually create a kindle collection

Then select your newly created collection in the dropdown box on the left, scroll your list of titles, sorted alphabetically, and click the green plus sign to add.
manual add to kindle collection

If you have a large library, this can be tremendously time consuming.  Once you hit “Save”, the collections will be sent to your Kindle.

Custom Category *Recommended*

Create a custom category for your Kindle Collections.  Right click in the title/author/date menu bar area. Select “Add Your Own Columns” and then add a column for kindle collections.

Add your own columns Calibre

The bottom button is “Add custom column”.  Click that or use the green plus sign on the right.  Click “Tags” from the Quick Create selection.  Then change the lookup name to “kindlecollections” or whatever you like and the Column Heading to “Kindle” (or again, whatever you like).

Identify column

The column type can be “Comma separated text, like tags / Text, column shown in the tag browser/ Long text, like comments / Yes/No”. Comma separated text, like tags is recommended. Save and restart Calibre.

Your column should show up in the menu area.   You can go through your books and tag which book belongs in which collection:

Kindle Collections Import

Once you are done, go back to the icon and select “Customize collections to create from Calibre”. Look for your customized column (mine is named Kindle), and make sure the drop down box is “create”.  Then go to  “Create collections on the Kindle from Calibre”.

Import Collections to Calibre from your Kindle  *Recommended*

This is a particularly nice way to create collections for those who have existing collections.  If you have existing collections on your Kindle, you can use the Calibre interface to organize your collections. First, however, create a custom column as you did above.

Go to the plugin icon and select “Import Collections to Calibre from your Kindle”. Select your newly created column from the dropdown menu:

Kindle Collections Import

From there, you simply go through your Calibre library and select which collection you want the book to appear.

Once you are done, go back to the icon and select “Customize collections to create from Calibre”. Look for your customized column (mine is named Kindle), and make sure the drop down box is “create”.  Then go to  “Create collections on the Kindle from Calibre”.

Step 4: Restart your Kindle

To load the new collections, you’ll need to restart your Kindle.  Eject your Kindle.  Unhook your Kindle from the computer.  To restart, you can either hold down your power key until the device restarts or go to Home -> Menu -> Settings -> Menu -> Restart.

Tips:

  • I prefer to use the User Categories section and create a special category for collections on the device.  It’s far easier to scroll from the library view of Calbre and sort your books in this fashion.
  • This only works for titles that are you in Calibre and on your Kindle. It doesn’t work with titles that exist in the Amazon Cloud and you archive.
  • Kindle Collections will generate an error report and you can use that error report to help you clean up your metadata. It will tell you if there are duplicates or conflict errors in titles, authors, tags, etc.
  • If you eject your Kindle device and then re attach it to the computer via the USB, sometimes Calibre won’t recognize Kindle device.  Simply quit Calibre and restart.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

21 Comments

  1. Becca
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 10:45:56

    I don’t believe that you can create kindle paperwhite collections with Calibre – I think you have to do a jailbreak and then add the Kindle Collections ap to your paperwhite.

    ReplyReply

  2. JessP
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 11:36:32

    If you have a lot of books on your Kindle, and I do, then making collections on the Kindle is clunky and time-consuming. Once you’ve created your collection, then it dumps you out into a list of all your books on Kindle, regardless of whether they’re in other collections already. They’re all individually listed. You then have to go through page after page after page to find your book(s) to add to your collection. Or, you can just say “Done” after creating the collection and go back out to the home screen, then go find your book(s) then press and hold on the title. It will bring up the choice to add to a collection, but half the time when I choose that the screen partially blanks and it doesn’t do anything, then I have to go out and tell it again to add to a collection, then it will take you back out to let you do that. One way is hugely clunky and irritating, the other slightly less so.

    I have my earlier books on the first Kindle, then more on the Kindle Fire, and now my latest purchases on the Paperwhite I bought last October. Nowhere, except on Amazon, are they all in one place. I wish Amazon would take some time to think about people like me (I can’t be their only obsessive book purchaser) and what we would need to be able to more easily manage our books – especially given that they won’t all fit on one Kindle now. However, given how long it took for them to come up with the ability to do collections in the first place, I doubt they’re spending much time or effort on it.

    I love my Kindle. It goes with me everywhere. Like pets, however, their lives are not long. I do have to follow Jane’s excellent post from earlier this week to download my books to my computer, and into Calibre. Then I need to go back and download the books from the first Kindle, then figure out what’s in the middle and download them directly from Amazon. When I think of the time this is going to take to sort it all out…

    ReplyReply

  3. Margay
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 11:43:40

    This is great information, but what I want to know is how to delete books from the cloud. I keep trying to get them off my Paperwhite, but they still show up on the cloud so when I want to read a book, I have to toggle through pages to find what I’m looking for.

    ReplyReply

  4. Jane
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 12:33:21

    @Margay: You have to go to Amazon.com, sign in, and then Manage My Kindle Content and then delete it from that area.

    ReplyReply

  5. Dabney Grinnan
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 13:34:26

    @Becca: That is true. Here’s a link that explains it.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/169088/how-to-effortlessly-manage-your-kindle-collections/

    ReplyReply

  6. Glittergirl
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 14:30:30

    My question is can you use Calibre on a Nook? Do I want to?
    I create “bookshelves” for collections on my Nook and for me it’s by author but I have shelves like “A-C”, “D-F”, “G-H”, etc. I also have a search engine that I can look up books either by author or title. I’d really like to group and label book titles with their series name and number sequence but I’ve not figured out how to do that.
    Any ideas?

    ReplyReply

  7. Jane
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 14:37:26

    @Glittergirl: Actually yes. I’d use Plugboards and the “send to device” feature with your Nook plugged in.

    http://dearauthor.com/ebooks/setting-up-a-new-library-with-calibre-user-created-columns-and-saved-searches/

    ReplyReply

  8. Glittergirl
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 14:57:41

    Jane ~ Thanks so much, I’ll have to get working on that!

    ReplyReply

  9. Victoria
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 21:40:57

    Unfortunately, the Kindle Collections plugin can’t read the Collections from a Kindle Touch model. I’m moving from a Touch to a 2013 Paperwhite & figured I’d both take the time to set up a decent archive of what I have, and redo my collections. So far, it looks like I get to do the latter the hard way, outside of Calibre.

    If there’s something I’m missing on this score, I’d love to know!

    ReplyReply

  10. Will Entrekin
    Oct 21, 2013 @ 07:39:02

    Oh this is great. I’ve been reading on Kindle for ages now, and my home screen is just pages and pages–more than a hundred–of books. And I always forget the books in the middle there.

    Out of curiosity, if you don’t mind my asking, why do you have a “Books to Avoid” folder/collection?

    ReplyReply

  11. Jane
    Oct 21, 2013 @ 07:40:00

    @Will Entrekin: They are books I bought, started reading and thought were terrible so I put them there so I don’t waste time on them in the future.

    ReplyReply

  12. Maria
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 11:09:12

    Thank you. Your explanation seems useful. However, I am still unable to send a book from Calibre to the Kindle PW so that the books goes directly to its collection (same one in Kindle PW and Calibre). It always ends in the main list.

    ReplyReply

  13. Jane
    Dec 15, 2013 @ 12:56:57

    @Maria: Are you using the Kindle Collections Plugin?

    ReplyReply

  14. Jackie
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 13:03:57

    This may have been covered but I can’t be sure so I am asking….

    Books that I have read and have been added to my “books read” collection are still showing up on my home page as if they haven’t been read yet. How can I get them off the home page when I know they are in the “books read” collection?

    ReplyReply

  15. Jackie
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 13:04:48

    Sorry….my question is for the paperwhite

    ReplyReply

  16. Jane
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 13:15:30

    @Jackie: When you press and hold the icon, it should give you the option of removing the book from the device. I’m not sure if that keeps the book in your collection with the option of re downloading. My Kindle is charging so I can’t check it out.

    ReplyReply

  17. Jackie
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 13:32:58

    I thought about that as well but was afraid that it would remove it permanently. I tend to read books over and over again. I’m going to do that and if I want to read it again I’ll go to the cloud. Kind of a pain, don’t you think?

    Thanks for your help.

    ReplyReply

  18. Hana
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:52:46

    Hi, It sound great but doesn’t work on my paperwhite.
    have to add it to collection manually and painfully
    and sometimes it even keep disappearing too
    always the same files or collection
    I just finish reading it then the whole collection disappear
    but it come out on the computer

    also wondering if there are another way to transfer book
    apart from calibre
    I try to transfer straight through Folder but it didn’t show up on kindle

    many many thanks
    hana

    ReplyReply

  19. Jane
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 09:02:41

    @Hana: You can add books to your Kindle via a USB cord or by using your Personal Documents account which is what I do. https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_pdoc_main_short_us?nodeId=200767340

    ReplyReply

  20. Kevin
    Mar 14, 2014 @ 22:50:52

    Does my paperwhite have to be jailbroken for this to work. I can’t get the collection to show up on my paperwhite. Your tutorial was very nice, but I’m kind of lost at the create custom column part.

    ReplyReply

  21. hannah morgana
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 00:53:27

    Amazon has the best prices o all the kindle Models CHECK IT OUT NOW! http://amzn.to/174bELn

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

%d bloggers like this: