Close, but no Kindle

I want to buy a Kindle. I really do.

There’s just one problem. A minor concern. I have something on the order of _three thousand_ ebooks already in my Calibre library. I can convert these to .mobi format and drag them into Kindle for PC. I can drag them over USB to a physical Kindle device.

But I do most of my reading on my iPhone. And while the Kindle iOS app is wonderful for reading books purchased via Amazon.com _there is no official way_ to add personal content to Kindle for iOS.

Until the jailbreaks of last weekend, there was no way at all, official or otherwise, to load personal content onto Kindle for iOS if you were using the latest revision of the operating system. Now that I can—and have—jailbreak 4.1, I can verify that if you know the specific folder on the iPhone where the Kindle app stores its books:

> /private/var/mobile/Applications/A9EB2B1F-4AA1-4FE3-9E41-3C6ECE723776/Documents/eBooks

you can copy .mobi files to the device and they’ll show up in your book list the next time you start the Kindle app. Now, this is just for Kindle iOS version 2.3.1.3. The next time I download an update to the Kindle app, that A9EB2B1F-4AA1-4FE3-9E41-3C6ECE723776 changes to something else.

But at least I can get my personal content on to the device. For now. As long as I keep playing the game of cat and mouse with Apple and Amazon to keep my phone jailbroken and keep track of where the books are.

But one of the key advantages to the Kindle platform is Whispersync, the ability to pick up where you left off on any Kindle reader no matter what device you were using last time. This doesn’t work with personal content. I even verified that if I name the files using Amazon’s product ID the way Amazon does it internally—Stephen King’s _On Writing_, which I’ve already purchased from eReader/Fictionwise _and_ Audible, would be B000FC0SIM_EBOK.azw—and carefully insert a copy in the ebooks folder for Kindle iOS and Kindle PC, even though it says it’s uploading and saving my furthest read location on the iOS device, opening the same book in Kindle for PC doesn’t jump to the same location.

In short, I’ve done just about everything I can do to make this work without access to the code.

So for right now, I can’t read _all_ of the books I own seamlessly on whatever reading platform I happen to have at hand, which is the whole point of the Kindle experience. Only the books I actually bought from Amazon sync with my iPhone. So either I deal with finding my place myself—which I already do if I’m reading the same book as an ebook and an audiobook, the only way I get through some things—or I rebuy books I’ve already paid for if I want them to sync—which also includes the ability to archive (delete) books from the device and then easily redownload them over the air later if I need to.

And yet, if Kindle 3 prices drop again for the holiday season to $99 for WiFi-only and $149 for 3G, I might have to bite the bullet and buy one anyway. I’m already hooked.

Just not completely.

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