I love my Kindle. I do not love its way of handling collections. It’s a hassle to organize books into collections, and I like having my books organized, so just having all of them in the “root” of my Kindle wasn’t going to work for me. On previous ereaders it was possible to create folders while having the ereader connected to my computer, and organize the files that way. The Kindle didn’t work that way. Besides, collections are more like tags than folders, as each book can be assigned to more than one collection.
Fortunately there are various programs out there that help you manage your Kindle collections. I’ve tried out three of them and will give a brief (or not so brief 😉 ) review of each.
Kindle Collection Manager
This was the first one I found. It’s free and does the job it was made for. It’s main disadvantage is that it doesn’t visually show which books have been added to collections, so if you’re looking at the main overview (“all books”), you have to remember how far you’ve come and which books you’ve already sorted.
Kindle collection for Calibre
I thought this would be perfect! A plugin for Calibre to keep my books organized, what could go wrong? Quite a bit unfortunately, and this turned out to be the least useful manager of the lot. In fact, it ended up undoing quite a lot of the sorting I’d done.
The problem arises if you have books on your Kindle that aren’t in Calibre (which I do) and want both types of books to be in the same collections (which I did). Calibre overwrites the collections on your Kindle, so rather than just adding extra books, it deleted the original collection and added only books from Calibre to the new collection – leaving me with hundreds of books no longer sorted
As an additional hassle, the plugin doesn’t seem to be able to handle books in multiple collections. Instead it creates a new collection that is a concatenation of the two original ones (e.g. “Currently reading, fantasy”). I quickly stopped using that one.
Last, but definitely not least. Kindlean is so far without a doubt the best collection manager I’ve found. It’s free for the first 100 books, if you have more than that (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) it costs US$19.95. I’ve found it to be well worth the price though!
Kindlean offers a nice-looking interface that allows you to edit the meta data on books as well as adding the books to one or multiple collections (either by drag-and-drop or by editing the meta data). So far I’ve encountered a few books where I couldn’t edit the meta data (I got either an “UNKNOWN” error or the ever popular “Object reference not set to an instance of an object” error which all programmers know to hate), but out of 475 books I think I encountered 5 of those, so I’m assuming corrupt books rather than an actual bug in the program (appart from usability issues anyway 😉 )
Of the three, I would recommend Kindlean as the best program, but the two others do have the advantage of being free, and can be equally helpful once you’re aware of their limitations.
If you know of any other collection managers, I’d love to hear of them 🙂