How To Sync Ebook Read Positions Between Devices

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The last decade has been kind to us. Households went from one desktop that used to sit in the living room to multiple laptops/tablets/cell phones. These days, it’s not odd to find 3–4 devices to one name. All that access to technology is great but it brings up a big issue of syncing data.

Today we’ll talk about a small, yet significant point in this debate – syncing read positions for ebooks between devices. How do you make sure that when you turn off your tablet and pick up your phone during the commute that the book you were reading will pick up from where you left off?

If you just buy books from Kindle, this kind of stuff is easy. But it gets complicated when you add your own collection of DRM-free ePubs.

Books Bought From Amazon Kindle

If you buy and read books on Amazon Kindle, you don’t need to worry about syncing read positions because Amazon takes care of that by itself. And that includes the Kindle ebook reader. As long as both devices are connected to the internet, the syncing will take place.

Interestingly, this is also true for any document/DRM-free ebook you upload to Amazon’s cloud.

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Adding And Syncing Your Own Books To Kindle

Kindle allows you to upload your own documents to its cloud servers and syncs them with all available devices. But the only problem is that Kindle doesn’t support ePub formats. You’ll have to convert your DRM-free ebooks to Mobi format first, using something like Calibre. If you can get over this hump, Kindle is the best way to store, read and sync all your books. If you need ePub support, look at the alternative below.

Getting compatible ebooks to Kindle couldn’t be easier. Each Kindle device has its own unique email address that you can mail ebooks to. First you’ll have to go to the Kindle Personal Document Settings page in the Manage Your Kindle section and add your email address to the approved list.

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Now just send an email to that address with the ebook as an attachment and it will be uploaded to Kindle’s cloud storage

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More ways to send an ebook to Kindle are stated here. Calibre also has an email-to-Kindle feature that makes sending converted ebooks to Kindle very easy.

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Upload Your Own Books To Google Play Books

Google Play Books lets you upload your own books using your Android phone or the web. And unlike Kindle, Play Books supports ePub format as well as PDF.

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To enable user-uploading on your Android phone, open the app, go to Settings and tick Enable PDF uploading. To upload a book from your Android phone, just go to any file manager and choose Upload to Play Books from the sharing menu.

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You can also upload books by going to Play Books website and hitting the Upload files button.

My Advice? Go With Amazon Kindle

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I’ve been a crusader in the ebook land long enough to know what works and what’s just a gimmick. Since the fall of Readmill, my favorite cross platform syncing ebook reading app, I’ve been on a hunt to find a replacement that was just as good. Till now I’ve found none. There are apps like Dotdotdot and Fastr that come close but are not reliable enough for me to recommend to serious readers.

As it is with many things in life, I found solace in the place I wasn’t looking. If you’re a fan of reading classic out-of-copyright or DRM-free ebooks, Kindle is the last place you’ll want to go. A lot of people think that Kindle ebook reader and the app are only good for reading books bought from the Kindle store, because that’s what Amazon tells us. But it is useful for more. Much, much more.

You can send web articles to KindleSend an ebook every night consisting of all the articles you saved in Instapaper automatically, and of course, add any DRM-free Mobi book you want.

Ever since I got Kindle Paperwhite, all my reading has been Kindle-centric. I used to be a big believer in ePubs but converting my collection over to Kindle was as easy as pressing a button, thanks to Calibre.

It’s time we give in to the Kindle overlords.

And it doesn’t matter whether you’re reading a book you uploaded or the one you bought from Kindle, they all show up in the same Library view, complete with book covers and metadata.

Shutterstock Image Credit: Antonio Guillem

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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