Organizing Collections on a Kindle

 If you’re a reader like me, your library of books can quickly grow unwieldly. Luckily, the Kindle comes equipped with user-defined “collections” which allows you to sort your library into manageable categories or tags.

Update: note that this process is for the old keyboard-style Kindle and not up to date with the modern Kindle Paperwhite UI interface.

Creating a Kindle Book Collection

Creating a collection on the Kindle is pretty easy:

  1. On the main screen, highlight a book title you wish to add to a collection and push right on the d-pad to get to the book information screen.
  2. Select Add to Collection…
  3. You’ll see your collections screen, where already made collections will appear if you have any. Select Create New Collection.
  4. Type in the name of your collection. I prefer using genres and subjects, so my collections are named things like “Fantasy, Science & History, Classics, etc.”
  5. Hit OK and your book will be automatically added to it.

You can add your book to multiple collections, if you want. Any collection that your book has been added to will appear with a check mark on the collections screen. You can click it again to remove it from any collection. Collections will appear in order of most recently used, unless you change the option at the top of the screen (navigate to top and push right on the d-pad).

Now, you can do like me and waste several hours of your Sunday afternoon painstakingly going book by book and adding to collections, OR you can do it the fast way!

Adding Multiple Books to a Collection

You can pick a collection then go through and add multiple books to it in one fell swoop. Here’s how:

  1. First, create all the initial collections you want, using the method above. They will appear on the main screen along with your individual books.
  2. Navigate to the collection on the main screen. Instead of clicking to open it, click right on your d-pad to see more options.
  3. Select Add/Remove Items.
  4. You’ll see a list of your entire library of book titles. Now just check (select) any book that fits in that collection. You can add multiple books at once.
  5. Click Done at the bottom of the screen when you’re finished. Now all the books you selected are added to that collection.
  6. Do this with the rest of your collections until you have a happy, organized reading list.

It might be obvious, but I wasn’t aware of that shortcut when I first organized my collection–it’s much quicker to add multiple books to a collection rather than categorize books one by one.

Other Kindle Tips

There’s a lot of handy tips and tricks packed into such a simple device, and I’m still discovering them. A few other tips on organizing really large libraries of books:

  • Make sub-genre collections. I started out with just one big “Fantasy” collection, but I read a lot of fantasy. I quickly had over 160 titles in one collection and it got unwieldly. I kept my Fantasy collection, but I also started breaking it down by sub-genre: High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, etc.
  • Collections by writing form. I also created collections by form of writing, like Short Stories and Essays. That way I can easily pick up something if I’m in the mood for something short.
  • I also created a collection just for Samples because I’m a freebie fiend. I’ll download the free Kindle sample of any book that looks vaguely interesting with the intent to read it later. I use Samples as my “to read later” list.
  • View by Collections. Instead of seeing individual book titles on the main screen, you can show just your collections. Change the view by navigating to the top and clicking right on the d-pad to change the view.
  • Use Search. The Kindle’s search function is surprisingly thorough–it won’t just search the titles of books, but it will also do a full text search inside the book. Keep that in mind when you’re searching for words that are common, or searching for author names or book titles that might also occur in unrelated books. Bonus search hint: keep hitting right on the d-pad when in search to also search the Amazon ebook store, Google, wikipedia, or the dictionary.
  • Clipping in loaned books. If you’re using the book lending feature and reading a borrowed book, you can still highlight and clip quotations that you might want to read again or refer to later. Even if the book goes back to the lender, your highlights stay in your My Clippings folder.

Any particularly awesome Kindle tips for bookworms that I’ve missed?