Using Kindle to proof a manuscript

Here’s an idea. How great would it be if you could mark up a manuscript in Kindle and use that as your final proof before delivery? And by Kindle I don’t mean just the Kindle hardware, but also the Kindle app across different devices — say putting in notes on your Android phone then seeing that selfsame stuff on your iPad for the final corrections?

It can be done (though there are limitations). Here’s how — you will need a Kindle account that has document upload facilities, which means you must at some stage have bought a hardware Kindle.

  1. Learn how to upload a Word document to Kindle. The easiest way is to use your Kindle email address for your individual device, be it Android or iPad. More on that here. 

  2. Kindle will convert the file into an ebook which you can read like any other. Then use Kindle’s simple annotation tools — colour highlighting and note insertion — to go through your manuscript.

  3. Work on the device you want. I just revised a manuscript on a plane using a small Samsung tablet. When I got to my destination I synced my iPad Kindle app and the same annotations are immediately there. I can switch between the two devices at will and they will stay in sync.

For me this is very much a final pre-delivery read through. I much prefer to do heavier revises using paper or a pen-enabled tablet since I will be scrawling lots of things on the page. But using Kindle lets you read your manuscript as if it were a published book — which is a great way to spot small things. And Kindle’s annotation tools are fine for that.

The one limitation I’ve spotted so far is this syncing only works for me between Android and iPad devices. For some reason you don’t seem to be able to send documents to the Kindle app on the Mac. I think the Kindle Windows app is similarly crippled but I could be wrong (don’t have it).

All the same… I like this. It means I see the work in book form and I can read and annotate pretty much anywhere. When it comes to handling the final corrections all I’ll do is set the iPad next to the Mac and go through them page by page.