Hacking a Kindle into a focused note taking and writing device

Amazon just introduced their new E-ink table: the Kindle Scribe, which unlike other e-readers made by the company is not limited to reading but also features a larger 10.2" display and a pen to take notes, like the remarkable tablet.

As I already own a kindle Paperwhite, and I prefer its format that I can take with me everywhere, I have absolutely no intention of buying this new device and creating more e-waste.

But, like many, many people, I've always been frustrated by the fact that the Kindle is primarily a consumption device.

For me, it's the perfect hardware: it's not bad for my eyes, it fits in most of my pockets, it has incredible battery life, it is waterproof, and more importantly, it is distraction-free.

So let me talk about this hack that I found to use my Kindle as both a reading and a note taking and writing device. And the best thing about it is that it doesn't even require a particular exploit or rooting the device. You can do it with any kindle!

Kindle as a writing device

Kindle devices natively support annotations: you can highlight parts of your books and take notes that you can access later online at: https://read.amazon.com/notebook or, if like me, you don't connect your Kindle to the internet, you can find it in the My Clippings.txt file in the documents folder of your Kindle.

And here is the hack: you can easily create "dummy" ebooks that you upload to your Kindle. Then by using your Kindle's annotation feature, you can take note as if your Kindle was a real note-taking device! Each one of these ebooks is an independent notebook.

To do that, highlight any portion of text and click Note.

Kindle Highlight

What is really awesome with this system is that you can have as many notebooks as you want on your Kindle!

For example, as I'm writing this post, I have two notebooks: my general purpose notebook to write my ideas as they flow and another one to write my latest course.

Another example would be to create an ebook with a line for each day of the week so you can use your Kindle for journaling. As usual, the limits are your imagination!

Kindle as a journaling device

And yes, most of this post was written on my Kindle on a beautiful beach :)

In order to generate the ebook, you can use Google Docs, and click File > Download > Epub Publication.

Google Docs generate Epub

Google Docs generate Epub

Then you need to transfer the Epub file to your Kindle device. You can do that either by sending it to your Kindle's email address or converting it to the MOBI format and transferring it over USB.

I've created an ebook for you so you can get started right now: here is the Epub file and here is the MOBI file.

Enjoy your new distraction-free writing device ✍️

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