A Kindle Cookbook?
June 6, 2012 11:40 PM   Subscribe

What is the best, most orderly way to add and organize recipes on my Kindle Touch for optimal viewing?

I'm fairly new to my Kindle, and have discovered the joys of Instapaper and the Gutenberg Library, but I really want it to become my compiled home cookbook.

We have lived on a boat and will again (read: enough power to charge a Kindle, little to no internet access). The last time we did, I copied and scanned our favorite recipes and printed them all double-sided into a fat, awkward three-ring binder. And then we carried another four cookbooks. I'd like to convert that three-ring binder to my Kindle Touch.

At this time, I have access to a great scanner (scans to pdf, jpg, whatever). Bottom line, I want to be able to 1) scan favorite recipes from books, and 2) take favorites off the web, and compile them all with a table of contents and "chapters."

Ideally, all this would live somewhere else, to be cleaned, added to and edited when able and needed, and then re-synced to the Kindle. I can't lose or break the Kindle and have lost my recipes forever.

I'm willing to work a bit to make this happen, though I draw the line at re-typing every single recipe.
posted by AnOrigamiLife to Technology (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
calibre is the standard for free software that can convert just about anything into a Kindle-compatible ebook and put it on your device. A bunch of different document formats can be tied there to the same "book", so you could keep (say), the DOC version of your cookbook there alongside the MOBI version that'd go to the Kindle.

Check out this section in calibre's documentation to learn how to get it to detect and generate your table of contents. It's a little bit tricky, but it looks like what you'll want to do is wrangle together everything in a common, text-based format like RTF, convert that to HTML, add your chapter markers and run the HTML through calibre to make your completed ebook.
posted by Apropos of Something at 2:17 AM on June 7, 2012

calibre is indeed awesome, but its tutorials can be somewhat opaque if you don't have programming experience.

The Kindle Touch (which I also have) is un-awesome at handling pdfs. It works, kind of, but even though the Touch software now allows for landscape mode, you still can't embiggen a pdf the way you can a non-pdf (i.e. .mobi) document. I've had very mixed results in using calibre to convert pdfs to mobi/epub, to the point where I pretty much don't bother. These are both commercial pdfs and pdfs I've created myself (all text-only, no illustrations).

If you've got a smartphone, I've found using Evernote an easy way to collect and organize recipes. You can make things "favorites" (by starring them) and they'll be available even if you don't have wifi or cell service where you are.
posted by rtha at 10:12 AM on June 7, 2012

Does the Kindle Touch support Android apps the way the Fire does?

I just got an iPad and am working my way through the same thing, and right now I'm using Evernote to tag my recipes. So far, it's been copying and pasting them from the internet, but Evernote does support pictures and supposedly does OCR pretty well to translate the pics to text.

Evernote does have an Android app.
posted by I am the Walrus at 10:41 AM on June 7, 2012

I do not have programming experience, or an Android. Don't know about the Touch supporting Android apps...

I've heard good things about Evernote, but I truly don't see keeping my iPhone charged when away from civilization for weeks at a time, just so I can view my recipes on a tiny phone screen. So... if I understand correctly, if I end up with an iPad or a small long-battery laptop, Evernote will serve my needs. But no joy with my Kindle.

Am truly surprised this isn't a simpler process with more options. Very disappointing. I'll read thoroughly about my Calibre options, but still hold out hope someone else might pipe in with alternatives. Thanks all.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 5:41 PM on June 7, 2012

This is probably something that the Kindle Fire could handle, although I have no firsthand experience with the Fire. As far as I know, the Kindle Touch does not run Android apps.
posted by rtha at 5:56 PM on June 7, 2012

Remember, the advantage in your Kindle Touch's battery life (the e-ink display) is precisely what keeps it from running Android apps or doing anything on the technical complexity of Evernote or a more complex search program. Whatever you do, it's pretty much going to have to be one document or a series of documents pre-formatted on your computer.

One other alternative: a calibre plugin called Kindle Collections makes it easy to manage the collections on your Kindle from your computer. This would make it relatively easy to drop individual recipes in as separate files and sort them by category. You should also know that, given the Kindle's search function, if you don't need a "click-able" table of contents, using calibre's actually pretty easy: put everything into a PDF, use calibre to convert it to MOBI and send it right along to your Kindle.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:50 PM on June 7, 2012

I am now resigned to not finding exactly what I want. But you've helped to narrow my field of options. I've come to the following two conclusions:

1) With Kindle: Compile recipes into a living Word document and use Calibre convert it to a mobi file for Kindle viewing, overwriting periodically as my content changes. Pros: I can view on my Kindle, which was my goal. Cons: I have a ton of existing pdfs that probably won't convert (will it work to re-scan the pages to jpegs and import as images to my Word doc? or to try a scan-to-text option?).
2) Without Kindle: Compile all recipes in Google Docs, with each as a separate Doc, organized in Collections (e.g. Baking, Soups) and use Chrome to view them offline. Pros: it's editable from anywhere I'm connected, which makes updating simple; I can't ever lose it; it seems I can embed jpegs (of the pdfs) in the Docs, or even just upload the pdfs as is. Cons: I'd need to buy a tablet; lower battery life.

Further feedback welcome!
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 3:46 PM on June 8, 2012

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