For the Connected Missionary

Missionary Geek

Some book publishers make it difficult to copy and paste material from their Kindle books into a word processing document. This supposedly keeps you from copying their book and sharing it freely with others. The truth is that it doesn’t prevent illegal copying of their material as much as it frustrates people who have legitimate reasons to use properly credited material for their own purposes.

Picture of a basic Kindle reader.If you don’t want to have to retype a quote and would like to copy and paste from a book, here is the way I have been doing it for several years. I trust this will continue to work into the future.

Highlight the Passage

Start by highlighting the passage that you are interested in. You probably already know how to do this. But, if not, each of the Kindle platforms work about the same.

  • eInk Non-Touchscreen: Place the cursor at the start of the quote and highlight by pressing the button in the middle of the 5-way controller to start the highlight. Use the directional pad to select the passage.
  • Kindle Fire, Android or iOS: Hold a finger on a word within the quote to get the handles that can be dragged to the beginning and end of the passage.
  • eInk Touchscreen: I have never used a touchscreen Kindle, so I am not sure the process there.
  • Kindle for PC/Mac, Kindle Cloud Reader: Select the text you want with the mouse and then choose the highlight button from the popup screen.

The computer-based readers is where the majority of the frustration for me happens. You would expect that you can copy and paste right from these applications. In the past I know I was able to do so with some books, but the book I am currently reading will not allow it. That may be a change that Amazon has implemented, or it could be publisher specific. I don’t use the computer-based readers often enough to know if this is a new change in the way it works.

Now that your passage is highlighted you can get that text into your word processor in the next step.

View Your Highlights and Notes Online

There is a website that Amazon has setup for you that you may not even know about. It is Kindle.Amazon.com. Once you log in at that site you can choose the link at the top that says Your Highlights. This is where the magic happens. From that page you will see all the passages you have ever highlighted from your Amazon Kindle account.

From each passage you see on that page, you are able to add a personal note or delete the material.

For our purposes, this is also where you can copy the text from the book and paste it into your word processor. As far as I know there are no limitations on how much you can copy from here. However, a publisher may limit the amount of text from their book that can be highlighted in the first place.

Problem Solved!

This should allow you to copy material out of a book while using the Kindle platform. There may be something like this for the Nook platform as well.

Without being too unkind, I assume that if the iBooks platform does not allow you to copy and paste, then there is probably no way around it. That is the type of control and lock-down you submit yourself to when you work with such a closed environment. I know that the Kindle is not an open platform, but I don’t know of any computers or mobile devices where you can’t read your Kindle content. If you buy a book from the iBooks store then you better hope you always have some type of Apple device or you may never be able to read your books in the future.

I hope this helps you get the material you need out of a book and into your preaching or teaching notes.

About the author

David is a missionary working with the Deaf. His focus is helping churches in Latin America start ministries for the Deaf in their communities. He currently lives with his wife and kids in Mérida, México. David also serves as the Director of Deaf Ministries for his mission board, Baptist International Outreach.

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