When you buy a copy of a p-book (paperbook), you own that copy. You can sell it, lend it, whatever you want.
However, if something happens to it, you are out of luck. While paperbooks are pretty hardy, they are vulnerable to liquids, fire, theft, loss…and animals (among other things).
When you “buy a book” from the Amazon Kindle store, you are really getting a license (most often six licences) to read that book on that device.
While people sometimes talk about the negatives of licenses versus copies (you can see my earlier post discussing the relative values here), there is at least one real plus in buying a licence for a book from Amazon.
When you buy that Kindle, Amazon sets up storage for you. Hey, they’re in the data storage business (among other things). If your Kindle is lost or stolen (you can see my post on that here), you can redownload those on to a new device for free.
I see quite a bit of confusion about how to use the archives, so I thought I’d give you some of the steps here. To keep this simple, I’m going to mostly ignore the iPhone and iPod touch.
QUICK STEPS (details below)
* To remove a book from the Kindle: flick left (or backspace on K1)
* To get a book from the Archives: Home-Menu-View Archived Items click); on the K1: Home-Menu-Content Manager-Click-Menu-Move to Kindle Memory
Getting a book into the archives
Buy it from the Kindle store.
Books you buy from the Kindle store are automatically in your archives. Those archives are available to all of the Kindles on your account.
When you buy the book, you specify a Kindle (or iPhone or iPod touch) for which it is intended, and it is keyed to that device. If you have Whispernet access, it is delivered to that device.
On a Kindle 2 or Kindle DX, it doesn’t show in the Archived Items on the device for which it was downloaded, but it is there. For other devices on that account, you will see it listed (more on that later).
Removing a book from the Kindle
If you got the book from the Kindle store, you can remove it from your Kindle. Remember, it’s already in your archives.
On a Kindle 2 or Kindle DX, click Home. Get your 5-way to the title you want, and flick left. You should see a small “button” that says, “remove from device”. That’s what you are doing. If you see a button that says, “delete”, that particular item isn’t in your archives (because it wasn’t a book from the Kindle store).
If you see “remove from device” and you don’t want to do that, click the BACK button.
On a Kindle 1, it’s a little different. Click Home. Roll your select wheel (that’s that it is called) to the item. Hit the backspace key (the left pointing arrow on your right-side of the keyboard…not the one that has a bend). You can click OK to remove it, or Cancel not to remove it.
That, by the way, was a big improvement that we got with a software update. We used to have to use the Content Manager (see below).
Getting a book from the Archives and putting it on the Kindle
If you are connected to the Whispernet, it’s easy on the K2 or KDX. Hit Home-Menu. You’ll see a choice for View Archived Items. You can just click the item, and it will go to your device (you’ll get a local copy). If you flick right, you’ll see a choice to add to home, which does the same thing.
You can also get to it by getting to the Archived Items choice on the last page of your homescreen, but that seems harder to me (but I’m not going to decide for you). You can see how many page are on your homescreen in your bottom lefthand corner. Type that number using the keyboard, then click and you’ll get to the last page. Scroll to the Archived Items and click that.
I’ve been able to demonstrate retrieving an item from the archives and then taking it off a K2 in under a minute.
Tip: By default, the items are sorted by title. You can flick up, flick right to choose to sort by author (although that is dependent on how the books were entered). You can type the first letter and click to move to that part of the alphabet. You can also type a number and click to go to that page. Additionally, you can search for a word in the books. Type the word, and flick right. You can click on search my items. Flick right again, and you can search other things, like Wikipedia. You do not have to have the book on your Kindle to be able to look things up in it.
With a K1, you have to use the Content Manager, which I don’t find as easy. Go to Home, scroll to the Menu, and click. You’ll see a choice for Content Manager. Click that one.
In the Content Manager, you’ll see an indicator under each file as to where it is:
* If it’s in the equivalent of the archives, it says it is on Amazon
* If it’s on the Kindle, it’s says Kindle
* It could also be on an SD card, and it will say SD Card
On your rightside of the title, there is a checkbox. Scroll to it, and click on the ones you want to put on the current device. One advantage is that you can click several titles before you take an action. Note: if you need to go to another page, that’s okay…just use the Next Page button like you would when you are reading. Next, scroll back down to Menu and click that. You’ll see several choices (and your choices will depend on the ones you’ve clicked). You can Move to Kindle Memory or Move to SD Memory Card.
Using the Manage Your Kindle page
Another way to put books on your devices from the Archives is to go to http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle on an internet-connected computer. You may have to log into your Amazon account. Scroll down to your books, and choose to Send t0 a specific device for each book you want to send.
What if your archives say zero?
Your Kindle knows what’s in the Archives through its wireless connection (the Whispernet). If your archives say zero, go to Home-Menu-Sync & Check for Items. That should fix it (if you have a connection)
Making your own backups
Some people like to make their own backups, and that’s fine. For books from the Amazon store, that’s redundant…and that’s not a bad thing. For books from other sources (including personal documents you had converted by Amazon, even if they are sent directly to your Kindle), it’s a good idea.
Connect your Kindle to your computer using your USB cord. Copy your documents folder from your Kindle to your computer (and from there to an SD card, or flash drive or wherever you want). If you have audiobooks in the Audible folder or music in the music folder, you may want to copy those as well.
Archive or Local?
My tendency is to remove everything from my Kindle except my current books and resource material I really want handy. However, I do have Whispernet easily available, so it’s easy for me to recover books on the road.
What is NOT archived
* Books from sites other than Amazon, personal documents, samples
Annotations you create are stored in “associated information” files (.mbp or .tan). Those are also backed up at Amazon for you…only if you got the book from the Kindle store.
Syncing between devices
The Archives also allow the syncing between two devices. That lets you pick up where you were in a book when you go to read it on another device. More about that in another post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.