Does a Kindle Fire only partially download a book?

Does a Kindle Fire only partially download a book?

This is an odd thing, but I’ve encountered several reports of it in the Amazon Kindle community, so I thought I’d check in with you.

With an RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle…anything except a Kindle Fire), when you download a book, it’s there. You do not need to connect to the wireless again to read the book before you finish it.

That can be important when you are traveling. If I was going to be on a cruise ship, or in the woods for two weeks, I could download enough books before I went and be fine.

However, what I’m seeing reported with the Kindle Fire is that people are away from wireless, are partway through a downloaded book…and can’t finish reading it.

The Fire wants to connect to the server again to be able to finish the book.

One person who posted even specifically mentioned the red exclamation icon you see on a book on the Fire when you tried to do a download and it failed.

This is a bit disconcerting, if true. I have not encountered it myself, but I haven’t been reading away from wi-fi for more than a day in a row, yet.

I’m curious as to whether or not this is a widespread issue, so I’m going to ask you:

I can see the logic of this…if it was a choice the user could make. Hmm…Amazon says you can download about 6,000 books on a Kindle Fire.

“8GB internal (approximately 6GB available for user content). That’s enough for 80 apps, plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.”

That’s in 5.37 GB available for non-app user storage.

Amazon figures about 800KB or about a megabyte (MB…”meg”) for a typical book. A gigabyte (GB) is very approximately a thousand megs.

That suggest that Amazon expects the 6,000 books to be downloaded in a manner similar to the RSKs…fully downloaded. There are also a number of “associated files” that may be downloaded (page numbers, popular highlights, annotations, and so on) with a book, but those tend to be pretty small.

Given that, I wonder why a book would either only partially download or want to check in with Amazon’s server if it was fully downloaded?

I’m still not sure how often this is happening…answering the poll can help find out if this is a significant problem.

If you’ve experienced it (or not), feel free to tell me what you think about it. Would this be a problem for you? I can see how it would be for me…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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23 Responses to “Does a Kindle Fire only partially download a book?”

  1. jean boggs Says:

    i have been in hawaii for 2 weeks w/my kindle2 and my fire. i have not had much wifi access but was able to read fully all the books i downloaded and placed in favorites. unable to remove from device yet tho.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jean!

      That’s good to hear! Someone commenting on the poll suggested it might happen if a download was interrupted…that makes sense, as a hypothesis.

  2. Janice Says:

    What I’ve had a problem with, is when I am reading a downloaded book on my Fire, then go back to my regular Kindle, it does not pick up where I left off and vice versa.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Janice!

      I don’t have that issue, so I do want to suggest a couple of things for you.

      First, you have to have Whispersync turned on (that’s the default). You do that at

      http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

      under Manage Your Devices.

      If you are reading the same book on more than one device, as you are, you should have Whispersync turned on. If more than one person is reading the same book on different devices, it should be turned off.

      The other thing is that both devices have to connect with Amazon’s servers before the information can be communicated. I’ve found that this has been smooth on the Fire compared to on the RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles…anything except a Fire), but basically:

      Read on Kindle A
      Go to Home
      You may want to Sync with Amazon
      Sync with Amazon on Kindle B
      Open the book on Kindle B

      You may not need to do all that every time, but that should make it work.

      The one thing is that Topaz books (the lesser used of the two formats in the Kindle store…although there may be a third now) have reportedly had problems with syncing. Is it all books or just one?

  3. Dave Says:

    I wonder if this is people who started to download a book, but lost their wireless before the download actually finished – i.e. left Starbucks shortly after deciding to download something?

    I’m more surprised that a book would even load if it weren’t fully downloaded. There aren’t many files in the world that work properly when incomplete.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Dave!

      I agree..that would be unusual behavior, although Amazon could design the files to download in segments.

      It might be part of moving some things off the device as well…no way to tell at this point. I am getting enough responses that say yes to suggest this is a real problem.

  4. Pineapple Says:

    I wonder what the mechanics are to index books on the Fire?
    On my K3, I turn on wireless, download my books, then turn wireless off. The K3 then indexes in the background.
    Perhaps the Fire indexes differently as in during the download. If that is the case, it could be that books are not fully indexed when the wireless is turned off, thereby making the book only partially accessible.
    This is just speculation on my part.
    I have not had this problem, but I tend to leave my wireless on all the time on my Fire as I access the Cloud often during the day.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Pineapple!

      It’s possible that the indexing works differently…but I’m confident you can read a book on an RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) before it is indexed. I suggest that because I have been able to read a book right away, and then searched for something and been told it wasn’t indexed yet. You could be right, but I’m not sure why it not being indexed would prevent it being completely read.

  5. Doralee Says:

    About a week after I got the Kindle Fire, I was out of WiFi coverage. I got the red exclamation point on a book I was reading with a message saying it wanted to connect. I shut it down and restarted it and the exclamation point was gone and I was able to finish reading the book. Maybe it’s a software glitch as opposed to the book not completely downloading. I didn’t give it a 2nd thought – I work around electronics and recycling the power switch fixes all manner of things.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Doralee!

      Yes, good point…it could be that the Kindle thinks something is wrong when it isn’t. That happens.

      As to your point about cycling, I’ve probably told this joke before…but I do like it.

      There are three engineers in a car: an electrical engineer, a civil engineer, and a Windows engineer.

      The car starts developing a problem.

      The electrical engineer says, “It’s probably the electrical system.”

      The civil engineer says, “It’s probably the road.”

      The Windows engineer says, “We pull over to the side of the road, roll the windows down, roll them up again…it should work.”
      ;)

  6. D. Knight Says:

    I don’t read on my Fire (still have K3 for that), but I’ve noticed another similar problem with video. I’m stayng with Mom who has no wi-fi, so I purchased and downloaded 2 single TV episodes to watch offline. When I tried to watch, I couldn’t access the episodes, even though I later verified that they were actually downloaded. When I had wi-fi access, i started the episodes (only a few seconds) and now I do have access to the entire episode. I want to emphasize that I did verify that the episodes were already downloaded. But to access them initially I had to go through Amazon’s episode selection screen which includes all the episodes of the same season that I did not purchase and is only available on-line. Only after I started an episode was an icon available directly on the Fire.
    (Comment submitted using a 3G K3).

  7. Pat Lawton Says:

    I use my Fire for reading a lot and have not had this problem. Sounds like a bug Amazon will have to fix.

    I got my 6.2.1 installation last night and am thrilled to be able to clear the junk off my carousel.

    By the way, I love my old DX. Its white case is beautiful.

  8. Dave Says:

    Hi Bufo,

    I have a theory that it’s only the Lending Library books that need to be hooked up to Wi-Fi to be readable, perhaps as part of the underlying technology that allows them to be deleted remotely upon the lending of a new book. I did a minor experiment when I was wi-fi free on vacation this past week and found it to work that way, but maybe you could play around with it or investigate it further.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Dave!

      Interesting hypothesis! That might explain the spotty nature of the problem. Maybe there is a spot check to see that the person is still a paid Prime member, or something like that. That might have been part of the deal with the publishers.

      I have borrowed Prime books and haven’t seen it happen…but I may not be reading one for long enough with wi-fi off.

  9. Book, Interrupted « I Love My Kindle Says:

    [...] I’ve written previously about reports I’d seen that sometimes, after a book had been downloaded to a Kindle Fire, the reader had to connect to wi-fi again partway through the book to be able to finish it. [...]

  10. hernan enriquez Says:

    It happens to me all the time, even with a purchased book, not just the lenders library, I try to read away from the Wi Fi and the book runs out until I get to a wi-fi spot, what to do?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, hernan!

      If it’s happening consistently, that’s atypical. I’ve had it happen, but rarely. For that reason, I’d contact Kindle Support:

      http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

      You’ll see a

      Contact Us

      button on your right. I’d call them or have them call you. There may be something mechanically wrong with your Kindle.

      On the other hand, it could also be that you are doing something differently from the way I do it. Hypothetically, it’s important to let the file download fully before you cut off the wi-fi. For example, do you start your downloads right before you go to bed and turn the Kindle Fire (I’m presuming that’s what you have) completely off before you go to bed? I would think that might affect it. I could also see somebody starting and download and then hopping in the car to head off for work.

      To be clear, though, it may be nothing about what you are doing…Kindle Support can help you determine that.

  11. Mitch Says:

    I have used Kindle DX for 3 years with no problem. The Kindle Fire is driving me crazy. I connect to WIFI, download a book. Page to the end of the book to be sure it downloaded. Then at some later date after I power off and power back on it says the download was interrupted. It is especially frustrating when flying and you can’t reconnect.

    If you find the solution please notify me.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mitch!

      The two devices are very different, certainly, and the DX is a more mature device. It’s not quite three years, though. :) It was announced on May 6, 2009.

      I’ve had the problem a couple of times myself, and I haven’t heard from anybody about a solution yet. My guess is that it will happen with the next update.

      I’ll definitely post it here when there is one, of course. You posted your e-mail address in comment, which I removed. First, I automatically get everybody’s e-mail address when they comment. Second, it’s risky to publicly publish your e-mail address. There are spambots that look for those, and then you’d be surprised what you might get…I’ll try to remember to e-mail you separately, but if you watch the blog, you’ll hear about a solution when we get one.

  12. Elizabeth Says:

    - I Just Want To Know How I Can Read A FULL Book. This Upsets Me. That Is The Whole Reason I Bought The Kindle Fire. Can Anyone Tell Me Why?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Elizabeth!

      You should generally be able to read a full book. I haven’t heard about this problem happening in a while: I thought it was fixed with one of the updates.

      What happens when you try to read a book? What keeps you from reading the whole thing? Does this happen with all of the books on your Fire?

      I’m a bit surprised that you bought a Fire if your main purpose is reading…generally, the other Kindles are less expensive and better for that. Now, if you also want to watch video, use apps, see color magazines, and have a better web surfing experience, then the Fire makes sense.

    • Mitch Says:

      I have had the problem a number of times. It is especially irritating if you are reading a downloaded book and shutdown for a while to board a plane then find you cannot resume when you get to altitude. I have talked to support on several occasions to recover and still had the problem return. I also have a constant problem where the percent completed does not update on the bookshelf icon. Please let me know if there is a fix for these problems.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Mitch!

        What system version do you have?

        Settings Gear – More – Device

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