Kindle file management I’d like to see
One of the coolest things about being a Kindleer is that Amazon doesn’t limit the number of devices (both hardware Kindles and reader apps) that we can have registered to our accounts.
If you want to do so, you could get a hundred friends and neighbors (or coworkers, or students, and so on) registered to the same account.
You could all read the same Kindle book…for one licensing fee!
Tech writers often seem to miss this, and when people complain that they can’t share Kindle books, I’m reasonably sure they aren’t aware of this (although sometimes, they may want to lend books to people not on their accounts, which is different from sharing…the latter means equal access).
You can’t usually all read them at the same time, if you have a hundred people. Each title has a number of “simultaneous device licenses”, which is how many device on the account are allowed to have a license for the device (typically, have downloaded it) at the same time. Unless it says otherwise on the book’s Amazon product page, that number is six. Some titles have fewer licenses; some are unlimited.
We have four people (and more than ten devices) in two time zones on our account.
However, managing all that can get messy.
When you “buy a book” from the Kindle store (you really buy a license), you choose a device to which it should be downloaded first. If you are buying it from your device, it goes to that device. If you are buying it on a computer, it defaults to the first hardware Kindle listed alphabetically.
After that, you can get the title to another device on the account one of two ways.
You can send the book (to one device at a time) by going to
To do that, you need to know the username and password for the account, or at least be on a computer logged into the account.
The other way is from the device itself. That varies a bit by model. Often, from the homescreen, you use the menu, and choose archives or Cloud. On a Fire, you may see the books in the Carousel, or you may go to Books and tap Cloud.
If you are trying to send a book to a several devices out of, let’s say, ten, that’s clunky.
I do think Amazon is going to considerably improve this, possibly in the next year. They already have Whipsercast for organizations, and I think we’ll get some version of that.
Here’s what I’d like to see.
First, I think there should be three definitions of delivery targets:
- A person, which could cover multiple devices (“Bufo has KF1, Bufo’s Android, Paperwhite 3″ and so on)
- A device
- A group of people and/or devices
A device can be grouped under more than one person.
A person can have more than one device.
A group might be something like “The Kids”, which could include multiple people and/or devices.
Second, each of the categories above can do some of the following (definable at each level):
- Purchase new books from Amazon
- See specific books in the archives
- Download specific books in the archives
- Delete books from a device or person
- Delete books from the account
- Return a purchased book
- Lend a book (when available) to someone not on the account
Obviously, this would need to be easy to do.
One approach would be to have profiles that you assign to a person/device/group. A “Manager” profile might be able to do all of the above. A “protected user” profile might only get the content specified for it, while a “general user” might be able to download books from the archives, but not buy new ones or delete.
I picture these definitions as being managed at that Manage Your Kindle page, but then showing up when a new device is registered (“Whose device is this?” with a dropdown).
When you bought a book from a computer, you’d get a choice of the people/devices/groups you defined…and whether it should be sent now or not.
I think the default would be however you defined it (“Send to Bufo’s Kindle Fire first”).
Then, in the dropdown, you can select a group that should have access to it in the archives (if that’s within their defined restrictions). A popup would then add, “Would you like to send this book now to all of the selected? If not, do you want to specify recipients for now, or just store it in the Cloud?”
That would all be nice.
Amazon certainly isn’t about restricting the number of devices you buy or trying to have you have more than one account…the Kindle FreeTime app shows that.
Once they did have this set up, who would want to move to another company? If you’ve created profiles for one hundred people, you don’t want to have to recreate them if you moved your enterprise (or whatever group it was) to Barnes & Noble.
This is all just a basic proposal: are there are specific powers you think profiles should have? Do you think this is something Amazon will do (or something like it)? How important would it be to you? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.