Key Kindle concepts #1
Those tend to be step-by-step Kindle instructions (especially the former).
As an educator, though, I’ve always found that the big picture is the most important thing.
I thought I’d take this post and give you some of the main ideas…the key Kindle concepts…that will give you a better idea what’s happening when you do follow those step-by-steps.
Local versus Networked
This is something that we didn’t have when we were reading paperbooks. The Kindle is a receiving/transmitting device. There are things that are on the Kindle…and then things you get by connecting to Amazon’s servers (and other places, sometimes).
When you download a book to the Kindle, geeks like me say you have a “local” copy.
Once your local copy is on your Kindle, you do not need to be connected to the internet or to Amazon to read it.
Let’s go through this a bit.
When you are shopping in the Kindle store, the bookfiles start out on Amazon’s server. When you buy it, you specify a device to which Amazon should send it. It downloads to that device. You now have that local copy. What is locally on your Kindle is shown on your Kindle’s homescreen.
The local copy is entirely on your Kindle. You can read it while not connected to the wireless.
Amazon also puts a copy in your archives, which are Amazons servers. That copy is available for download to any of the devices on your account (until you reach the simultaneous device license limit…that’s usually six).
To make it so it isn’t confusing about what’s locally on your Kindle and what’s being store for you by Amazon, the list of things in your Archives that shows on your device doesn’t also show things that are in your homescreen.
So, the file is stored on Amazon’s servers in your Archives. What does your Kindle have to do to get it? Connect to the server (Home-Menu-Sync & Check for Items).
Your Kindle also doesn’t know what is in the archives unless it connects to the server. If your Kindle does a restart, it may forget what was in the server…you have to connect and sync again before it knows.
You can also use an internet-connected computer to get to the Amazon servers. If you download a file to your computer, you can “sideload” it to your Kindle (transfer it to the Kindle using the included USB cable).
Done locally: reading a book; storing your annotations (notes, bookmarks, highlights); and storing your Collections.
Collections and annotations and last page read information are also backed up to Amazon’s servers (although you can opt out of that), but you don’t need to connect to the servers to have them.
Done by connecting to the servers/internet: getting books from your archives; downloading books (and other content, like blogs and newspapers) from the Kindle store; sending information from one device on your account to another (like the last page read information if you are using Whispersync); visiting websites; and getting software updates from Amazon.
The books belong to the account
I see a lot of confusion about this one. When you buy a book in the Kindle store, it belongs to that account…not to a person, and not to a device. That may sound funny, but it’s important.
When a Kindle is deregistered from an account, it doesn’t “own” the books any more. It can’t download them again from Amazon’s servers. If there is a local copy (see above) it will keep that…but basically because Amazon presumably doesn’t know it’s there. :) Your Terms of Service with Amazon say that you must delete Kindle store content from a Kindle before giving it or selling it to someone not on your account.
However, it’s also important that it doesn’t belong to an individual person. I’ve written before about how to ensure that your Kindle library is inherited. All you have to do is make sure that someone in the next generation knows how to access your account. I always recommend that you give a trusted person your username and password. That could be a family member or a lawyer, for example. If you have access to an account and then someone else on it changes the password, Amazon is not going to give you access to the books on another account. You might be able to argue about it in court somewhere, but if you don’t know the password to the account and your device isn’t registered to it, Amazon doesn’t give you access to the books.
The publishers are responsible for the books
Generally, Amazon doesn’t produce the books you buy from the Kindle store. The books are produced by the publishers, and sent to Amazon. If there are typos, Amazon didn’t put them there. If it’s a bad translation, Amazon didn’t do it.
Amazon can’t even put the books in the store…that’s up to the rightsholder. It isn’t Amazon’s fault the that the fourth book in a series isn’t available when 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 are.
Amazon does rarely remove a book from the store. One reason why they may do that is if the book is poorly formatted. Amazon may ask the publisher to fix it if they get complaints. Amazon isn’t, though, allowed to fix the mistakes itself.
Amazon does quite a bit to protect us from poorly-formatted books.
You can download a free sample before buying
You can “return” a book within seven days of purchase for a return
It is worth noting that Amazon does publish some books through its AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing divisions.
Those are a few of the big picture ideas. Hopefully, that gives a better sense of the “why” behind the things you do with your Kindle.
Disagree with me about these concepts? Have other things where you just don’t understand why it is the way it is? Feel free to leave me a comment.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.