When your Kindle goes to sleep, it displays a picture. A lot of people find them charming, other people don’t like them (Emily Dickinson is noted as especially creepy by some folks).
One of the most frequently asked Kindle questions is how to change the so-called DAP (Dead Author Pictures). Oh, they don’t usually call them that. The most common term used is “screensaver“.
Technically, they aren’t screensavers, because the e-ink screens don’t need saving…not from burn-in, anyway. The problem of an image permanently altering a screen really dates from an earlier generation of technology. True screensavers all have one thing in common: they move. Since the original goal was to keep from having a static image for a long period time, they would keep things moving. The DAPs just sit there.
Oh, e-ink screens can certainly glitch, and may even show an “after image” of something that was displayed previously, but usually just until the next “screen draw”. You can force that with Alt+G.
Back to the question: can you change the images that come with the Kindle, and replace them with your own?
This is one where Kindle 1 owners have an advantage. You can change the sleep mode pictures on the K1. It’s “unsupported”, meaning Amazon won’t help you with it (and doesn’t talk about it). It does not require you to modify the software, though.
The Section 4, Paragraph 3 of the Terms of Service says in part:
“You may not, and you will not encourage, assist or authorize any other person to, modify, reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the Device or the Software, whether in whole or in part, create any derivative works from or of the Software…”
I have read reports of people being told that the screensaver hack would not void the warranty for the device, and that makes some sense to me. However, violating the Terms of Service could hypothetically be worse. Your warranty affects one device: the Terms of Service affect all of your devices. I’ll talk about that more in another post.
Amazon Kindle Community forum member Elizabeth posted a response from Customer Service about a question about the “font hack”, which seems clearly to apply to the screensaver hack as well. It says in part:
—Font Hack & TOS
These, then, are instructions just for the Kindle 1.
Your picture should be a .jpg, .gif, or .png. 600 by 800 is good, and I haven’t heard about it being necessary to convert a color picture to grayscale first, although you could.
1. Connect your Kindle to your computer using the USB cord
2. On your Kindle’s drive, you will see three existing folders (Audible, documents, and music)
3. Create new folder called pictures
4. Create another folder inside that folder and name it what you want (“MyPix”, for example)
5. Put the picture you want to use for your sleep mode picture in that folder. The picture must be a .jpg, .png, or .gif…a .bmp will not work
6. Disconnect your Kindle
7. Go to home on your Kindle
8. Type Alt+Z
9. Your pictures folder should now appear as an entry, like a book
10. Open the book
11. Type Alt+Shift+0 (zero). The picture should now be your only sleep mode picture
I haven’t tested it, but you reportedly can also do one more than one picture the same way. You would open each picture (they would each appear in the home screen), and do Alt+Shift+zero.
You have not deleted the supplied pictures. If you get rid of your folder, you should have them back.
This is a list of the pictures that come with the Kindle that I’ve seen posted by Bruce S. Woodcock on the Amazon Kindle Community forum:
00 – Kindle definition with falling letters
01 – Lazuli Finch, Crimson-Necked Bull-Finch, Grey-Crowned Linnet, Cow-Pen Bird, Evening Grosbeak, Brown Longspur by John James Audubon
02 – Virginia Woolf
03 – Jules Verne
04 – Unknown illuminated medieval manuscript
05 – Janes Austen
06 – Harriet Beecher Stowe
07 – Emily Dickinson
08 – Illustration of constellations Ophiuchus and Hercules (possibly by Johannes Kepler?)
09 – Oscar Wilde [Bufo’s note: I’ve seen people ask what Oscar is holding: my research indicates it is probably a cane and a pair of gloves]
10 – 17th-century Polish astronomers Johannes and Elisabetha Hevelius using a six-foot brass sextant
11 – James Joyce
12 – Mark Twain
13 – After Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Il Guercino, The Samian Sybil, inscribed lower left: Salve Casta / Syon Permv- / Ltaqve Passa / Pvella / Sybilla Samia
14 – John Milton
15 – Lewis Carroll [Bufo’s note: people also ask what Lewis Carroll has: it’s a camera lens, from what I’ve read]
16 – John Steinbeck
17 – Edgar Allan Poe
18 – Erasmus of Rotterdam by Hans Holbein
19 – St. Jerome dans sa cellule by Albrecht Dürer
20 – Portrait of Albert of Brandenburg by Albrecht Dürer
21 – Charlotte Brontë
22 – Villa Almerico-Capra (aka Villa Capra, Villa La Rotonda, or The Rotunda) by Andrea Palladio
23 – Agatha Christie
24 – Alexandre Dumas
25 – Kindle 2 feedback request with old adding machine
One reason people have raised for wanting different sleep mode pictures is a concern about a perceived lack of diversity in the authors.
At this point, the pictures all appear to be in the public domain (not under copyright protection), and that does limit the options. However, there certainly could be pictures of Lao Tse, for example: there are many images of him (some somewhat fanciful), and he is a popular author in the Kindle store.
There is some diversity in the pictures now. Oscar Wilde was gay, and Alexandre Dumas had a grandparent of partial African descent.
My intuition is that we’ll eventually be given the opportunity to buy sets of sleep mode pictures: maybe a dollar for a hundred (public domain) science fiction pictures, or Western images, or romances…that kind of thing. I think we will eventually see licensed images as well: maybe buy a set of books of a famous contemporary author, and get a sleep mode image of that author as well.
It wouldn’t surprise me if they also give us a legitimate way to change the sleep mode pictures on the Kindle 2, Kindle DX, and future models as well. People really like their pictures: and after all, a picture is worth a thousand words… :)
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.