Psst! Pass it on…making sure your kids get your Kindle books

“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”

–Henry David Thoreau,  Walden

Sometimes, when I have bought a book, I’ve actually thought about passing it on in my will.   With paperbooks (p-books), I feel like the caretaker.  If I buy a rare volume, especially one that’s rare because almost nobody would want it and it isn’t worth anything at an auction, I feel a responsibility for it.

What about books from the Kindle store?

You could spend tens of thousands of dollars on k-books…and that’s just in one year.  🙂

When you do pass on, are they going to look at your account at Amazon as an asset of the estate?

I don’t know.

However, whether they can figure that out or not when the time comes, there is something you can do now to make sure your e-books are available to your heirs.

Put someone else in your family on your account.  All you have to do is give them your e-mail and password. 

Of course, that does mean that they can use your account: buy things, change the credit card on the account, and so on.

They don’t have to have a Kindle for you to do this, but registering more than one Kindle on the same account is a great way to go (again, as long as you are all comfortable with that).  That way, you can typically all read the same books (most commonly, up to six devices on the same account) for one purchase price. 

Doing this is a nice smooth transition.  If you’ve already bought books, those are available to a new Kindle you add (again, as long as you haven’t used up the device licenses).  

If one of you passes on, the account simply continues as it is. 

Alternatively, if you don’t want someone on the account now, you could leave the password and e-mail address information to someone in the event of your death.

Now, I have to be really clear: I am not a lawyer, and you may want to check this information with an estate attorney. 

However, I’m very confident about being able to put other people on your account while you are alive. 

There are two other things I need to address.

Using up your licenses

There was a rumor some time back that you could run out of device licenses.  The idea was that if you had six device licenses, it was six ever.  That would mean that, once you’d put that book on six devices, you couldn’t put it on another one, even if the device died.

Amazon has made it clear that isn’t the case.  They address it here

“If you reach the device limit and wish to replace one of your current devices with a new one, you must first deregister and delete the content from the device you wish to replace before you can access the content in question from your new device.”

What if the Kindle format becomes obsolete?

Some people figure that if the Kindle ever becomes obsolete, they’ll lose access to their books…sort of like those 8-tracks or 5 1/4″ floppies in the garage.

A big difference is that we are talking about a software format here, not a hardware format. You don’t have to have something with the right-size sprocket holes: you just need to have a software interpreter and a way to get through the DRM (Digital Rights Management)

The Copyright Office has said that it would be legal to circumvent (“hack”) the DRM in the event that a format became obsolete (albeit in pretty specific circumstances, and not specifically yet on e-books, to my knowledge). I’m confident that if the Kindle format was no longer commercially available, we’d be able to legally and easily access our books in short order. That’s just my opinion, but I think the “public good” argument would be quite strong for what might be millions of personal libraries at that point. I also think it’s unilkely to happen in the near future. If Amazon went under (and I don’t expect that to happen), I think someone would either make the format commercially available again, or we would simply be allowed legal access.

Now, that wouldn’t mean we would have access to our archives at Amazon necessarily. If you back up your own copies of the books (and I recommend that…just drag a copy of your Kindle’s documents folder to your computer periodically), I’m talking about those.

So, hopefully, you won’t need this advice any time soon, but if you do, I want it to be one fewer worry for you and your family.

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

2 Responses to “Psst! Pass it on…making sure your kids get your Kindle books”

  1. My February 5th interview on The Kindle Chronicles: the annotations | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Psst! Pass it on…making sure your kids get your Kindle books […]

  2. 10 years of ILMK! Free books! Amazon gift certificate giveaway! All to thank you! | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Psst! Pass it on…making sure your kids get your Kindle books […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: