License and registration

No, you weren’t just pulled over by a cop…and if that didn’t even occur to you, congratulations!  😉

I see quite a bit of confusion about what having a device registered to your account means, and what the “device licenses” are.  I thought it would be worth explaining.

The Account

To buy books from Amazon, you need an account.  Fortunately, the account is automatically created when you buy your first item.  For more information on accounts and ordering, see this page at Amazon.

You can have lots of people on your account: friends, family, coworkers, and so on.  Remember that they’ll all have access to it, and can charge books to your account.  All you have to do is give them your login (e-mail address) and password.  I think it’s important that you have at least one other person on your account, in case something happens to you.


Once you have that account, you then can register a Kindle to it.

  • You can register as many Kindles as you want
  • You can also register iPhones and iPod touches, again, as many as you want
  • A Kindle can only be registered to one account at a time

When a device is registered to your account, it has access to all the Kindle store books bought on that account, even before the new Kindle was registered.  All Kindles can see all the books on the account. 

How do you register a device?


If you didn’t specify that it was a gift, it will probably come registered to your account.  You can check that at .

There are three main ways to register your Kindle:

  1. At that Manage Your Kindle page…you’ll need the 16 digit serial number from the back of the Kindle
  2. From the Kindle itself: Home-Menu-Settings (you’ll need your e-mail address and password…the ones associated with your Amazon account)
  3. When buying a Kindle book, you can choose “Register a new Kindle” in the “Deliver to” box…you’ll need that serial number, and you’ll need to name the Kindle

Notice that anybody who has a Kindle can register it to their own account.  The Kindle can also be deregistered either from the device or from the Manage Your Kindle page.   So, if you lose it, you’d better have that serial number some place so you can report it to the police.

iPhone or iPod touch

First, you download the “Kindle for iPhone App” from The App Store.

Then, you’ll enter your e-mail address (the one associated with your Amazon account) and Amazon account password.  After that, you just tap the Register choice.

More information on using the Kindle for iPhone app is here

Remember, you can register as many devices as you want.  I’ve heard of groups of co-workers getting together on the same account, for example.  If you trust each other, that could work out well. 

Device licenses

Okay, so you have a hundred Kindles/iPhones/iPod touches on your account.  Does that mean you can pay one download price from the Kindle store and read the book on all of them?

Actually, some Kindle books do come with unlimited licenses, so that is possible.  Here’s an example: Alice’s Adventures Underground.

That’s not going to happen with most books, though.  The publisher gets to choose how many “device licenses” they allow.  The most common number is reported to be six.

What does that mean?  A six “device licenses” book means that you can simultaneously have that book on six devices for one download price.

That’s key: when you “buy a book” from the Kindle store, you actually are buying device licenses.  That’s different from when you bought a p-book (paperbook).  There, you basically got one license and the container (the paper and ink).   You couldn’t legally copy it yourself and give it to other people (under most circumstances). 

It’s also important to note that this is six simultaneous licenses, not six licenses ever.  If you have the book on six devices, and you sell one of the Kindles and replace it, you can still put it on the new device (you’ll have to deregister the old one and delete the content, of course).  There’s been some confusion about that over time, but Amazon says this:

“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.”

So, what happens if you want that six-license book on ten devices on your account? You pay for it twice…and you’ll still have two licenses left over.  🙂

How can you tell how many devices licenses you are getting?  It’s right on the product page, in the Product Details…usually.  I think if it isn’t there, you can assume it’s six. 

Summing up: your account can have as many people on it as you want, your account can have as many Kindles/iPhones/iPod touches as you want, and each individual book determines the number of device licenses you get.

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


2 Responses to “License and registration”

  1. Robert Strauss Says:

    I am having trouble connecting to the internet, there is an “X” over the wirerless icon. I have a G router in my house

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Robert?

      What kind of Kindle?

      Have you been able to connect to the internet before on that Kindle?

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