Flash! KCS: you do not have to deregister to release a license!

Flash! KCS: you do not have to deregister to release a license!

This is huge, huge, HUGE!

Sean C., of Kindle Customer Service, has just confirmed in this

Amazon thread

that you do not need to deregister a device to release a license…woo hoo!

Whoops, slow down there, Bufo…tell the people what that means.  😉

Deep breath.  Okay, when you buy a book from the Kindle store, you are actually buying licenses to read that book.  How many licenses is set by the publisher, but unless it says otherwise on the book’s Amazon product page, that number is six.  Some titles are fewer (I’ve seen books with one license, but that’s rare), some are unlimited.

So, if you get a book with six device licenses, you can put it on (for example): 2 Kindles, an iPad, an iPhone, and 2 Kindle for PC applications.

They do all have to be on the same account, though.

What happens if you want to put that six-device license book on a seventh device?

In the past, Amazon had said you had to delete the content and deregister the device. 

That worked fine if you wanted to upgrade to a new version of the Kindle, or if you sold a Kindle or had it lost or stolen (or it failed).


We can now read Kindle books on a bunch of device types:

  • Kindles
  • PCs
  • Macs
  • iPads
  • iPhones
  • iPod touches
  • Blackberrys
  • Android devices

A family of four could easily shoot past six devices, even if they weren’t all reading the book at the same time.

It would have been awkward to have to delete the content and deregister the device to free up the license.

Now, we have confirmation that isn’t necessary!

That has some other very important applications. 

One is the classroom.  Let’s say a teacher has thirty students in a class.  The school assigns a book, and the students all have Kindles borrowed from the school (and/or the school has the Kindle reader app on school computers, including laptops the students take home).

The school buys the book…let’s say they pay $10 for it, and it has six device licenses.

They put it on the teacher’s computer, and five student-available devices.

So far, great…they’ve saved a lot of money.  It only cost them about $1.66 per device.

Having to deregister the devices would be a bear, though, for the next set of six students.  Oh, mechanically it isn’t that hard, but it does confuse things.

Now, as the students complete the book, they remove it from the device they have and sync.  It’s like they read a copy of a paperbook and then bring it back for someone else to borrow.  If the class only has one account available, it will take a while for all of the students to have read the book that way, but if they had two accounts, it wouldn’t be that bad.  Let’s see: eleven students the first time, twelve students the second time…give them two weeks to read the book…everybody has read it within six weeks, at a cost of $19.98 divided by thirty…sixty-seven cents per student.  They don’t have to buy it again for the next class, either, and the books aren’t damaged or lost.

That’s really big!

Now, another option would be to just keep loaning out the same six Kindles…but the students might be using the Kindles for several classes.

Also, hypothetically, you could now have twenty co-workers registered to the same account.  You’d have to take turns reading some books, but that could be an amazing savings! 

Before you ask, Kindles can only be registered to one account at a time.  Being in a Kindle Kooperative (as I’ve previously called it) takes some planning, because of the finances.  I’ve asked Kindle legal about who you could have on an account, but I haven’t heard back on that. 

Still, this is a big relief.  It does mean I’ll have to go back and update some of my other posts, though.  🙂

I want to give a special shout-out to Thomas Palmer on this.  He mentioned how he had tested this method when he was helping someone with a question in

this Amazon thread

 I’ve been reading Thomas’ contributions for some time in the Amazon Kindle community: the posts are always clear, well-reasoned, and often documented.

We have sharply disagreed on some issues 😉 , but not in an ad hominem or uncivil way.

I would not have asked Kindle Customer Service this question at this time if Thomas had not taken the time and made the effort to post this, just to help someone.

Thanks, Thomas!

Don’t worry, Thomas, I’m sure we’ll publicly disagree on something else in the future.  😉 

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

2 Responses to “Flash! KCS: you do not have to deregister to release a license!”

  1. Dragi "Bonzi" Raos Says:

    Yes, Bufo, Thomas tested this some three months ago, as soon as the idea popped up in a discussion. But, if you think about it, Amazon was always saying that one can have any number of devices/program registered to one account, and that those 6 licenses is the number of copies being on devices or programs *simultaneously*. I think that the way they implemented this is the only sensible way to make it work as described.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Dragi!

      It’s different from what they used to say, though. They do change things from time to time, and this is one of them, apparently. I think it’s good…

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