What to do with your old Kindle

What to do with your old Kindle

From what I’m seeing, quite a few people seem to be upgrading from a Kindle 2, or even a Kindle 1, to a Kindle 3.

That begs the question: what do you do with your old Kindle?  If you decide to get rid of it, how should you prepare it?

I’m going to look at the options, then give you the how-tos.

Option 1: Keep it

Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of being without a Kindle…even for a couple of days (which is how long it would take to replace one, if you paid for speedy shipping).  I’ve had a Kindle lost or stolen, but my Significant Other (SO) nicely let me borrow back my old one.  🙂    You could read on a Kindle reader app on your PC or Mac or iPad or iPhone…well, you get the idea.  🙂  I do have an emotional attachment to objects like that, but I also like to see them go to other happy homes.  🙂

Preparation: none, except putting the things you want from the old Kindle on the new Kindle.  More on that later.  Oh, and you’ll probably want to switch your subscriptions so they go to the new device.

Option 2: Give it to someone else on your account

This is what I did with my K1 when I got my K2. 

There are some real advantages to this.  All of the books you bought from the Kindle store will be available to both Kindles.  Books you buy in the future will be available to both Kindles.  If both of you might read the same book, it means you can read them at the same time for one download price.

Preparation: you don’t need to do anything to make the books you’ve previously purchased from the Kindle store available.  They are in the Archived Items on the homescreen on the new Kindle.  People talk about moving them over all at once.  You don’t really need to do that, in my opinion…just download them from the archives as you want them.  If you have other personal files (like pictures or books you got from some other sites) you want, you can copy them to the new device.  Be aware that your subscription items (blogs, magazines, newspapers) won’t transfer automatically to the new Kindle.  You may also want to change the name of your old Kindle to reflect who is using it now.  Be aware that Kindle purchases are made through 1-click: if you want to use separate credit cards, you have to change them through your computer before you make a purchase.  You can also use gift cards: 1-click draws from those before going to the credit card set up for 1-click.

Option 3: Give it to someone not on your account

This one is a little trickier. 

You can’t just hand it to Uncle Joe and say, “Here you go.”  You know how you can buy books with 1-click directly from your Kindle (if you have a Whispernet connection)?  You have to shut that part off, or Uncle Joe will be charging books to your account.

You also might have put personal documents on it, added a password, and changed the personal information.

First, get anything files you want off the device.

Second, delete your Kindle store files.

I know, I know…you’d like to give Uncle Joe copies of the books you bought, but it’s against your Terms of Service with Amazon.  They are very specific about it:

“Remove all purchased material from the Kindle device. Purchased Kindle content cannot be given as a gift..”

Amazon help page

Violating your Terms of Service is potentially a very bad thing.  Amazon could stop letting you buying things from them, for example.

Where it gets strange is when you want to give other books to Uncle Joe, which could certainly be okay (especially with books in the public domain).  When we first got a K1 for our offspring, I put about 200 hundred pd freebies on an SD card to go with it.  That was part of the fun, by the way…it took a lot of work, but was worth it. 

If that’s the case, you can’t just blow out everything on the Kindle.  You’d have to remove the Kindle store files (don’t forget the “associated information” file…it will end with .mdp or .tan).  You’d have to manually remove the personal information, browser history (probably), password…yow!

If you want to give a “clean” Kindle that’s a lot easier.  🙂 

In either case, deregister it.

You’ll also want to redirect your subscriptions (blog, magazines, newspapers).

Option 4: Donate it

This is pretty similar to giving it away to someone you know.  The big difference is that you might want to document your gift, so you can write it off.   Document the “com;s” (comparable prices people are getting for a similarly aged model on Amazon, Craigslist, eBay…that kind of thing).  Kindles have remarkably retained their value…unlike a user computer.  😉 You don’t have to do that, of course…up to you.  You could give it to a retirement community, your public library, a serviceperson overseas, a youth center…there are so many possibilities!  You are definitely going to deregister it in this case.  Again, you have to take Kindle store content off the device.  You might just want to do the factory reset, and then add freebies to it if you want.

Preparation: see immediately above

Option 5: Sell it

You might be able to get enough for your K2 to afford a K3, at least at this point.  Certainly, you can get some money for it.  Just like giving away a Kindle, you have to clear off all the Kindle store content to be in compliance with the Terms of Service. 

One tip on this one: if you are selling it in person, wait to deregister it until you demo it for the buyer.  If it can get on the Whispernet, that proves it is registered.  If it’s registered, it probably isn’t stolen…I think most people know to deregister it right away if it is lost or stolen…at least, I hope so.

I’d say those are the basic choices.  🙂  I suppose you can make modern art or balance the table with it, but I don’t want to hear about those…  😉

How to:

Blow-out the Kindle (clean it entirely at once) (appropriate for giving it or selling it outside your account, although not required)

Don’t do this one unless you are sure.  It’s easy to do, but you can’t recover from it.  If you have personal files on there, they will be gone.  Your personal information will be gone.  You will presumably lose your wi-fi networks, if any (but that’s not going to happen until the Kindle 3s).  You’ll lose your browser history.  On any Kindle except a Kindle 1, it’s Home-Menu-Settings-Menu-Factory reset.  On a K1, you can do Shift+Alt+R, and while it is restarting, hold down the Home key.  You should see a choice to do a reset.

Remove Kindle store content from the Kindle

If all you want to do is remove the Kindle store content, but leave other things (like free books from other sites) on it, you can do it one of two ways.

1. Go to each title in the homescreen, and on any Kindle except a K1, flick left.  You’ll see a choice to remove it from the device.  On a Kindle 1, get to the title in the homescreen, and use the backspace button, again, choosing to remove from device.  If you do that with all the titles from the Kindle store, that will satisfy your Terms of Service.

2. Connect your Kindle to your computer (see this earlier post for a how to).  Go to your Kindle’s documents folder, and delete the Kindle store titles.  This is easier, if you are comfortable with the computer hook-up.  You can delete your notes at the same time, but that’s not required by your Terms of Service.  You probably should delete your MyClippings.txt file

Save content you want from your Kindle

Hook up your Kindle to your computer (see above).  You won’t be able to put any Kindle store content directly on another device and read it, so don’t worry about that.  Move your files to the computer.  I’ve moved my associated files, and just put them on another Kindle…that works fine.  You might want your MyClippings.txt file.  Remember that not all your files are in documents…you might have files in pictures, music, and Audible as well.

Remove personal information

This one is pretty easy: Home-Menu-Settings-Next Page (if necessary)-Personal Data-edit.  While you are here, make sure the password is turned off, if any.  This is not necessary if you do the factory reset.

Deregister the Kindle

While this can be done directly from the Kindle, and I would do that if I was selling it to someone in person, it can also be done at


You’ll see a list of the devices on your account, with a link to Deregister over on your right.  If you deregister the wrong one by mistake, just register it again…no problem.

To deregister from the Kindle itself, Home-Menu-Settings.

Change where your subscriptions go

On the same Manage Your Kindle page above, you’ll see Your Active Kindle Subscriptions (blogs, newspapers, magazines).  You’ll see a column that says “Deliver future editions to” with a dropdown to choose the Kindle you want.

Rename your Kindle

If you are keeping your old Kindle on your account, you may want to rename it.  For example, you might want to rename your new Kindle with the name you use currently for your old Kindle (I’ve done that).  You can change names in the same place you deregistered above.  Just click Edit Info.  You won’t be able to give two different Kindles the same name at the same time.  So, let’s say Hunin is giving his Kindle to Munin, and getting a new one.  Hunin’s Kindle is currently named…”Hunin’s Kindle”.  🙂  Hunin renames that one “Munin’s Kindle”, and then names the new one (which may be saying something like “Hunin’s 2nd Kindle) “Hunin’s Kindle”.

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

17 Responses to “What to do with your old Kindle”

  1. alan church Says:

    when he k is registered to someone else after being dereg. by you, don’t the kindle store purchases start disappearing as soon as the wireless is turned on?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, alan!

      No, the local copies stay on the Kindle. I can’t get Amazon to tell me if it is okay or not, but many people register a Kindle to an account, download the books, deregister it, and then read them at their leisure.

  2. Tom Madsen Says:

    One caveat Bufo: Instead of transfering subscriptions. I usually re-sign up on the new Kindle for a new 2 week free subscription.

    Then sign up, monthly subscriptions I sign up near the end of the month to get 2 magazines.

    Just a thought for the thrifty types like myself. 🙂

  3. yankeeinnormandy Says:

    Very helpful post; I’m considering updating and will give the old one away, in that case. You answered all my questions.

  4. Hanna Briebar Says:

    Hi this really helped!Thank you soo much I figured out how to wipe my important documentations before I gave it to my daughter!P.S. I love your sense of humor (Uncle Joe! LOL!)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Hanna!

      I appreciate you taking the time to let me know, and I’m glad I could help. 🙂

      “That’s Uncle Joe, he’s a movin’ kinda slow…”

  5. Sammie Says:

    Can two different kindle divices with seperate accounts share prograhms,apps,or other items on seperate accounts and share the cost of items or can two kindles share one account? For example if me and a close fried d or relitive share apps or books so we both don’t have to purchace the same books,apps or other prograhms. Also how do I save information

    them and so ad can have more space to save things? Also how do I put information such as name, address

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Sammie!

      The easiest way to think about it is that the books and such belong to the account, not the device.

      One Kindle can not be on two accounts, but there is no limit to the number of Kindles and/or free kindle reading apps that can be registered to the same account.

      Since you are saying “apps”, I’m guessing you are talking about Kindle Fires.

      If you register both Kindle Fires to the same account, you can both use the same apps, e-books, music, and magazines (all from the Kindle store) on both devices…for one purchase price.

      Videos have somewhat different restrictions.

      So, you could have a hundred friends with devices all registered to the same account and all read the same e-book for, say, $9.99.

      However, you couldn’t typically do it at the same time. E-books in the Kindle store, for example, have a limited number of devices on the account that can have a book licensed at the same time. Unless it says otherwise on the book’s Amazon product page, that number is six.

      Let’s say you have seven account on the device, and there are the typical six licenses. You pay $9.99 for the book. Six of the devices download the book. When the seventh goes to download, it will get a message that it can’t do it. However, when one of the first six removes the book and syncs with Amazon, it will be available to that seventh device.

      Lots of Kindles on one account is fine. One Kindle on two accounts is not.

  6. Smocha Says:

    I have a kindle, now I have an ipad ,all my kindle books are on there.I would like to give my original kindle to my daughter in law , and keep the 200 or so books I have purchased. How do I do that? Thank you

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Smocha!

      Assuming the books came from the Kindle store, they will be available to any compatible device registered to that account.

      Giving your Kindle away will not impact your access on your iPad, providing that the iPad and the Kindle were registered to the same account. You can either download the books from the device itself (from the archives/Cloud) or from


  7. randy Says:

    thank you much. It was impossible to get on Amazon tonite and this let me wipe my kindle so I can give it to my neighbor without giving him all my private info and books that a 10 year old doesn’t need. Very simple and easy to follow. Since I already deregistered,, the kid will be a happy puppy that I finally figured it out!

  8. Mark Isero Says:

    I like Option #4: Donate it. The past few years, I’ve been collecting used Kindles (161 so far) and loaning them to students in San Francisco and Oakland. They love reading on a Kindle. More info: http://iserotope.com/kindle-classroom-project

  9. Rubèn Avila Says:

    First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Ruben Avila Zaldivar, I´ve been a teacher for 22 years, I´m from Cuba but I´ve been living in Mexico for 12 years.

    Mexico has been a great place for me. I came from Cuba after facing all the shortages and economical problems we have there. Mexico has been my shelter and I feel I should give something in return.

    As you should know, Mexico is going through a difficult process, and the main cause of this problem are drugs.

    Most of my students are very young and because of their economic situacions the drug cartels usually offer them jobs as drug dealers or even as hitmen (hired killers). I don´t want this to happen and I´d like to give them tools no to be hired by those drug cartels.

    I´m my opinion studying and reading books are the two possible solutions for their problems. Books are an expensive solution for them and also it´s very common that they find a literature that is not appropriate for them.

    I was thinking in a way to motivate them to read good literature and I thought that Kindles would be a good option because it´ll be easier to find appropiate books for them. I also think that using Kindles they´ll have the chance to read the same book so we´ll have the chance to discuss it in class.

    If you know someone interested in donating his/her Kindle please, let me know.

    I´m open to any suggestion from you. I´d like you to guide me or give me advices on how to manage this project. Any suggestion is always welcomed.

    My email is [e-mail address removed for privacy] feel free to contact me for any idea.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Rubèn!

      Kindles could certainly be a good thing for your students.

      I’m more familiar with tax laws in the USA than in the EUM. I bring that up because here, people and organizations can reduce their taxes by donating things like Kindles to qualified non-profit organizations. I’ve done that myself, and Amazon has donated Kindles as well.

      I took a quick look at the Mexican Amazon site


      I didn’t see anything there that suggested Amazon had a special program for schools, but you could navigate it more easily.

      You could also check with


      Good luck!

      to see if they might be able to help you in some way.

      • Rubèn Avila Says:

        Thanks for answering my comment. I´ve already checked that page but it says it´s just for donating ereaders and ebooks to Africa. I´ll keep tryingto get this gift for my students. I hope to find someone who can help me.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Rubèn!

        Well, I do have readers in Mexico…maybe someone will be able to help you help your students.

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