Personal documents are “in with the in cloud”

Personal documents are “in with the in cloud”

Well, I told you I saw this in the source code for the Manage Your Kindle page and I mentioned it was on the product page for the Kindle Keyboard (the Kindle formerly known as the K3).

I’ve been able to test it now…it works. 🙂

What is it?

It’s the ability to store personal documents in your Cloud Drive. Not just put them there, but Amazon will sync them between eligible devices, sync your annotations, and so on.

I haven’t seen an announcement yet…no press release…but after all, they’ve been busy the last day or two.

Is this a big deal?

I think it is.

I’ve already had personal documents in my Amazon Cloud drive, but this is different from just uploading them…thanks to the syncing above.

Not only that, but it appears to be an additional 5GB of Cloud Drive storage.

What happens is that, when you send a personal document to your Kindle using wi-fi, it’s automatically added to your Cloud Drive storage.

As I said, I’ve done it now. It shows up on that


There’s also a

Help Page

There’s nothing much complicated to it, though.

The default setting is that this is active…you can turn it off at Manage Your Kindle, under Personal Document Settings.

It only works with the Mindle (that’s what I’m calling the new $79 Kindle), the Kindle Touch line (not shipped yet), and the Kindle Keyboard (the former K3s).

It doesn’t go to the reader apps.

I can imagine some really interesting uses for this.

For example, somebody could send a story out to other people on the account. The readers could add notes, and sync to the server. That way, the author gets all the notes…right from the Kindle.

It was interesting: I expected to see all kinds of warnings about not uploading copyrighted material if we didn’t own the rights, but I didn’t see anything. Since Amazon is allowing you to make copies, I’m not quite sure why we aren’t warned. Maybe it’s somewhere else…I think it’s in the main Cloud Drive agreement, but I’m guessing this isn’t covered by that. I’m sure Amazon’s thought that part through, though.

I’ll have to play around with this more. I deleted the document I sent to my K3…and it told me I was permanently deleting it. It’s still in my MYK page, but it hasn’t shown up in my Archived Items on that K3 yet. My guess is that it will, but I need to test that.

Still, another step forward into Stratos (five trivia points for that one…I think it’s easy. Remember, trivia points are void if you look up the answer. You have to just know it offhand. Also, trivia points aren’t worth anything…except a sense of geeky self-worth).

Update: I got this e-mail from Amazon when I sent the personal document:

“Dear Kindle Customer, 

As you have recently received personal document(s) on your Kindle, we would like to share information with you about new exciting features related to Kindle Personal Documents service. 

Your personal documents will be stored in your Kindle library. You can download your archived personal documents to your Kindle device(s) conveniently anywhere at any time. Your personal documents will remain in your Kindle library until you delete them. If you don’t want your documents to be stored in your Kindle library you can change your personal documents settings through Manage Your Kindle. 

You can also create notes, highlights and bookmarks on your personal documents and they will be automatically synced along with last page read across various Kindle devices using Amazon’s Whispersync technology. “

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

26 Responses to “Personal documents are “in with the in cloud””

  1. draegi Says:

    So would this work on Gutenberg books?! And is there a way to upload them without converting them from mobi to azw? I haven’t sent many documents to kindle wirelessly before.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, draegi!

      Hypothetically, yes, it should work on books from

      I’m not in a place where I can check right now, but I don’t think it will convert the unprotected MOBI documents to AZW. I’ll try and double-check for you later.

  2. K Myers Says:

    Stratos was the name of a cloud city in a Star Trek eisode. I cannot name the episode, because I did not look it up.

    I ordered a Kindle Fire on Wednesday, using my K3 during a break from my position on a TSA passenger checkpoint.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, K!

      You get five trivia points. 🙂 The ep was called The Cloud Minders, I believe.

      Any insight on Kindles and going through passenger checkpoints? I see the question a lot. I have read the TSA statement on it, but having a comment from a front line person would help. I realize you may not work at a relevant part of the process…

  3. Bob Fry Says:

    Is this much different from Dropbox? I’ve been using Dropbox for over a year, wonderful little app that stores files both on their servers and on your local devices. For Windows, they provide a driver or background service so it’s all seamless, and Dropbox also works on Macs, Linux, iOS, and I assume Android.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Bob!

      I think it’s similar…and I would presume Dropbox has language that tells you not to use it with material to which you do not have the legal rights. It’s different in this case because it syncs your notes and your last page read, presumably. I’d have to check out Dropbox more to know for sure.

  4. Tim Thompson Says:

    Very cool. I sent a document for conversion the other day, so I just resent it and it showed up in my personal document page. Great new feature. Thanks for highlighting it.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tim!

      I agree…this is cool. I suspect it’s the kind of thing that is going to be non that useful most of the time…but it’s going to save me at some point.

  5. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I went and read the help. The key seems to be what they define as a personal document. At first they say it must be a doc of an approved type mailed to your kindle address — this is what you would normally do to convert a doc to kindle format. Later on they discuss sideloading personal documents via the USB port. Two of the doc types they support are .mobi and .azw. Since these are native kindle formats, presumably no conversion is done.

    All this leads me up to suggest that it may be possible to use this to archive/sync books (and other content?) (in .azw or .mobi format) gotten from non-Amazon sources. What do you think?

    If true, this could go a long way to managing/archiving all the content on your kindle in one place.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Yes, I see I didn’t say that clearly enough. I was trying to suggest that with the “copyrighted” material point. Where it gets tricky for Amazon is not just Project Gutenberg, where it is with material in public domain, but what about something from Baen, for example? Wouldn’t want to see Amazon in federal infringement charges…

  6. Roger Knights Says:

    the Mindle (that’s what I’m calling the new $79 Kindle)

    Amazon shouldn’t have assigned an unqualified generic name to a specific model, especially not to one that diverges downward in features from those of the prior “Kindle.”

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Roger!

      They’ve always called the current six inch just “the Kindle”. Very confusing, in my mind. Carmakers at least put a year on the model…

  7. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Baen was exactly what I had in mind (I have tons) it’s mostly non-drm mobi or azw. I don’t get your copyright concerns. Amazon is providing me a backup device. How is that any different than me syncing my kindle content to my PC, or using the MS Smartdrive or Dropbox? I don’t think Amazon has a worry — this ground has already been well covered with the examples I mentioned.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      The issue with copyright concerns is that you are able to download it from the Cloud Drive to a different device, making a new copy…and it’s Amazon that makes that copy.

      If there is an unauthorized, infringing copy of a book in the Kindle store and you’ve already purchased it, Amazon removes it from your archives (but not from your device…not since the Orwell issue). Just because something hasn’t been pursued doesn’t mean it won’t be…if they had us promise we weren’t infringing, that would give them some due diligence defense. I’m guessing Dropbox has some rule like that, but I don’t know.

  8. Edward Boyhan Says:

    All of the example I mentioned have not-infringing copyright verbiage in their terms and conditions or EULAs. Amazon already lets you do this with K4PC. i own many devices, making backups of copyrighted material is long-settled law going back to the early days of copy protection of software (when software’s only protection was copyright). The courts have long held that if I buy something, and download it to a device, I have the right to back it up to as many other devices that I own in keeping with “MY” own sense of what is necessary and prudent. I don’t see any difference here.

    I rather seriously doubt that Amazon (other than putting in place similar verbiage to everyone else) is going to spend an awful lot of time looking at how I use my particular patch of their cloud. They don’t look at any of the stuff I email them via “Send to Kindle” for conversion (almost all of which is copyrighted material).

    The courts have held that intent matters. If I put a bunch of mp3’s on MS Skydrive with the “intent” to share same with my friends that’s one thing, but if I’m using Skydrive as an extension of my personal storage that’s another (and permitted). Further the burden is on the rights holder to prove “bad” intent.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Yes, they do have that sort of verbiage…that’s why I was surprised not to see it prominently with this.

      You making copies for yourself in your home is unlikely to be challenged, as you say.

      A commercial entities making copies for you and distributing? That’s something different….and that’s what the new implementation of the Cloud Drive does.

      Very often, when you go into a copy shop (they still exist), you’ll see language telling you not to copy copyrighted material. If the shop makes the machines available for non-infringing copying of personal material, no problem. If they make it available for infringing use, that’s a problem. They aren’t required to review every item and do a copyright search to prove what the person is doing is legal…they need to do due diligence.

      So, they put up a sign. As long as there is no “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” getting around that, they are fine.

      If a publisher showed that Amazon knowingly or negligently enabled infringement, Amazon could be in trouble…and there are publisher who would looooove to get Amazon in trouble, I would presume.

      I’m just looking for due diligence. Let’s say you have a thousand people on your Kindle account (that’s within the rules). You buy that copyrighted material from Baen…or, let’s say, you illegally strip the DRM (Digital Rights Management) from a book under copyright protection. You let everybody download a copy…and they pay you ten bucks a month to be in the club.

      Amazon is the entity doing the copying and distribution. You uploaded a copy, they distributed 999

      If they have explained to you that you shouldn’t be uploading that stripped copy, then they can say, “Hey, we tried.”

      That’s what I was expecting to see. “Do not use the Cloud Storage for copyrighted material to which you do not own the rights. By using the Cloud Drive, you agree not to use it for infringing purposes. If you are uncertain if something is infringing, consult a copyright attorney.”

  9. Tom Semple Says:

    Looks like it is not completely functional yet. While it stores things you send to in the Personal Documents cloud storage shown in MYK, the ‘Deliver to..’ function there does not let me send it to any of my Kindle devices (including the Kindle I addressed the attachment to), with the exception of my pre-ordered Kindle Fire (I think). So there’s no way to test if syncing and storing of annotations works.

    I did a couple of highlights, they did not show up on with those associated with Kindle Store content.

    I assume when they are finished you’ll be able to send the PD to any Kindle device from MYK, and it will sync reading position and highlights/notes. Not sure if it would appear in Archived Items on each device.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      I’ve had the same experience. I may need to check with Amazon. It also only allows the selection of a Kindle which I do not have yet…I don’t know if that’s the Fire or the Touch.

      I think they probably just haven’t coded the K3s as Kindle Keyboards yet…that’s my guess.

  10. jjhitt Says:

    I tested this by sending a few docs to my K2 and sure enough they appear on the MYK website’s section for Personal Documents. The drop down ‘Actions’ button has only one pick ‘Delete’.

    I know that “Retrieving archived personal documents is currently only supported on Kindle Keyboard, Kindle and Kindle Touch”, but I can’t think of a good business or technical reason why this isn’t available for the older Kindles.

    Why devote storage space to something that can only be deleted?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jhitt!

      I’m thinking they aren’t promoting yet….because it isn’t finished. 🙂

      I believe you should be able to select your Kindle 3 (which is now called a “Kindle Keyboard”). I do have the ability to select one of my future Kindles but I don’t know if it’s the Fire or the Touch.

    • Tom Semple Says:

      They may need to update software on the Kindle to ensure the correct ‘archive vs. delete’ and synching behavior. They should be able to roll that into updates for the apps but K2/DX/K1 don’t have updates planned. There is, however, an update that’s being rolled out for K3, which may well involve this feature.

      Assuming notes/highlights are backed up, they should show up in as well. Otherwise there’s no way to export them.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tom!

        I’ve written them about it…the first answer didn’t answer it, so I’m still pursuing it. 🙂

  11. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I agree — my original point was merely that it appears it will be “technically” possible to archive non-Amazon stuff off of your kindle to AWS. I see nothing to prevent that. There’s just lil ole me and 5 or 6 devices/apps on my account — so I wasn’t sensitive to your example of thousands — gets back to my point about “intent”.

    Anyhoo, I “intend” to make use of this capability to rationalize my Amazon content management (for jus lil ole me ;-)) — probably after I receive my KF.

  12. Woo-hoo! Amazon confirms for me that the Fire will have built-in text-to-speech « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] had called them because the personal documents cloud sync to the Kindle that I wrote about wasn’t working right for […]

  13. Tom Semple Says:

    There are actually a number of changes associated with send-to-kindle functionality, wish I could enumerate (and understand) them all.

    Not sure I like all of the changes.

    For example, as of Sep 28, all Kindle devices you register (or re-register) will share an account specific email address (whereas in the past each had its own). So if you want to send content to only one device, you will have to configure it (on MYK) so that none of the other devices get automatic delivery with that address. Existing, registered Kindle devices can continue to use their assigned email address.

    Also, it looks like the ‘’ addresses are gone, or at least map to So if you don’t ever want 3G delivery, you need to go to MYK and set limit to $0 (which affects all 3G devices I guess). Then if you need or want to send via 3G you have to go to MYK and raise the limit before sending.

    To me it is far more convenient to address each Kindle individually, and I really don’t have any use for an address that is essentially a ‘all my Kindles’ distribution list (I can create my own). I don’t see what we have gained here as users, or even what Amazon has gained, or why they would make this change. True, the ‘’ namespace is filling up as more Kindles are registered, but this is not going to slow it down very much.

    There are some new ‘restrictions’ on use as well (at least, I think they are new). Looks like my ‘subscription’ will be going away, at least in the convenient way it arrives currently (sent via authorized email address direct to my Kindle).

    There’s still no way to ‘Deliver to…’ anything other than my not yet arrived KTouch, and my K3 hasn’t been updated, so for some of this I’ll just have to wait to confirm how it works.

    I trust you’ll be writing an article about it once you’ve had a chance to parse the Help and play with it some.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Yep…I have a half-written article right now. 🙂 Things are just a bit crazy, and that one is going to take some testing and research.

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