Reading the Kindle Paperwhite User’s Guide

Reading the Kindle Paperwhite User’s Guide

You know when there’s a series of books, and you just can’t wait for the next one to come out? That’s how I feel about Kindle User’s Guides. There’s that thrill of seeing which features will be mentioned and won’t, the rock solid density of reading those legal notices, and the head-scratching moments like having to tell people not to dry their Kindles in a microwave. 🙂

Well, the wait is over…the User’s Guide for the Kindle Paperwhite is now here!

So, now, as you may be frequently told to do on the internet, you can RTFM…you know, Read The Free Manual. Wait, that’s what the “F” is for, right? 😉

Well, I did just that yesterday…while driving. Don’t worry, it was safe. I downloaded the file as a pdf, e-mailed it to my Kindle Fire HD with the word “convert” in the subject line, and had the Ivona TTS (text-to-speech) software read it out loud to me through my car’s sound system.

I continue to be impressed with Ivona. Not only is it smoother and more natural sounding than Nuance’s Vocalizer (on the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Touch), it handles punctuation better. I was blown away when the author (Benjamin Mee) of We Bought a Zoo used ellipses to indicate…someone…was…speaking…slowly, and Ivona actually had the gaps between the words. It’s not perfect; chapter titles are still an issue, but it is much better.

There were some things that stood out that I want to share with you, but a couple of caveats first. User’s Guides change over time…this one could be updated even before people have the Paperwhites in their hands (on Monday). Second, many things that the Paperwhite does won’t be covered in the User’s Guide…what geeks like me call “undocumented features”. Third, there may be things in the User’s Guide that suggest something might happen, but it doesn’t ever. For example, it may list certain countries just as a precaution, and then it may not go on sale in those countries.

That said, here are some interesting points (some of this we knew already):

  • The power button is on the bottom edge, which hasn’t been everybody’s favorite place
  • The AC adapter is sold separately…charging shouldn’t take four hours, but could in some situations
  • The power light will change colors as it charges (amber to green)…the KFHD doesn’t have a power light
  • You’ll be able to change the keyboard on the fly for different languages…that’s nice. There will be a globe button on the keyboard if you have more than one language, and you can use that to switch
  • The previous page tap zone is only on the left side…that may be a problem for left handers; you can swipe instead of tap, though
  • The brightness button appears in the main toolbar…it will be easily accessible
  • Wikipedia look up is available
  • “List” or “cover” views on the homescreen are mentioned as options…we may be able to see the covers of the books there
  • The “About the Author” option is mentioned in books…but it will only be available for “books that support the author profile”. This may encourage authors to create Amazon Author Central pages (here’s mine). That’s a good thing: I like having the forum there for my readers
  • Line spacing and margins will be adjustable
  • In some cases, you’ll be able to switch to the “publisher font”
  • The toolbar when reading a periodical will appear on the top, with the main toolbar; I think it’s smart that they are putting the controls all in the same place
  • It says flat out that wi-fi is faster than 3G
  • Their discussion of switching from 3G to wi-fi seemed confusing this time…like it might not switch to wi-fi if the 3G signal is stronger. They say: “Your Kindle automatically turns off 3G when you connect using Wi-Fi with better signal strength.” I thought in the past it switched to wi-fi every time when available, regardless of comparable signal strength, but that might have been wrong
  • One of the clear indicators that the Paperwhite will be sold in multiple countries was this one: “Note that Special Offers and Sponsored Screensavers are not available in all countries”
  • There will be recommendations when you are in “cover view”: “When in Cover View, your Kindle Home screen displays recommended content from the Kindle Store, such as Editors’ Picks”. We have a change coming that will enable people to turn that off on the KFHD…don’t know about the Paperwhite
  • They mentioned blogs…yay! I always worry they are going to cut that off at some point
  • This one might be confusing: “You can also synchronize your Kindle device so that purchases within Kindle apps are available to you” I think they are talking about being able to read a book that you bought while using, say, Kindle for PC on your Kindle…not about “in-app purchases” like power-ups and music in an Android app
  • They now refer to the archives as the “Cloud”, like they do on the Fire
  • Another possible confusion: “Your Kindle can store thousands of digital books, personal documents, newspapers, blogs, magazines, and active content”…can it store thousands of e-books? Can it store thousands of magazines? I’d doubt the latter, since they tend to be big. I think they mean the items can combine to be thousands…but some of them would need to be small to make that happen
  • You can sort and filter your Cloud items…filters now include Active Content
  • They have an “x/y” button so you can jump to page “3 of 10” on the homescreen, or by letter. We’ve always had the ability to jump, but I don’t think x/y is going to be clear to people…a bit math geeky, don’t you think?
  • Book description is mentioned as an option, but that doesn’t mean the book descriptions are stored locally…we’ve also had that “book description” for a while
  • Yes, you can create Collections
  • Periodicals and blogs still can not be put into Collections. I think that’s because each time they download, their names (as far as the Kindle is concerned) change
  • This statement appears to need to be corrected: “Note that files transferred to your Kindle using the USB cable will display the option “Delete This Document” and will be permanently deleted unless you have enabled archiving on the Manage Your Kindle page.” Whether you’ve enabled archiving or not, I don’t think your Kindle server is going to back up a file you’ve transferred via USB (as opposed to e-mailing it to your Kindle using the Personal Document Service. It would be possible for Amazon to survey your device for added documents, but they’d get a lot of pushback on that, and I don’t think it’s going to happen
  • They push this site,, a lot. Interestingly, it actually takes you to a UK page,, which then lets you pick a country (including India). It looks nice
  • The periodical situation is the same…you get the “rolling seven”. Amazon keeps the current issue and six back issues for you. You can choose to keep any issue you want, but you are responsible for storing it
  • You can change the number of pages for the page refresh (changing how often you get the flash)
  • Kindle Panel View is available for comics and manga (and they carefully list those separately)
  • You can pan tables (move left and right in them)
  • You can pan and zoom some things
  • Pinch and spread will work
  • There will be a Dictionaries Collection in the Cloud…might this eventually mean user-created Collections in the Cloud?
  • We will have translation (of individual words) and reporting errors from within the book
  • My Clippings will appear on the homescreen
  • X-Ray will be available, as will information from both Wikipedia and Shelfari
  • Reading Time will figure out how long it will take you based on your reading speed to finish a chapter or the book. Note that this estimate of your reading speed is stored locally…if your Kindle is replaced, the new one will have to relearn your reading speed. I think they might have been worried that people thought it was an invasion of privacy if your reading speed was known by Amazon
  • You can set an access password for the whole device. They say that if you forget it, you have to contact Customer Service
  • You will be able to set “parental controls” for the web, the Kindle store, and/or the Cloud
  • You can manually set the time, even on a 3G Paperwhite
  • Formats: “You can send Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX), PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC, and MOBI files to your Kindle and read them in Kindle format. You can add notes, highlights, and bookmarks, which are synchronized across devices along with the last page you read via our Whispersync technology. Synchronization of notes, highlights, bookmarks, and last page read is available only for personal documents archived in Kindle format. You can also read documents in PDF and TXT format natively.” That looks like no MOBI without conversion, but we’ll need to test that
  • Twitter and Facebook integration is available
  • For the browser: “Your Kindle includes a web browser that enables you to surf the web and view most Amazon web pages. Web Browser supports JavaScript, SSL, and cookies, but does not support media plug-ins. You must have a Wi-Fi connection to access most websites.” So, even with a 3G device, you probably will need a wi-fi connection to get to your favorite non-Amazon/non-Wikipedia sites
  • You can pinch and spread on websites
  • Article viewing mode is available
  • Downloading files from websites has a different list of formats than the above: “Supported file types for download include Kindle content (.AZW, .AZW1, AZW2, and AZW3), unprotected Mobipocket books (.MOBI, .PRC), and text files (.TXT).”
  • They give you instructions for drying out a Kindle, and talk about repetitive stress injuries
  • I love this line: “If you are in an area where using your Kindle while operating a vehicle is allowed, always give full attention to the operation of the vehicle and stop using your Kindle if it becomes a distraction.”
  • There is a statement about conformity with Canadian regulations
  • Memory: “Storage — 2GB internal storage, with approximately 1GB available to the user”

This table on warrantys suggests that you may be able to purchase it in China and Japan:


If you purchased your Device: This Warranty is provided by:
or from authorized resellers located
in Europe
Amazon EU S.à.r.l., 5 rue Plaetis, L-2338,
From, Inc., 410 Terry Ave. North,
Seattle, WA 98109-5210, United States
From authorized resellers located
in India
Amazon Seller Services Private Limited, having
a registered address of 201, Midford House, Off
M.G.Road, Bangalore 560 001, India
From or from
authorized resellers located in Japan International Sales, Inc., 410 Terry Ave.
North, Seattle, WA 98109-5210, United States
From or from authorized
resellers located in the People’s
Republic of China
Amazon Joyo Co. Ltd., 26F, Bldg A, Ocean
International Center, No. 56 East 4th Ring Road,
Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
From any other Amazon website or
from authorized resellers located in
other countries
Amazon Fulfillment Services, Inc., 410 Terry Ave.
North, Seattle, WA 98109-5210, United States


Again, any of this could change, but it was an interesting read…but technical manuals always are, right? 😉

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


16 Responses to “Reading the Kindle Paperwhite User’s Guide”

  1. Mary Says:

    Bufo, I’m another one who likes reading manuals to find out about features which I may never have known about otherwise. So, yes, I have read the Paperwhite manual in advance of my shipment. It was pretty quick to read since so much of it is like the Touch other than the interesting new features added to the menu bars. I can hardly wait for October 3 which is my estimated date of arrival, as I want to see how it affects my eyes while reading in bed. Currently, I read on the Touch in the daytime and use the Kindle app on the iPad at night. The iPad rests on a stand atop kind of a beanbag cushion so I’m not actually holding it, and the weight factor is not as much of an issue as you might think. Still, it would be nice to go to something smaller and lighter.

  2. draegi Says:

    I hope the mobi discrepancy is just to avoid confusion about protected mobi files being natively viewable – about half of my library is made up of mobi files from one source or another, I tend to like them better than pdfs because they allow for line flow and changing font size, and better than txt files because they allow for a toc, and pictures. It would be a real pain to have to convert all the files to something else!

  3. Tom Semple Says:

    Kind of odd that they don’t have pictures of the Home screen UI, particularly how things lay out along the top.

    Of the new features, I like it that they have moved Aa/Go To/XRay to the top of the screen with the menu/search box. Since you have to tap at the top to bring up menus/options. this places everything right where your finger already is poised. On KT, one is constantly tapping at the top then having to go to the bottom to find the Xray or Go To button or whatever.

    I hope they have added Recent sort to Archived Items (now Cloud) to bring it into alignment with Kindle apps.

    It’s always puzzled me why they don’t allow PDF download with the browser.

    KPW seems very much like Kindle Touch, with a handful of enhancements. I hope most of these get backported to KT, though I’m not sure what fate has in store for my KT once my KPW arrives.

    Strange that there have not been any reviews yet (apart from the early ‘hands-on’ ones).

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, tom!

      I assume that the issue with PDF downloads is because of the size…that may have been established when 3G was the only option, but a PDF can be many times the size of other file types they do allow.

  4. rogerknights Says:

    Good job. The manual should have a section titled “Highlights” in which the points-of-interest that Bufo brought out are summarized. It should also “flag” new features (e.g., with “NEW”) within the main text body.

    “You know when there’s a series of books, and you just can’t wait for the next one to come out? That’s how I feel about Kindle User’s Guides.”

    The manual I’m looking forward to, within a week or so, is the one for the K3, or KBD, model, that will go with the release of the WiFi update to the 3.4 OS. It will be the 6th edition. I want to see if it fixes the following errors, which (among others, mostly small “infelicities”) I’ve been repeatedly and fruitlessly bringing to Amazon’s attention since edition 1:

    “… press the desired letter key like you do on your computer keyboard.”
    (This like-for-as error occurs four times, on pages 22, 29, 49, and 65.)

    “This allows you search for a word or a combination of words inside the currently opened …” (p. 58)
    (Missing word “to”)

  5. rogerknights Says:

    PS: You can download the User Guide to your Kindle from this location on the Amazon site:

    This page is far harder to locate than it used to be. And Amazon no longer sends the Kindle version (AZW format) of the Guide to users wirelessly. It only downloads it to their computers, requiring users to move it to their Kindles by e-mailing it to themselves at (Why?)

    • Mary Says:

      I found the most recent KK manual upgrade in Manage your Kindle and sent it to the KK via wi-fi. I did not have to e-mail it to myself. Actually I sent it via wi-fi to the Touch first so that I could look at it and see which Kindle it was the manual for; later sent it to the KK. It would be helpful if the title mentioned which Kindle it applies to.

      • rogerknights Says:

        Hi Mary,

        I just went and did that, and it works, but only because I already have the 5th edition installed on my Kindle and thus in my library! Here are the gruesome details:

        Within the Kindle section of Amazon, I searched for “Kindle documentation” and this page came up:

        It stated:

        “Kindle Documentation
        You can update the Kindle User’s Guide on your Kindle by downloading the most recent update from the links above and copying it to your Kindle using the USB connection.”

        Nothing about wireless downloading. I clicked the “Kindle Documentation” link above and found a link whose text field read “Kindle User’s Guide (AZW)” and whose URL was

        I clicked on it and it downloaded the Guide to my Mac-Desktop, not to my Kindle. There’s no option to do that, the way there used to be.

        In the left-hand sidebar on the Manage Your Kindle page there are three links, as shown below, but the link that used to exist to the User’s Guide is missing:

        Kindle Support
        Kindle Help Home
        Kindle Help Forum
        Getting Started Guide

        I clicked on the Getting Started Guide link and it brought up a page whose sidebar contained a link to “Download a User Guide”. I clicked it but it just took me back to the page above, which downloads only to one’s computer.

        On the Manage Your Kindle page I searched my library for “User’s Guide.” This brought up the Guide that I’d previously moved to my Kindle by e-mailing it to myself after it had been downloaded to my computer. Under Actions available, one of the options was to Deliver to my Kindle. Great! Now that I’ve got it already, they’re willing to WiFi it to me! Catch-22.

      • Mary Says:

        Roger, that is hilarious! Glad you finally prevailed.

    • rogerknights Says:

      Glad you liked it, Mary. It’s funny the way Dilbert is funny.

      Incidentally, if anyone from Amazon would like to check out the usage errors & infelicities I found in the 5th ed. of its KBD User’s Guide, I’ve posted it online here:

      It would be nice if those fixes made it into the 6th ed. rather than having to wait another year for the next edition.

      • rogerknights Says:

        Here’s a link to a slightly updated version of my errors-to-be-fixed list. paper of mine listing the fixes that should be applied. Its introductory material describes the failure of Amazon to take notice of the bloopers I pointed out to it, eight months later.

        One flub that particularly irked me was Amazon‘s failure to correct its Guide’s implication that the Shift and Alt keys must be pressed concurrently with the keys they modify. That’s not true—they are “persistent” keys that can be pressed beforehand. One blog commenter to whom I revealed this was amazed and grateful to know that fact, because he suffered from arthritis and had been having difficulty pressing the two keys at the same time.

  6. Bubba from NC Says:

    Just received the paperweight — can’t get it to move between screens, and can’t get enough information to figure out how to get it replaced at!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Bubba!

      When you say you can’t get it to move between screens, were you able to wake it up?

      Start out with plugging it in (it may not be charged much), and push and release the button on the bottom of edge (under where it says Kindle).

      Then, swipe the screen: put your finger on the screen lightly towards one edge, and slide your finger towards the opposite edge.

      You should then be seeing the home screen; you’ll see it saying Cloud|Device in your top left corner.

      Have you gotten that far?

      You can contact Kindle Support starting at

      You’ll see a

      Contact Us

      button there.

      Let me know what happens…I’ll be thinking about it.

  7. Jackie Says:

    I’ve forgotten my password, how do I get to reset it?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jackie!

      Is your concern a password that you put on your Paperwhite?

      If so, here’s the information on that:

      Reset Your Kindle Paperwhite

      Realize that if you reset it in this manner, you will lose anything you have put on the device. If you got the item from Amazon for this Paperwhite, you should be able to download it again.

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