Understanding Cloud Collections

Understanding Cloud Collections

Amazon has recently updated both the current generation of Kindle Fires (the Kindle HDX models and the new Kindle HD, the $139 model) and the Kindle Paperwhite (second generation) to include a feature called Cloud Collections (it may be coming to other models as well.

First, I’m going to go over what Collections are, and then explain how this works. There has been quite a bit of confusion about it, and some disappointed people. As to the latter point, I think in some ways it is again an example of Amazon not naming something clearly…I do see that as one of Amazon’s few serious deficits. Naming the tablet (Fire) line “Kindles” caused a lot of problems in the beginning, with people wondering why the new “Kindles” were hard to read outside in bright light, or talking about “upgrading” from a Kindle 3 to a Kindle Fire (when they really aren’t the same type of device serving the same purpose). They’ve notoriously named several things just a “Kindle”, from the 2007 model to the current entry level one (which I call a “Mindle”).

Collections are organizational structures for your content. They are not like folders on a PC or a Mac, because they do not actually contain the files. You simply “tag” the files as belonging to a certain classification, and then you can locate the files by looking at that classification.

Deleting the classification (Collection) does not delete the files which are associated with it.

If you think of a file folder with papers in it, and you through out the folder, you would also throw out the papers…that’s how a folder on a PC works.

Think of a Collection as a listing. You have a list of books you’ve read this year on your computer (maybe in an Excel file). If you delete the Excel file, you don’t delete the books. The difference is that the Collection has a link that enables you to open the book, but it is really just a link. Getting rid of the link does not get rid of the book.

Until these updates, we created Collections on a single device, and that Collection only applied to that device. I could have a “To Be Read” Collection on my Kindle, and my Significant Other could have a “To Be Read” Collection on theirs, and there was no confusion.

We could, however, import Collections from one device to another. When we did that, we copied the classification structure from Kindle A to Kindle B.

Again, it didn’t move any of the actual content…just the instructions for which lists should have it.

That’s still the way it works on devices without Cloud Collections. On my Mindle, I do

Home – Menu – View Archived Items (called “the Cloud” on some devices) – Add Other Device Collections

Then, if I was connected to wi-fi, it would show me devices which had Collections.  That includes devices which have been deregistered. It does include a Kindle for PC installation. I could choose to add Collections from a particular device, but I didn’t get a choice as to which Collections would be added.

If I had e-books on my device which were already in a Collection as defined by that other device, they would be added to the Collection on this device.

Let’s say I’m working with Kindle A.

I import the Collections from Kindle B.

Alice in Wonderland was in a Collection (“Classics”, perhaps) on Kindle B, and the Alice i Wonderland e-b0ok is on Kindle A.

Alice in Wonderland would now be in the Classics Collection on Kindle A.

Note that you had to have the e-books on your device before importing the Collections for this to work.

That’s the way it used to be.

I don’t think a lot of people found that to be convenient.

What people wanted was for the books in their archives/Cloud to be in Collections…so they could choose a book to read more easily, for one thing, without it being stored on their device.

That’s one reason people kept thousands of books on the device (as opposed to in the Cloud/archives). There was no organization in the Cloud/archives.

I usually only keep about ten Kindle store books on any of my devices…so I don’t use Collections that much.

I generally remember what the books are called, and what they are about. That may have some connection to my having been a brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, but I think it’s just sort of how my brain works. 🙂

Now, we have Cloud Collections, and those are very different.

Here’s the key thing first: even though they are called “Cloud Collections”, they do not show at


That may change at some point, but they aren’t there now.

What happens is that you can now see all of the Collections from any of your devices on each of your devices. On my Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers, I see Collections that I’ve created on other devices…even deregistered devices.

I can add titles to those Collections from the Fire…and if I do, they will also show on my  new Kindle Paperwhite.

Cloud Collections do not belong to any individual device: they belong to all of the devices.

As soon as I added a Collection on my Fire, it appeared on the Paperwhite. I had both of them connected via wi-fi, of course.

If I delete a Cloud Collection on one device, it is deleted on all of the devices (they do warn you about that). Again, it does not delete the files.

Rename it on one device, and it is renamed on all of the devices.

Initially, this may have caused some  embarrassment. One of the parents might have had a Collection called, “Guilty Pleasures”, or “Don’t Show the Kids”, and those Collections (along with links to their content) would appear on the child’s device (if it has Cloud Collections).

If you’ve had  lot of devices, like we have had, you might get a lot of Collections…I got 18 of them, and again, I haven’t even used Collections much at all.

Certainly, I can see real advantages to this. We could have a Collection called, “Bufo’s Weird Stuff”, and my SO would probably never look at it. 😉 We could have a Collection called, “Bufo’s To Be Read”, and it wouldn’t matter on which device I accessed Collections, I could find it.

Now, let’s talk about how you work with the Collections. I’ll start out with on the Fire.

Go to the Books tab. Tap the menu (three horizontal lines in your top left corner). Tap Collections.

Now, you’ll see all of your Collections from all of your devices, in alphabetical order. You’ll see thumbnails of some of the titles in the Collection (only four will fit).

Tap the Collection, and it will come to the foreground. You may need to scroll to see everything.

Tap the title to read it. If it isn’t on your device yet, it will download to it.

If you want to add titles to the Collection, there is an Add button. You’ll be able to add not just from the e-books already on the device, but from the books in your Cloud (listed alphabetically). That’s thousands of books, in my case, and I didn’t see anyway to search or change the sort order. You can remove a book from a Collection by “long pressing” it (hold your finger or stylus on it for about a second), and then you’ll get a Remove button. It appeared to me that you did those one at a time.

Note that you can also remove a book by dragging it out of the Collection. I found that out first when I tested dragging a book from one Collection to another, which does not work…it removes the title instead.

You can rename the Collection by long pressing the name of it when it is in the foreground.

When a Collection is not in the foreground (when you are seeing all of them), you can long press it and add it to Home (just on this device, I presume), or delete the Collection (from all devices).

Adding it to Home makes sense. Here’s a cool tip: you can also drag one item in your Home (not in your Carousel…down at the bottom) on top of another item, and it instantly creates a Collection.

On the Fire, you can also create Collections for apps. You can not mix content types: you can not put an App into a Collection for e-books.

On the Paperwhite, it’s a bit different. You don’t have a Books tab: the Collections appear right on your Homescreen. Tap the Collection, and it opens, similar to what happens on the Fire.

Long press it, and you can Add/Remove Items, Rename This Collection, or Delete This Collection.

Those are the main workflows. 🙂

Again, I can see some real value to this, but Amazon didn’t explain it very well. Many people would have preferred having the option as to which Collections showed up: although it isn’t hard to rename or delete them, so the “Manager” of the account (perhaps an adult) should deal with it on their own device first, if possible (but you can’t control when another device will update over wireless).

I  tested using Parental Controls to turn off access to the Cloud (Home – Menu – Settings – Device Options) on the Paperwhite. The Collections were still displayed, but Cloud items did not show “inside” them.

I also did a quick test with Kindle Freetime on the Paperwhite: with that on, even the names of the Cloud Collections did not show (they did not show at all).

Here is the Amazon Help Page for the HDX (they don’t appear to have the Paperwhite one up yet):

Organize Your Content with Cloud Collection for the HDX

Cloud Collections are also available on the iOS apps (for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch).

That Help Page also has this, and it’s not clear to me:

Import a collection: With Cloud Collections, collections are automatically stored in the Cloud and can be synced between Kindle Paperwhite (2nd Generation), Kindle Fire HD (2nd Generation), Kindle Fire HDX, and Kindle for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch reading apps.

Note: Importing collections from other devices or reading apps to Kindle Paperwhite (2nd Generation), Kindle Fire HD (2nd Generation), Kindle Fire HDX, and Kindle for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is currently limited to the first time you register the device or reading app.”

I’m not sure what they mean by that one. When you first register a device or reading app, how can it have any Collections? I’ll see if I can find out more about that.

If you have any questions about this, or opinions about it, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

45 Responses to “Understanding Cloud Collections”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    That was quick — I didn’t expect this post that fas 😀 t. Since it’s lengthy, I printed it out. After I’ve read it, maybe I’ll have some thoughts.

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I have the same names for collections on 3 different Kindles, but I don’t have the same books in the collections. It will be interesting to see what cloud collections does about that.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      At this point, I can say that it won’t let me create a Cloud Collection with the same name as an existing Cloud Collection. I didn’t have two come in with the same name, except for one where the case was different: both “test” and “Test”. It’s possible that I didn’t have the exact name (including the case) on two devices.

  3. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Very nice post — very clear — answered (most) all my questions.

    AS to the confusion — I’m guessing that when a new device is “registered” the “import” of cloud collections is an implicit part of the registration process — as you say cloud collections are “visible” to all the Cloud collections compatible devices/apps on the account.

    What happens when you deregister/reregister a device/app on an account? Is all the content and collections removed? What is the state of a device before and after a deregister/reregister operation?

    As far as I can tell then — at this point — earlier devices cannot “see” cloud collections nor import them? What happens if an older device uses the import collection feature to try and import collections from a newer cloud collections compatible device?

    • Tom Semple Says:

      There is a somewhat impassioned discussion on Mobileread about the implementation. Mostly people are complaining that you are forced to see a list of ALL of the items in a given collection, whether the item is on the device or not. This is an enhancement, but it has removed a feature: there’s no way to replicate the previous experience, which was to show only on-device items. So they need to add buttons or whatever to filter to just on device items.

      The other complaint is that they may want one set of collections to show on one device and another set on another device (perhaps different family members share an account, or you just have different kindles for different content). As it is you see all of the Cloud Collections all of the time: clutter. Again, there is no way to turn off Collection sync to replicate the previous experience, where each device had its own set of collections. So they should add such an option to MYK.

      Note that Fire has collections that collect any type of content. Wonder if you have one called ‘Stupid Games’ with stupid game apps, if on a Paperwhite you will see this empty Stupid Games collection? Conversely if you collect Active Content on your PW2, does the Fire (and iOS app) show an empty Collection for that? Hopefully the implementation handles at least those edge cases.

      At least with iOS app you can collect magazine issues. I wonder if PW2 now lets you do this (previously you could not add magazine issues to collections).

      Also a significant difference between at least the iOS app (and Fire?) and now PW2 is that on the former the order of items inside a collection can be manually adjusted as new items are added. On PW2, the order is either Recent or Alphabetical. I’d actually like all of these options on all devices. Being able to set an arbitrary order is nice as is having something that keeps them in order without any effort is nice.

      I have never found Collections of much value in the past. But I think I’ll probably try using just a couple when this comes to PW1 (as I’m assuming it will): Currently Reading, and Not Yet Reading. This will be particularly good as I switch from Kindle to iOS, as I am wont to do.

      • Tom Semple Says:

        I was going to reply to Ed’s post initially but went another direction. Deregistering does not remove content, I don’t know if it restores previous collections or not with ‘earlier devices’. Presumably if the device supports Cloud Collections you always get those back when it is re-registered.

        ‘Earlier devices’ each have their own definition of Collections. They can import from another device, BUT the definitions do not sync after that. You must also have any items you want placed into the imported collections already downloaded to the device prior to importing from another device as they will not get added automatically otherwise.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tom!

        My PW2 does not shows the apps Cloud Collections from my Kindle Fire HDX.

        My KFHDX does show a Collection containing only Active Content (compatible with non-Fires, but not Fires), and it is empty there…but has content in it on the PW2. That could lead to some confusion, with people deleting what they think are empty Collections on device, when they would show content on another.

        Rather than all content, I believe that Cloud Collections on the KFHDX only do books and apps/games. They do not appear in the Music tab or on the Newsstand.

        It would be nice to have an “only on device” filter, but that isn’t there yet.

        Cloud Collections are not currently device specific, so it appears that, yes, that option is gone for now. You could name your Collections to include the user…which I think people would then see as advantageous. When I go to a new device, I’d be seamlessly working from, say, “Bufo’s To Be Read” even though it was a different device.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I haven’t registered and deregistered, so I don’t know on that.

      In terms of your last question, my Mindle is unaware of the Cloud Collections. When you go to Add Other Device Collections on the Mindle, it is done by device…and since the Cloud Collections don’t belong to devices, they don’t appear. They could, hypothetically, include a category for Cloud Collections, but not at this point.

  4. Judy Schechter Says:

    Hi Bufo! Well, you won’t believe this: My first KFHDX was spontaneously shutting down and rebooting many times a day, so Amazon sent me a replacement device. Well, the 2nd one overheats while it’s charging (it became so hot that is was uncomfortable to touch), so now they are sending a THIRD device!! I sure hope the third one’s the charm!!
    I’m wondering if any of your readers have experienced similar circumstances..

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Judy!

      Did you have the first one in the Origami cover? What you are describing is what some of us have seen (including me) when you fold the cover flat behind it.

      I haven’t seen a lot of complaints about overheating. I just searched the 614 customer reviews…no complaints found for overheating by searching for “overheat”, “hot”, or “heat”.

      • Judy Schechter Says:

        Bufo, no, I wasn’t using an Origami Case, I was using the Invellop Cover Case. But that’s irrelevant as it happened whether it was in the case or not.
        Here’s an interesting development: Amazon just contacted me because they want to send UPS today to pick it up (the one that overheats), so it can be sent to their lab for analysis. Hmm, isn’t this exactly how they reacted to the initial reports of the blue haze issue?! Of course I highly doubt that they would add a blurb on the product page explaining how this is “normal” (Look folks, not only can you read, use apps, watch videos, and listen to music, we’ve just incorporated the ability to FRY AN EGG ON THE HOME SCREEN! LOL)
        I am totally willing to put up with these inconveniences because I LOVE the KFHDX for its gorgeous display, lightening speed, prime downloads, cloud collections, and dictation capability! But this is really becoming a pain in the a**!

  5. Phink Says:

    Bufo, I cannot remember if you talked about the free data offer from T-Mobile or not. If you have not then I think you may want to consider passing this info onto your….your……what is the proper name for us? Bufo followers, Bufo fans, Customers, Fellow Kindlers?

    Anyway, back to the subject. Of course, I don’t want to step on your toes by suggesting anything so it’s up to you of course but this is a great deal for those with 4G LTE tablets. Below is a copy and paste from my Facebook page that pretty much sums it up.

    One more thing, Do you know if the Fire comes unlocked. I would think it does but not sure. A simple online request got my AT&T Tablet (Galaxy Note 8) unlocked. Here is my copy and paste.

    News to report on the T-Mobile free data front. I got my T-Mobile sim card in today and just installed it in my AT&T tablet. First, it wanted an unlock code that AT&T had provided and from there a call to CS and it seems to be working fine. They only have 2G in this area but it loaded Google (I know, not much there in the way of testing speed) very fast. I also opened my FB widget and it took 2 seconds to update the page. That seems awfully fast to me. I betcha when 2G first came out folks talked about how fast it was. Now, some of you will think I stepped back into the stone ages LOL.

    Look, it’s 200 MB a month for the life of the tablet with a one time $10 sim card fee. How can that be a bad deal? Oh, it’s 2G because we don’t have T-Mobile 4G towers here. It’s not because they limit it for the free customers. This is a heck of a deal and I can get by on 200 MB’s probably 8 out of 12 months. For those other months I will use my 9″ 4G LTE Kindle Fire which is also going to have a free 200 MB’s a month in a few days.

  6. Phink Says:

    Never mind. It has turned into a disaster.

  7. Ann Von Hagel Says:

    So, in your post you said this:

    “I tested using Parental Controls to turn off access to the Cloud (Home – Menu – Settings – Device Options) on the Paperwhite. The Collections were still displayed, but Cloud items did not show “inside” them.

    I also did a quick test with Kindle Freetime on the Paperwhite: with that on, even the names of the Cloud Collections did not show (they did not show at all).”

    My understanding from speaking with a person I trust highly is that, even when set to show ‘on device’, she sees, in her collections on her PW, all the books that are in that collection, whether or not they are, actually ON the device. This makes no sense to me: if they’re not on the device I shouldn’t see them, even in a ‘grayed out’ form. I have no problem seeing them distinguished when I choose “cloud”. My friend doesn’t like it and I don’t think I will either. 😦

    Does what I quoted above fix that issue? How many extra steps does it mean to get to the home page and/or read a book?

    I do feel like there’s a combination of poor implementation of the concept, coupled with poor support for how it all actually works. They shouldn’t, to me, have the update available to download until they’ve included how it works in the help page. And I’m not finding anything there yet. Always possible I’m just missing it, though, and, again, my caveat is that I have not personally played with a PW that has collections. My HDX got the update, but it doesn’t turn out to affect how I use that device at all.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Ann!

      You may have inspired me to write a post about things I don’t like about Amazon…and informing people about new features and giving them scenarios about possible use is one of them. 🙂

      I do have to say, though, that “help files” often suffer, because they can’t be done until everything else is done…and then you are often at the deadline. That’s not just Amazon, that’s everybody. Why are there “hidden shortcuts” in programs, like keyboard shortcuts very few people know? It’s not because the software company doesn’t want you to use them. It’s because the shortcut got added just before release…and after the help files were written, in many cases.

      You can’t add the shortcuts until the underlying structure is complete.

      Amazon had committed to mid-November for the update for the Fires, and I think they wanted the update for the PW2 (at least the Cloud Collections part) to happen very close to that.

      They’ll work on the Help pages now…at least it’s not the paper manuals we used to get. 😉 I, along with other Kindle Forum Pros, sometimes make suggestions for changes to the Help pages that happen quite quickly.

      At this point, there are no local Collections on the Paperwhite 2…the Collections don’t reside “On Device”, they reside in the Cloud, basically. It would be nice if the system was smart enough to only show you the items that are actually on the device within the Cloud Collections when you have “On Device” selected, but not at this point.

      I suppose a quick fix would be to make the Collections only show when you are on “Cloud”, but that’s not what people want, either.

      Those grayed out books? That’s probably the coolest thing about Cloud Collections, and Amazon could explain it better.

      If I have a “Bufo’s To Be Read” Collection that I’ve created on one device, and then I go to another device (maybe a brand new one), I can still download my next To Be Read book from the Cloud Collection. I basically won’t even notice the difference, since I don’t keep many books on any of the devices at a time: I’d always be downloading the next books in queue. I download them ahead of needing them, of course, but not far ahead.

      That’s one of the key use cases: for people who keep thousands of books actually on the devices, and it could be different thousands on different devices, it makes sense to have local Collections. For people like me (and I do think I’m in the minority), there’s no real reason for local Collections.

      Ideally, they have both: local and Cloud. I can, though, imaging the confusion when somebody’s Kindle dies and their local Collections die with it, while the Cloud Collections are fine. I suppose they could back up the local Collections, too…and that’s what we are seeing now where people got a combination of hundreds of Collections from multiple (some not even still existing) devices.

      They could, and I think will, do more with this…

  8. Judy Schechter Says:

    Hey Bufo, so the KFHDX engineer from Lab 126 in Cupertino, California who called me to arrange for 1 day UPS Air Delivery of my overheating device will be applying a $70 credit to my Amazon account! I say, just keep on sending me defective devices, Amazon! 🙂

  9. Cathy Says:

    Calvin – You seem to suggest that these are good updates and any negative opinions are just a matter of people not understanding how they work (I could be misreading you). But this is not a misunderstanding – my mom and I have our own kindles (hers a K3, mine a PW2). I DON’T WANT TO SEE HER COLLECTIONS LISTED ON MY PW2. I believe that if my PW2 gets this update, I would see all her collections listed on my home page. If I delete one of her collections, it would delete it from her kindle. That’s not good. Although you think it’s good that if you decided to read on your spouse’s kindle, your collections would be there, but many people who share an account never share kindles and don’t want to see the other people’s collections.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Cathy!

      If that’s the impression I’ve given, I apologize.

      For me, the update (and all things) are neither good or bad: that’s simply a matter of human perception. So, I do think that if people think it is bad, that’s not a case of their misunderstanding of it: it’s a case of how they understand it. The same thing goes for people who think it is good. I do tend to be an optimist, and see good in all things (as my regular readers know). That doesn’t meant there isn’t bad there as well.

      As you point out, different people have different use cases. I wasn’t suggesting that I would read on my Significant Other’s Kindle, particularly. I was more suggesting that one Kindle might die/be lost/be stolen (we recently had eight Kindles stolen during a home break-in). I wouldn’t have to import the Collections to a new device (which would first entail downloading the books…and I don’t keep many books on any of my devices at a time): they would already be there as soon as I registered it to the account.

      I understand the desire to have separate Collections, although to me, ideally, they would be person specific and not device specific. They wouldn’t be your PW2’s Collections, they would be Cathy’s Collections. That, though, requires a subdivision of accounts which is currently only happening with Kindle Freetime, but which I would hope would later with “adults” as well (and does happen, in some ways, with Whispercast).

      So, to sum up: there are different use cases for different people. Some elements of the update are good for some use cases, and not good for others. I may have been trying to point out that what people are seeing as a “mistake” may not be universally bad, but may be there as a benefit for other use cases.

      By the way, one little thing: my first name is Bufo, my last name is Calvin. Don’t worry about it, it happens a lot. 🙂 Just want to let you know for the next time you make a comment (and I hope you will make one again).

  10. Amazon: room for improvement | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Understanding Cloud Collections […]

  11. A Kindle for the guest room | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] done it yet, you may also want to review what Cloud Collections you have (for more information, see Understanding Cloud Collections). I’ve created one just for books in German, so that will make it easier for our guest to […]

  12. Tod Stewart Says:

    Mark –
    You do a nice job with this explanation! I’d actually pretty much figured it out but it was nice to read to reinforce it for me. MY problem is that I ‘upgraded’ from a basic Kindle to a Kindle Paperwhite which imported all my collections as cloud collections. HOWEVER I would like to have the book on my kindle in 3-4 of my collections (the largest collection – containing books I’ve read – can stay in the cloud – I do not think I’d want any of those when I am not connected to wifi – but others I would like available all the time. The number of books would not be a problem with the amount of memory on the kindle. But if I download all the books in a collection they all appear on my home page as well (which I don’t want!). Any suggestions? If you think you can help please send me an e-mail to [personal contact information removed]. Thanks!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tod!

      I don’t see anybody named “Mark” who commented on the post I wrote…I’ll go ahead and address your question.

      It sounds to me like you just aren’t sorted by Collections. You can have different sort orders on your Cloud and On Device screens. Tap either of those, and then in your top left corner (below the menu), it will show you the sort order. If it says “Recent”, “Title”, or “Author”, tap that and change it to “Collections”.

      • Tod Stewart Says:

        Bufo –

        The top of this article says “Round up #222: Mark Grist, Paperwhite update” so I thought Mark wrote the article! It IS a good article. I have my sorting by collections. Just wish I could keep books in the collections instead of links to cloud books – so that they would be available when I am not connected to wifi. Maybe they’ll get a Kindle update that will allow that one day….

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tod!

        Oh, that makes sense…thanks! I typically headline the round-ups by mentioning a couple of the stories: I suppose I could use semi-colons instead of commas. 🙂

        If you have downloaded the books to the device, and you are on the On Device tab, then you should be able to use the books without being on wi-fi. The books are only on the device if you choose to download them, which is a good thing: we have literally thousands of books, and they wouldn’t even all fit on some of our devices.

      • Tod Stewart Says:

        I understand what you’re saying. You don’t understand what I’m saying! I know about downloading books to the kindle. Problem is that if I download books in m To Read collection they also show up on my home page – I don’t want them there until I call them up to read them! Would like them to just be in the To Read collection but not on the home page. Hopefully they’ll get this fixed – my understanding is that there is no way to do what I want to do.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tod!

        My apologies for not directly addressing your concern. What I can tell you is that Amazon is aware of the negative reaction to this, and that I’ve been told that they are working on it.

        Edited to add: Tod, I know I’ve already got you to the exclamation point point 🙂 but I would like to understand what you are saying…just to see if either I can help, or I can help Amazon understand the issue.

        I just took a book in my Cloud that was not on my Paperwhite 2, and added it to a Collection. When I go to “On Device”, it is listed in the Collection there, but it is “ghosted”…it’s not really on the device until I tap it and it downloads.

        One thing some people don’t like (and this might be your case) is that it is ghosted on “On Device” when it isn’t really there. If that is your concern, my understanding is that you are correct: you can not have the titles which you have added to Collections not appear in those Collections, whether or not they are on your device.

        That’s something some people would like changed. They would like it to be that, when you are on the On Device tab, only the on device books appear in the Collections.

        If that’s not it, and you want to explain it to me again, great. If not, I apologize again for not understanding your comment, and I’ll understand if you don’t respond further.

        I have been trying to test this for you, and I don’t quite get what you’ve said. You said in a recent comment, “Just wish I could keep books in the collections instead of links to cloud books – so that they would be available when I am not connected to wifi. ” You can have them in your Collections on your device and not need wi-fi to open them: that’s what I’ve commonly done. They will then display in your Collection with a checkmark next to them, to show they are downloaded (they also won’t be “ghosted”…in the lighter grey).

        You also said, “But if I download all the books in a collection they all appear on my home page as well (which I don’t want!). “. When I have downloaded books, and I have them in a Collection, and I am sorted by Collections, they do not appear on the homepage outside of the Collection.

  13. Edward Boyhan Says:

    In another post you suggested getting a kindle for the guest room. That prompted me to decide to get a PW2 (my fifth kindle), and put one of my older kindles in the guest bedroom.

    Just before I was going to pull the trigger on purchasing the PW2, I noticed that there was a very high percentage of negative reviews for the PW2 (about 10% as I recall). Digging deeper, I found that a small number were complaining about display defects, but the vast majority had to do with the unanticipated results coming from the recently added (to the PW2) feature of cloud collections.

    I thought I would summarize the issue here as gleaned by me from reading numerous posts over on the kindle forums. .

    I never got the PW2 because of all the issues with cloud collections on the PW2 reported over on the forums. Cloud collection behavior is subtly different on PW2-only accounts as opposed to accounts that contain HDX’s (or a mixture of PW2’s and HDX’s on an account).

    When you register your first cloud collection device on an account, Amazon will create cloud collection names which represent the union of all the “old” collections from “old” collection compatible devices and collection compatible reading apps (such as Kindle for PC). An account with many collection compatible devices/apps could end up with a plethora of unintended cloud collections. Worse, if two “old” devices/apps have collections with identical names, the registration process will create one cloud collection with that name, and will then attempt to merge the contents from the old devices into the newly created cloud collection. It is reported that this merge is not always done correctly, and in cases where different devices/apps actually represent different people sharing the account, the end result can vary from merely inconvenient to disastrous to potentially legally actionable privacy violations — especially if some of the people sharing the account are minor children.

    Amazon customer support has tried to be helpful. They suggest renaming all old collections with names that identify the device/app/person to which the collection is attached BEFORE you register your first cloud collection device, and then go through and edit the resulting cloud collections into something usable. While clumsy this is viable where the first cloud collection device is an HDX. However, if the first cloud collection device is a PW2, the behavior apparently is different. In the HDX case if you delete a cloud collection, only the cloud collection is deleted, the original “old” collections (and their contents) on “old” devices/apps are not affected. In the PW2 case, however, if you delete a cloud collection, not only is the collection deleted on the cloud, but also on the original devices/apps — throwing all the contents of those old collections back onto the device/app home page — a really sorry mess.

    I don’t have a cloud collection device so I can only summarize what has been reported on the forums, and I may have this wrong. Some on the forums have said that Amazon customer support told them that this would be fixed. I’m not sure Amazon has committed to that, and it has been about 2 months since the PW2 cloud collection update, and no fix has been forthcoming.

    What has your experience with cloud collections been? I assume you have both HDX and PW2’s on your account — but I assume you registered the HDX first — so you may not see the PW2 behavior as I’ve described it.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I’m glad you took my suggestion on a guest room Kindle! Worked great for us.

      No question, Amazon is aware of people’s concerns with Cloud Collections. I do think my experience was different from many people’s, and I think you are right about device sequencing having something to do with it.

      I think they’ll “fix it” in some way…

  14. Round up #256: 6 AmazonLocal coupons, DoJ looking at AMZN? | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Understanding Cloud Collections […]

  15. Amazon Sucks Says:

    Basically the latest updated ruined the kindle turning into a piece of crap.

    I have kindle free time stuck there which is no use and just wastes space… shocking after I paid extra for a kindle with no advertising.

    I have shared collections I don’t want to see on the device, if I try to make a collection it shows items which aren’t on the device… Not enough that collections suck in the first place, bring on nested files !!

    Wont be buying another kindle that’s for sure.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Amazon!

      Certainly, buying or not buying a Kindle in the future is your choice.

      I’m still getting quite good use out of my Kindle Paperwhite after the update…and in fact, for me, the update improved the Collections. That’s based on the way I use it, though, which may be different for you.

      I’m not seeing the connection between Kindle FreeTime (which is a form of parental control) and advertising?

      Hopefully, you’ll find another device you enjoy more. If possible, you may want to get one with the Kindle app, so you can continue to enjoy the books you’ve already purchased.

  16. Yana Says:

    Trying to sync Kindle for Mac with my Kindle, and import the collections. What I get, however, is very OUTDATED collections. What can I do to update Kindle for Mac, in order to show my current collections? Thanks!!!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Yana!

      What model Kindle? Do you know where the Collections were created…on the Kindle or the Mac?

  17. lDaniel Says:

    Should I have my Kindle HDX 7 on cloud or set on device

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, IDaniel!

      That depends. 🙂 When you have it set to Cloud, you are seeing what you have purchased from Amazon (even free), which is available to download to the device. When you are looking at “Device”, you are seeing what you have already downloaded.

      If you want to read something and you are not connected to wireless, you would want to be on Device. If you want to download something you purchased before, you’d be looking at the Cloud.

  18. mishqueen Says:

    I have used the kindle app on my iPad forever. I was so excited to finally get a kindle paperwhite (keyboard version) so that I could 1) have many more books downloaded at the same time, and 2) read in full sunlight. I have about

  19. mishqueen Says:

    Oops I posted that too soon…
    I have used the kindle app on my iPad forever. I was so excited to finally get a kindle paperwhite (keyboard version) so that I could 1) have many more books downloaded at the same time, and 2) read in full sunlight. I have 2k or maybe even more books on my device.

    I was unsuccessful in syncing my Collections from my iPad to my paperwhite, and after calling Kindle they told me they aren’t backwards compatible to sync. Which means, having 2k+ book titles rolling around loose in my paperwhite device makes me not want to even open it because of the frustration of pushing the arrow key 112 times to finally find the [partial] title I was looking for without the help of a collection. That’s just ridiculous. And making/sorting Collections manually on a paperwhite is equally ridiculous. I have to click about 7 buttons to move EACH title.

    What is the motivation for an apple owner to ever purchase a paperwhite device if they make it that difficult to use? Why would they exclude THAT many potential customers? I’m mystified and wondering if I just don’t understand something. Is this actually possible and I just don’t get it?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, mishqueen!

      From what you’re saying, I’m pretty confident I can give you a better workflow…but I need a little clarification.

      With an iPad and a Kindle Paperwhite, you should not have to recreate your Collections.

      However, you mention having a keyboard…if what you have is a Kindle Keyboard (otherwise known as a Kindle 3…a model that is five years old), well, that’s correct: it doesn’t do Cloud Collections.

      These are the models which support Cloud Collections:

      Cloud Collections help page

      Check again for me which model you have, and let me know…I can probably give you an easier way to do what you are doing.


      Now, as to your last question: the number of people from an iPad to a Kindle Keyboard would be very small. There are still motivations for using one of those older models (the long battery charge life, and as you note, the ability to read in bright light), but it’s not like using one of the contemporary models.

  20. mishqueen Says:

    I do have a Kindle Keyboard, B006 = Kindle 3 wi-fi and 3G. I guess I thought paperwhite just meant the ink display system, not a model series. So I do not have a paperwhite, then? I also did not realize that a 5 year old device was that ancient, but I guess I’m the person who is perfectly happy with her iPad 2. That’ll show me. 🙂

    I have no need to buy a Kindle Fire as long as I have an iPad, that just feels redundant. So if I sold the Kindle Keyboard to buy another newer version to get the same benefits (long battery, read in full sunlight), would I in the same No-Sync boat as I am now (pun intended, haha)? IF there is one I can still buy that fits that need, what is the oldest (aka: least expensive) model that WILL sync with cloud collections?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, mishqueen!


      Oh, five years is a very long time in a rapidly evolving technology like this…especialy one that only started eight years ago (well, it won’t be eight years until November). 2010 is when the iPad was first released…and the iPhone 4 was just going international, I think. You can’t even use the power adapters for those iPhones with today’s iPhones, right?

      An older model is not necessarily less expensive, but any Paperwhite works. Paperwhites, by the way, have a really nice built-in light…not like the backlight on your iPad, but it lets you read either in a dark room or bright sunlight just fine.

      You don’t need a Paperwhite (the current version is, in its least expensive configuration, $119) for Cloud Collections. You can also use the current generation entry level Kindle (7th generation), which starts at $79. No light on that one, so you would need an external light to read in the dark…just like a paperbook.

      In either case, Amazon has a thirty-day return policy. If it was performing as advertized, you would be expected to pay the return postage (a few dollars, usually).

      In either case, your Cloud Collections should sync.

      Oh, and you can sometimes get refurbished or used Kindles on Amazon as well. Here’s the refurb page for non-Fire Kindles:

      Refurb Kindles

      They have the same warranty as a new one. They don’t have everyone listed there all the time: if you see a price, it’s available. 🙂

      Here’s my post from when Collections were added (I’ve been doing this for a while). 🙂 Might help…


      • Mishqueen Says:

        I know this is old, but i just found your response again. Thought I’d update the thread (with what you already know) that they finally made a very basic Kindle model that is backwards compatible with my kindle app collections. I purchased version 8 and I’m very happy with it. Thanks for your help and patience a few years ago. Great site!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Mishqueen!

        Thanks for the kind words! I really appreciate you following up after years…very thoughtful!

  21. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I can’t believe the age of this thread! After two+ years of usage, I’m not at all sure that I understand all the ins and outs of working with cloud collections on multiple kindles & fires. I’m probably going to sign up for whispercast at some point to see what additional insights/capabilities it provides… (:grin)

    Anyhow that’s not the real reason I’m posting. The day before yesterday I received an email from Amazon offering to sell me a Kindle Voyage for $149. Don’t know if this would be attractive to mishqueen or not. It comes with a promo code — so I’m not sure if it’s time-limited or not. I had been thinking of getting the new PW3, but also thinking of waiting for new product announcements in the fall (I assume the Voyage offer is probably inventory clearance in advance of that)

    I’m still dithering for myself. I’m not sure if the voyage promo code is private or not — so I don’t post it here. If there’s any interest, I’ll forward the code in a private email.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I was aware of that offer, but I haven’t written about it because it appears to be only for a pretty select group of people. It hasn’t shown up for me, yet…and I don’t think it will.

      I’m guessing that mishqueen would prefer not to pay for the top of the line.

      As for you…I would wait until the new models. You’ve gone long enough without, I think, to be able to wait another couple of months. There will be deals…and, I think it’s reasonable to assume, new features/models.

  22. New! Collection management comes to MYCD (Manage Your Content and Devices) | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Understanding Cloud Collections […]

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