Archive for the ‘New Owners’ Category

Welcome to your Kindle Paperwhite 2!

October 8, 2013

Welcome to your Kindle Paperwhite 2!

Did you just get the new Kindle Paperwhite?

If so, welcome!

I’m allowed to say “welcome” because I have one, too. 😉

While I’ve already done a menu map (linked above) that will give you the details, I just thought I’d take a minute to sort of introduce you around the place…er, device.

Of course, you aren’t all starting from the same spot. Do we have anybody here coming from an earlier Kindle? Great! Anyone upgrading from the Kindle Paperwhite 1? Good to see you! How about folks who are just getting into e-books for the first time? Terrific! I thought I’d break this down into different sections, so you each get the welcome you need. At the end of the tour, you’ll all have an opportunity to ask your own questions.

Ready? Here we go!

Switching from paperbooks

If this is your first time with an e-book reader (EBR), you are in for a treat. Oh, I know you might be feeling anxious and be worried about what you are going to miss…I felt that way myself, back in the last decade. You see, I used to manage a bookstore…yep, one with paperbooks in it. I love books, and that’s really the most important thing.

In my experience, the more you love books, the more you love e-books.

After all, you can have pretty much all the books you want whenever you want them…no packing an extra suitcase just full of paperbacks…for a one-week vacation.

Know something else?

You can get lots of books for free! Try getting that from your local bookstore!

With your new Paperwhite, you are never going to say that you don’t have anything to read.

I see some folks with glasses here. Anybody just use reading glasses? That’s me…but I don’t need them with my Paperwhite! Every book is a large print book…if you want it to be. Totally up to you.

I see a couple of university sweatshirts. Well, you can search in an e-book, make notes…even share them, if you want.

There is something that’s important to understand, though.

When you “buy a book” in the Kindle store, it’s not like buying a book in a bookstore.

When you buy a book from a store, you just get that one copy. You’re responsible for it. Leave it on an airplane, and it’s just gone.

What you buy in the Kindle store is the right to read the book. Leave your Kindle on a plane? Well, of course that’s sad, but you don’t lose your library! You can still download those books to other devices you put on the same account.

Oh, and Amazon stores them for you! Think about the last time you moved and you had all those boxes of books. You don’t even have to put the books on your own computer: you just get them again from Amazon’s Cloud, when you want them.

One more big thing: you can share them with other people! As long as those folks are on your account, you can all read the same book…for one price! Usually, six of you can even read it at the same time!

That’s a lot easier than mailing your used Harry Potter to Peoria for your cousin Petunia, right?

Yep, I think you’re going to like the Paperwhite.

Still nervous?

That’s okay…it doesn’t have to be one or the other. You can read paper sometimes and e-books sometimes. Amazon’s even started the new Kindle MatchBook program, where you are going to be able to get a discount on many books for buying both the e-book and the paperbook.

Coming from an older Kindle

How many of you had a Kindle Keyboard? Touch? Kindle 2? Kindle DX? Basic Kindle? Anybody out there who had the first Kindle, from back in 2007? Me, too!

I’m not going to tell you that the Paperwhite has everything each of those models did, but it does have one big improvement: a built-in light!

Now, that’s not a “backlight”…anybody heard of that? Good! A backlight shines right into your face, and some folks find that uncomfortable. Not only that, it takes a lot of battery to keep a backlight going.

The Kindle Paperwhite has a “frontlight”. See, what happens is that the light is pointed at the screen from your side…not at your face from behind the screen, like a tablet.

That might not sound like much, but it makes for a really comfortable reading experience. How many of you bought a booklight for your older Kindle? I did…it cost about $25, and the lighting just wasn’t that good. How many of you have tried to read a tablet out in the sun? Not easy, right?

With the Paperwhite, it doesn’t matter where you are…outside, inside, in the basement, or on the roof. You can turn the light up or down as you need it…it’s a mellow glow.

How long does the battery last if you use the light?


Amazon says up to eight weeks! That’s if you read for half an hour a day…so even if you read for four hours a day (don’t I wish!), you’d still get a week…on one charge!

That’s not to say the Paperwhite is perfect…it doesn’t have sound, so if you are used to listening to text-to-speech, audiobooks, or Guy Lombardo while you read, you are out of luck.

Still, I think you are going to enjoy it!

Coming from the Kindle Paperwhite 1

Making the move up from last year’s model, the first Paperwhite?

Sure, it’s likely to look brighter to you, and the processor is faster, but I think the big thing is “page flip”. You can look ahead in your book…without losing your place!

When you tap the top of your page (just like you did on your old Paperwhite), you’ll see a lot of familiar icons.

The new part is down at the bottom, where it tells you which chapter you are in.

Tap that, and you can start flipping ahead. You can go page by page, or down at the bottom of the page, jump chapter by chapter!!

If you want to actually go ahead, that’s fine, but you can also tap a link to get right back to where you were.

That’s not the only thing, of course…you get inline footnotes (no having to jump to the back of the book and getting stuck there), a vocabulary flashcard builder, and soon, it’s going to work with GoodReads in a brand new way.

I think it’s going to feel as comfortable to you as driving your old car…with a revved up motor and a new heads-up display. 😉

New to books

Finally, I want to address those of you who haven’t really been readers. Oh, maybe you read for school, and then kind of drifted away. Maybe you just never really learned it, and are coming to recreational reading as an adult.

I’m not going to make you raise your hands, because I know a lot of people are  embarrassed  by the situation.

You shouldn’t be embarrassed…you should be proud.

It’s not where you’ve been…it’s where you are going.

Oh, and now you can go anywhere! Even to places that don’t exist!

Reading a novel is like dancing with an expert…only instead of using your feet, you are using your imaginations.

The author doesn’t do all the dancing for you…it’s a partnership. Sure, the book leads you…but it can’t go anywhere unless you go, too.

Well, I think that’s about it. Any questions? If you’ve got them, feel free to leave a comment on this post.


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


Fun things to do with your new Kindle Fire HD

December 25, 2012

Fun things to do with your new Kindle HD

If you just got a Kindle, congratulations!

Once you’ve taken care of the most important thing (choosing which account you’ll use), and maybe set the parental controls so you don’t have any surprise charges, it’s time to have some fun!

While all Kindles are fun, they can’t all do the same things. Before you plunge into these quick suggestions, make sure you know which Kindle you have:

Which Kindle Do I Have?

While just to keep things simple, I’m just listing items for a Kindle Fire HD, some of these will also work with other models.

Note: while most of these are free, some do require purchase of an app. Please check the price before clicking or tapping the Buy button. In many cases, they do require download of an app, even if it is free. Also, these are available to US customers, and may not be available elsewhere.

This is mostly just a listing. If you have questions about them, please free to ask by commenting on this post.

One last thing: I have used all of the apps listed here. There are certainly many other options, and I won’t guarantee that each is the best possible solution for you. 🙂

Fun things to do with your new Kindle Fire HD

  1. Take a picture (tap Photos: there is a camera icon)
  2. Send a text
  3. Make a phone call
  4. Make a videocall using Skype (Skype is installed; you may need to set up an account)
  5. Play Magic Piano
  6. Play Angry Birds Star Wars
  7. Get a free trial for a magazine
  8. Send an e-mail (E-mail is installed; you’ll need to configure your accounts, which is generally easy)
  9. Check the weather
  10. Watch webcams around the world
  11. Go retro and play Atari games
  12. Get a free e-book
  13. Get a free song
  14. Get the free app of the day
  15. Check out the Kindle Daily Deal
  16. Set up a free Flipboard account and get news and your Twitter feed
  17. Make plasma sounds
  18. Watch Netflix
  19. Listen to Songza
  20. Listen to local radio stations
  21. Turn the world into art with Paper Camera
  22. Enhance your TV experience with Zeebox
  23. Level a table
  24. Measure something
  25. Put a pricewatch on a Kindle book, so you know when it goes down in price
  26. Have your Kindle read a book out loud to you (tap towards the top middle of the page, tap Aa, tap More options, turn Text-to-Speech On)
  27. Chat with other people inside a book (long-press ((hold your finger or stylus on something for about a second)) something, choose Share)
  28. Find local movie showtimes with Fandango
  29. Make notes (including pictures) about who gave what with Evernote
  30. Play my favorite game on the Kindle Fire, the word game Dabble
  31. Light up the room (including flashing police lights)
  32. “X-Ray” a movie (Videos- Prime Videos…you can see if a movie has X-Ray or not before you start it running. Tap the screen while the movie is running, and you’ll see a choice for X-Ray: tap that, and get info about actors in that scene, including links to other movies in which they appear)
  33. X-Ray a book (open a book and tap towards the top middle of the screen…you’ll see the option)
  34. Have a Roku? “Throw” your pictures or personal videos on the screen with Juice for Roku
  35. Make a voice recording (perhaps have the group in the room say something appropriate for the event)
  36. Make a video recording

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

Parental controls and your Kindle

December 24, 2012

Parental controls and your Kindle

This year, many children may start using a new Kindle. While that can be a really wonderful, life-expanding experience, adults may want to guide what that child does. For example, parents/legal guardians might not want a child spending a thousand dollars on apps, or having access to certain content that the adult considers to be inappropriate.

When this issue comes up within the Amazon Kindle community, there are always posters who chide the adult for even asking about it, saying that it should be the parent/legal guardian who watches over what the child does, not some “parental control” tool.

Well, that seems a bit to me like saying you shouldn’t put a lock on the cabinet that has your household deadly chemicals, because you should simply be there to prevent your kid from getting into them. “Parental controls” (and I’m going to use that term for simplicity’s sake, even though it may not be a parent-child situation) are a tool you can use (just like that lock). While we can certainly debate how much free access to content a child should have, I think it’s worth knowing what your options are to help you actualize that decision.

Parental controls can actually give a child more freedom. Let’s say that an adult does not want a child to get to websites that have content not intended for children. I have run into situations where parents will not allow kids to click on websites at all…the parent has to do it, if they are going to go there. With a parental control system, it can be possible to limit which websites the child can access. The parent approves the sites ahead of time, and then the child has the freedom to go to sites within that group without constant supervision.

Is that kind of specific content guidance (called “whitelisting”) possible with a Kindle? Yes, but not with all Kindles at this time.

I’m going to run through the possibilities here. I would set up the Kindle with the guidance you want before the first unsupervised use.  With one click, a child could buy a $600 Amazon Instant Video (you won’t be buying it if you click here, but I thought you might be interested in what it was), and unlike Kindle store books, Amazon Instant Videos are not refundable.

Before we get started, you need to know which Kindle your child is going to be using, since the parental control options and procedures are different on different models.

You can tell by looking at this Amazon help page:

Which Kindle Do I Have?

Next, let’s go through some of the concepts.

Content Purchase Control

This allows you to turn off the ability to purchase content (e-books, videos, apps) directly from Amazon. While you have seven days from purchase to “return” a Kindle store book for a refund, that is not the case with other digital content. Generally, I would turn this off for children who are not responsible for their own finances.

That also goes for a special subset, what are called “in-app purchases”. When you are using an app on a Kindle Fire, you may be offered the opportunity to buy real things with real money. For example, you might be able to purchase a “power up” for a character for ten dollars.

Content Access Control

There are two broad types of this, if we consider a website to be the equivalent of an e-book…the website is treated as one item, just as an individual book would be.

You can turn off access to everything in that category: not allow any videos to be accessed by the device, or not allow any books to be read on the device.

You could also selectively access items. In other words, you can have a “blacklist” of items you don’t allow, or a “whitelist” of items you do. You might let  your child use some apps you have purchased, but not others.

Curated Access Control

In this method, available on some Kindle Fire models, you don’t make the specific decisions for child, but allow your child access to a set of content chosen by someone else. It is sort of the equivalent of letting your child look in the children’s books section of a brick and mortar bookstore (I’m a former manager) and look at anything they want there, but not leave that part of the store.

On all of these, there are three main sources of content, and you may be able to block one or more of them:

  • Items you have already purchased from Amazon (your archives of “Cloud”)
  • Items you have not yet purchased from Amazon
  • Items from outside Amazon

Now, let’s go through the currently available devices:

2nd Generation Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HDs

One approach:

Swipe down from the top of the device – More – Parental Controls

You’ll be asked to enter and confirm a password. Make sure you can remember that password: if necessary write it down.

From here, you’ll have several choices:

  • Block the Silk Web Browser (it just says “Web Browser”). This does not block the device’s access to the internet…it just can no longer use Silk. If you’ve installed another browser (like Maxthon or Dolphin), that one will work just fine. The device will also still be able to download items from your archives/Cloud, and do Wikipedia look-ups
  • Block E-Mail, Contacts, and Calendars (but I believe that will only be the Amazon apps)
  • Password Protect Purchases (this will stop purchasing from Amazon)
  • Password Protect Video Playback (no video playback, regardless of where it was obtained…I have not tested this within apps that play video, and I suspect it might work there)
  • Block and Unblock Content Types (you can block all of a many of these as you want: the Newsstand, Books & Audiobooks, Music, Video, Docs, Apps & Games, Photos).
  • Password Protect Wi-Fi
  • Password Protect LBS (Location Based Services)
  • Password Protect Mobile Network (Kindle Fire 4G only)

If you’d like to block In-App Purchasing, you do that here:

Swipe down – More – Applications – Apps (under Amazon Applications) – In-App Purchasing

You can do that even without using Parental Controls.

The Kindle Fire HDs also have Kindle FreeTime, which is an app that allows you to “whitelist” books, videos, and apps. You can create a profile for each child, and then manage content. Under content, you can add Books, Videos, and/or apps you want them to access. While they are in Kindle FreeTime, they will not have access to anything else (including purchasing from Amazon, web browsing, and in-app purchasing).

Note: they can use the wireless (unless you’ve blocked that in parental controls) to download books from your archives/Cloud. They will not have the ability to share notes and highlights, or to look things up in Wikipedia (but they can look them up in the dictionary).

Even though I have other browsers besides Silk on my device, they did not appear to be available to put into Kindle FreeTime. I tried an app which I knew required the web, and it was able to connect…but browsing appears to be out. I also don’t think you can add the e-mail app.

Additionally, for each profile, you can control time limits. You can set a limit for the total screen time per day, and separate limits each for reading books (which defaults to unlimited), watching videos, and using apps.

Even if they shut the Kindle all the way off, it will restart in Kindle FreeTime. (unless you have previously exited it with your password). You have to enter a password to switch the kids’ profiles: if Raggedy Ann is using it, and Raggedy Andy wants a turn, they have to come to you first.

Still, Kindle FreeTime does give you quite a few options…even if whitelisted web browsing isn’t one of them.

You can actually get whitelisted web browsing for the Kindle Fire HDs…but not for access through Kindle FreeTime (I think…I haven’t tested this one), and not for free.

It’s by using a third-party browser…and a sophisticated one at that:


One last thing for the Fires: you can subscribe to a service called Kindle FreeTime Unlimited. For a monthly fee (as low as $2.99, if you are already an Amazon Prime member), your child can have “all you can eat” access to a curated set of  books, videos, and apps. This can be a great deal! You don’t own these items, and you’ll lose access if you stop subscribing, but there are a lot of well-known characters here, from Curious George to Shrek to Thomas the Tank Engine.

Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite can’t play all the content that a Kindle Fire can, and subsequently, the parental controls are much simpler.

Home – Menu – Device Options – Parental Controls

You can turn each of these on and off:

  • Web Browser (Silk)
  • Kindle Store
  • Cloud (archives)

While you can have “active content” on a Kindle Paperwhite, no apps (which means you can’t install extra browsers), no videos.

One nice thing: even if you turn off the Kindle Store, you can buy books for your child on your computer and have them sent to the Kindle Paperwhite.

Mindle (“basic Kindle”, “baby Kindle”)

The Mindle (my name for it) is similar to the Paperwhite in this.

Home – Menu – Settings – Next Page – Parental Controls

You can turn each of these on and off:

  • Web Browser (Silk)
  • Kindle Store
  • Archived Items (same as the Cloud above)

Kindle Keyboard

This is similar to the Mindle

Home – Menu – Settings – Next Page – Parental Controls

and I believe it has the same options.

Free Kindle Reader Apps

I don’t believe these have Parental Controls at this time.

One other choice with all Kindles: you could set up a separate account for your child. That one could have a different payment method, and it would have different archives/Cloud. If you did not have a credit card/debit card listed as a payment method for 1-click, the child would only be able to buy things from Amazon with whatever gift card balance there might be on that account. I personally think it is easier to manage one account, but I wanted to make you aware of this as a possibility.

If you have any additional questions on Kindle parental controls, or have something else you want to tell me and my readers about it, feel free to comment on this post.

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

Got a new Kindle model? Here’s what is different

December 26, 2011

Got a new Kindle model? Here’s what is different

This year, a lot of people who are already experienced with Kindles are going to get new models. That might be because they are buying a newer one and handing the old one, or getting a second Kindle (yes, people do that).

Kindles (except the Kindle Fire) all work largely the same way…but there are now some significant differences.

I’ve owned and used every Kindle model except for the Kindle DX 9.7 inch. Right now, I mainly read on a Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi only, but I also use a Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and a Kindle (the $79/$109 model I call a “Mindle”), in addition to my Kindle Fire.

I still have a Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 as well.

I do have an excuse for that. 🙂 After all, I write about them, so I need to have them for reference when I get questions.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that even though I adapt to a new model pretty quickly, I may still be looking for something from an old model…which may not even be there.

Here, then, are each of the currently available models (new from Amazon) and what makes them different. If you get one and want to return it, Amazon does have a generous Kindle return policy…usually, within thirty days of purchase.

Kindle (this is the $79/$109 model..I call it the “Mindle”. Others call it the “baby Kindle”, the “starter Kindle”, or the “basic Kindle”)

What it doesn’t have: audio of any kind (no music, no audiobooks, no text-to-speech); a keyboard (you use a “hunt and click” method); 3G (you’ll need to connect to a wi-fi network to download things)

What’s unique about it: it’s the smallest and lightest: you can set the menus to be in different languages

Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi only
Kindle Touch 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi

What it doesn’t have: landscape mode; the ability to highlight across two pages; not as many games for it

What’s unique to it: touchscreen (well, this and the Fire have it); X-Ray (which downloads information about topics and characters in the book with the book)

Kindle Keyboard, Wi-Fi (formerly the Kindle 3)
Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi (formerly the Kindle 3 3G)

What it doesn’t have: I think of this as the sort of normal Kindle. It doesn’t have a touchscreen.

Kindle DX 9.7 inch

What it doesn’t have: it’s not up on the latest software…it’s a generation 2. No Special Offers option.

Unique to it: the size

Kindle Fire

This is a whole different type of hardware. No Collections at this point. No text-to-speech. If you deregister it, downloaded Kindle store books are removed. It doesn’t have the long battery life of the other Kindles (the old Kindle’s can be used for weeks without charging…the Kindle Fire will go for less than a day). It’s backlit, so bright sunlight will make it hard to read.

Unique to it: video; full web-browsing; Android apps; ability to require a PIN (Personal Identification Number) to use the internet; ability to read in a dark room without an external light source.

That’s a quick overview. If you have specific questions about any of these (or the older models), feel free to ask.

Update: thanks to one of my readers, Kerrin, for pointing out that the Kindle Keyboard can search the archives. It looks very different on the Touch, and I was thinking it was different functionality…but apparently not.

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

Got a new Kindle? Here’s the most important thing to know

December 25, 2011

Got a new Kindle? Here’s the most important thing to know

Important note: in 2014, this situation changed on some models with the Kindle “Family Library” feature. For more information, see About Family Library help page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)


You may be one of literally millions of people who are the proud owners of a new Kindle today. 🙂

If you’re like me, you’ll come to love your Kindle…and you’ll have questions about it, too.

In this post, I’m going to to talk about the key point to understanding  ownnig any Kindle.

For more information for new owners from previous years, see this category.

There’s No Accounting for…Accounts

I get lots of questions (which I love, by the way) and see even more other places, and the idea of how your Kindle relates to an Amazon account may be one of the biggest sources of confusion.

When you buy (or are given) a Kindle, that’s a piece of hardware. It’s kind of cool even by itself. However, it’s using it with Amazon that really makes it come alive. You can think of it like…sitting in a new car in the dealer’s showroom, or taking it out on the road.

In this case, an Amazon account is the road…it’s that whole wide world of experiences you can have with your Kindle. Now, to be clear, it’s hypothetically possible to use a Kindle without an Amazon account…you can get and use books (and music and such) from other sources, but I would guess it’s a tiny, tiny amount of people that do it that way. A Kindle is designed to be used with Amazon.

So, the first thing is to get your Kindle registered to an Amazon account, and to understand that it’s really that account that’s important. Oh, I get attached to my individual Kindles (after all, this blog isn’t called, “I Love My Kindle Account”) ;)…giving them what I think are clever names, for example, and referring to them that way (“I’m taking Schwinn with me today.”)  However, intellectually I know that my Kindle is lost/stolen/fails, I can replace it…and have access to pretty much everything I did on the old one.

Getting an Amazon account is easy (and your Kindle will help you do it if you don’t have one). Essentially, you give them an e-mail address that they use to identify the account. You pick a password, and you (usually) set up some kind of payment method.

That’s about it.

That account is your identity with Amazon.

That’s really key.

It doesn’t matter to Amazon if one person is using the account or a hundred people are.

When you buy Kindle store books, think of it as the account owning the books.

Not an individual person…not an individual Kindle.

Let’s say you are a family of four…however you define family. Amazon doesn’t check that: you could be four friends who meet at Starbucks once a week, doesn’t matter. For convenience sake, though, I’m going to say Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother. Each one of the owns a Kindle. They are all on the same Amazon account, which I’m going to call the “family account”.

Dad buys a Kindle book using the account. That book is available to all four of them. Dad’s Kindle accidentally goes through the washing machine and is destroyed.

Makes no difference to the ownership of that book. Sister, Brother, and Mom can all still read it..and so can Dad, when the Kindle is replaced (or using another Kindle or reader app registered to that account).

Sister goes away to college in another state. Still makes no difference: Sister can read books that  Brother buys, and vice versa…as long as they are using the same old account.

What happens if Mother and Father eventually pass on?

Makes no difference. As long as Brother and Sister have the e-mail address and password for the account, they still have access to the books. The payment method can be changed, the e-mail address can be changed…the account goes on, with all the books in it available to all the devices registered to that account.

Now, to be clear, a person using an account is responsible for it. When you set one up, Amazon says:



If you use this site, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account and password and for restricting access to your computer, and you agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account or password. Amazon does sell products for children, but it sells them to adults, who can purchase with a credit card or other permitted payment method. If you are under 18, you may use only with involvement of a parent or guardian. Amazon reserves the right to refuse service, terminate accounts, remove or edit content, or cancel orders in their sole discretion.”


Amazon Conditions of Use

Adults, you are responsible for minors using your account.

However, if you think of it as the Kindle store books belonging to the account, it will make the most sense to you.

What happens if you deregister a Kindle from that account?

It no longer has access to the Amazon storage of those books you bought. A Kindle can only be registered to one account at a time.

If you downloaded the books to your Kindle first, they’ll only disappear when you deregister the Kindle Fire . On the other Kindles, they’ll stay there. Importantly, though, they’ll only work on that one Kindle…you won’t be able to download them again to a new Kindle if you get one (more on that below).

Let’s say you have bought a thousand books on your account. A relative gets a new Kindle, and you let them register that Kindle to your account.

Boom! They have a thousand books they can read at no cost.

What if that relative buys a book on the account?

You also have access to it…and it’s already paid for.

What if, instead, that relative opens a brand new Amazon account? There won’t be any books in it, and when your relative buys a book on that account, you won’t have access to it (although there is some limited lending possible).

Different scenario: you and your Significant Other are on an Amazon account together. You pay for a hundred Kindle store books on that account with your own money. The relationship, sadly, ends. You deregister the Kindle from that account and register it to a new one.

Bye-bye, hundred books.

Even if your Significant Other wants to give them to you on that new account, it can’t be done. You either have to be registered to the old account, or lose access.

Update: Let’s go through this account thing and deregistering a little more clearly.

Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother were all on the same account, the “family account”. All of their Kindles had access to all of the books on that account, regardless of who paid for them. You can’t restrict which books are accessible by which Kindle…”the account owns the books”, not the individual devices. I think we may see that change in the future, but that’s how it works now.

Sister left the family account when she decided to deregister her Kindle from that one, and to start her own account (we’ll call it “sister’s account”). She might have done that because she wants to assert her financial independence…or maybe she wants to buy Kindle store books she doesn’t want her family to know about. 😉

When Sister deregistered, she already had books downloaded to her Kindle. Those books stay on that Kindle (unless it’s a Kindle Fire…then, they get removed), until she deletes them.

Sister later buys a new Kindle…her old one failed. She registers it to Sister’s account.

That new Kindle doesn’t have access to the books she brought with her from the family account. Those belong to the old account.

Even if she’d made copies of the files on her old Kindle before it died, they still won’t work on the new one.

Usually, Kindle store book files are keyed to work on a single device…they have code in the file that limits it to, say, “Sister’s Kindle”.

Now, let’s say Brother gets married later, but is still using the family account. Brother’s new spouse (let’s call the spouse “Sweetheart”) gets a Kindle as a wedding gift. Sweetheard already had a Kindle when they met, and it is registered to the Sweetheart’s family’s account.

Registering the new Kindle to Brother’s family account means that the new Kindle has access to all of the books bought by Brother’s family on that account…at no charge. Sweetheart can access the books on Sweetheart’s family’s account only on the old Kindle…and to Brother’s family’s account only on the new one.

Obviously, deciding to which account you are going to register your Kindle is the most important decision you can make about it…even before you get your first book.

What if two of you start out with separate accounts, and then want to merge them…combine the libraries? Officially, there isn’t a policy for that…but I’ve heard of it happening when Amazon has made an exception.

Don’t count on that, though.

Should you have more than one account if you have multiple Kindles in your house?

My feeling is that the default should be one account. The more people you have on it, the more buying power you have. Pay for a book once, everybody has access to it (although not necessarily all at once…the publishers limit how many devices on an account can have the book licensed at the same time. Unless it says otherwise on the book’s Amazon product page, that number is six). Everybody can share in each other’s purchases.

However, if you want to limit somebody’s access to an account, the most effective way is…another account. If you have books you don’t want your ten-year old to see, you might want to open a separate account for the kid. Yes, you’ll be responsible for that account. No, you won’t be able to share books.

I know, I know…I sort of feel like I should have hit the fun parts in this post first, like how to get free books. I get that enthusiasm. I was thinking, though, that if you get the free books on the “wrong account”, you are going to regret it. I’m going to give you information in future posts about having fun with the Kindle…I just don’t want what happens the first day to mess you up later.

Settled on which account? Got your Kindle all registered?  If you are having trouble with it, Amazon can help you here: Getting Started with Your New Kindle Amazon help page.

Okay, here’s a free legal place to find free thousands of free books from the Kindle store:

Just couldn’t resist giving you that. 😉 I’m not connected to them except as a user, but it’s a great place to get started.

Do you have other questions? Feel free to ask me by commenting on this post. If you want your question to be confidential, please tell me in your comment.

Have fun!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

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

Ten things to know about your new Kindle

August 27, 2010

Ten things to know about your new Kindle

A lot of people will get new Kindles today.  These are ten things to know about it, in no particular order.

* You don’t need to turn it off.  It’s better if it “sleeps”, usually.  You can put it to sleep with the power switch, or just leave it and it will go to sleep on its own.  When it is asleep, you’ll see a “sleep mode picture” on the screen.  If you turn it off, the screen will be blank

* You don’t need to be connected to the Whispernet (the Kindle’s internet connection) to read.  Download the books, and then you can read them anywhere

* Hit the Home button after you finish reading, and before it goes to sleep.  This will help it know where you stopped

* Leave the Whispernet connection off unless you need it.  If you go to do something with that needs the Whispernet, the Kindle will ask you if it is okay to turn it on.  You won’t get your blogs, newspapers, and magazines without it on, though.  Turn it on, pick up your subscription items, turn it off again.  Having it on takes a lot more battery, and you usually don’t need it

* Recharge the battery in “the middle half”.  That’s when it’s not in the first quarter and not in the last quarter

* There are lots of free books, and they are really free.  That’s how you are going to avoid spending too much money with the 1-click purchasing

* Don’t squish your Kindle.  They are pretty hardy, actually (they tend to survive drops, although I wouldn’t test that), but the screen can be damaged by too much pressure on it

* Don’t let your Kindle get super-hot or super cold.  Normal use is fine…if you are comfortable, your Kindle is comfortable.  I wouldn’t leave it in a hot car, though

* The books you get from the Kindle store are automatically backed up for you at Amazon.  You can get to them from any of the devices on your account by going to the archives

* If your Kindle is lost or stolen, go to

and deregister it.  Don’t wait.  Also, call Amazon and tell them.

A few other points:

If your Kindle is having trouble, restart it: Home-Menu-Settings-Menu-Restart.

Search this blog for help on other issues (

Kindle Customer Service is great!  You can reach them starting here:

There’s a button on the side that says Contact Us.

You can call them at

 1-866-321-8851 (inside the US)

 1-206-266-0927 (outside the US)

UK Kindleers, call 0800 496 2449.

One more big thing…for any questions or opinions (lots of opinions) 😉 , try the

Amazon Kindle community

 You’ll typically get responses pretty quickly, and you’ll get all the news.  It can be a lot of fun…but it may be as addictive as your Kindle itself.  😉

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

Stop! Before you buy your first Kindle book…

August 27, 2010

Stop! Before you buy your first Kindle book…

A lot of you have Kindles on the way.  Buying Kindle books is super-easy (maybe a little too easy). 😉  You can even buy them before your Kindle arrives. 

Just check to see if it’s registered to your account already at

If it is, you can buy books for it…but wait a minute!  There’s an important decision to make besides, “What am I going to read first?”


You have to decide on which account you want the Kindle.

See, here’s the thing. 

You can share Kindle books.

Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.  You can pay $9.99 for a bestseller from the Kindle store and share it with one hundred people (more if you like)…entirely legally…within the rules.

There’s one big restriction, though.

They have to be on your account. 

Kindle books belong to the account on which they were purchased.

It doesn’t matter if the person who bought the book, the person who paid for it, is on the account any more or not.

You can pay for it, and your kids and grandkids and coworkers and friends can all read it.

But they have to be on your account.

There’s another major limitation, and that one is set by the publisher, on a per book basis.  That’s on how many devices* you have the book simultaneously.  Yes, you can have a hundred people or more on you account.  But you can only have the book on so many devices on the account at the same time.

Unless it says otherwise on the book’s Amazon Product Page, the number of devices on which you can have the book at the same time is six.  Some books have fewer device licenses (I’ve seen as few as 1), some are unlimited (those tend to be public domain ((not under copyright protection)) or independently published through Amazon’s Digital Text Platform). 

Even if the book has one license, though, all of the people on your account can read it.  They just have to take turns…just like with a paperbook.

But let’s say your Significant Other already has a Kindle and an Amazon account.  You’ve each got your own Amazon account…it’s how the two of you keep gifts secret from each other.  🙂  Your SO has already bought twenty books before your Kindle arrives.

Here’s what you have to decide:

Are you going to put your Kindle on your SO’s account (giving you access to the twenty books previously bought, and giving you both access to the books you buy in the future), or are you going to put in on your account?

Officially, you can’t combine the accounts later.  I’ve heard about Customer Service doing that, but don’t count on it.  They don’t have to do it.

Buy a book from the Kindle store when your Kindle is not on your SO’s account, and your SO doesn’t have access to it.

Now, I know there are some of you out there jumping up and down like Arnold Horshack, saying you can share Kindle store books with people not on your account.  They register the Kindle to your account, download the book, and then deregister.

The book does not disappear from the Kindle (again, despite what you may hear from people).

That absolutely works mechanically.

But is it okay?

I don’t know.

That’s the question Amazon won’t answer for me.  I’ve asked them different ways, even snail mailing the legal department. 

Amazon is usually very responsive…I love their Kindle Customer Service!

But apparently, they decline to respond to this one.

I’ll write more about that another time.  I know it’s against the Terms of Service to sell or give a Kindle with Kindle store content on it, but for now, I’m not going to recommend the register/download/deregister thing. 

Let me stress that it could be perfectly fine: I just don’t now.

Bottom line, if you register your Kindle to an account with another Kindle on it, you can share the books for sure…no questions asked.   All the Kindle store books bought on that account will be available to all of the devices on the account through the Amazon archives…even future devices.  You can redownload the books as often as you want, to the same device or others (with that simultaneous device license limitation, of course). 

There are advantages to having it on a separate account, too, don’t get me wrong.  For one thing, the money issue is clear.  If you’re on the same account with other people, you have to work out who is paying for what.  You can switch credit cards…but only from the computer, not from the Kindle.  You can buy gift certificates…but all that’s more complicated (although not too bad).

Also, you’ll both see what the other person is buying…there might be some surprises there.  🙂

So, before you buy your first Kindle book, you need to decide…on which account will your Kindle be registered?

* Other devices on your account could include: each Kindle for PC installation (two PCs, two devices); each Kindle for Mac installation; each iPad installation; each iPhone installation; each iPod touch installation; each Blackberry installation; each Android device installation.  If you have six device licenses, and put that book on a desktop, a laptop, and a Kindle, you’ve used up three licenses.

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

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