Monday, January 4, 2010

Sharing Kindle books on one account

The ability to share books under one account with up to 5 other Kindle-related devices is a popular topic on the various Kindle forums, as Amazon allows a Kindle book to be shared by up to 6 Kindle-related devices under one person's account, with the owner of that account responsible for all purchases/downloads of Kindle books for those devices.  When the device is registered to that owner's account, the understanding is that the account owner owns the device.

  This arrangement involves a lot of trust as the others sharing the account can purchase a Kindle book while the account owner pays for it.  I've mentioned in an earlier article that some take care of this with reimbursements via Paypal if the account owner has no interest in the book someone sharing that account ordered.

The main weekly interview for Len Edgerly's popular Friday podcast, The Kindle Chronicles, this week is with Len's wife Darlene and her friend/sister Deb, and the focus is on how they share their Kindle books on Darlene's account.  It's a spirited and detailed conversation.  Also interviewed is Tom, who uses the third device on Darlene's account.

They all explain how this works for them under Amazon's guidelines.  For the record, here is Amazon's language:
' Can I share content with other Kindles?

Books can be shared between Kindles, Kindle for PC, or iPhones that are registered to the same account.  There may be limits on the number of devices (usually 6) that can simultaneously use a single book.  Subscriptions to newspapers or periodicals cannot be shared on multiple devices. '
In the "Learn more" sections they add:
' Downloading to Multiple Devices

Content purchased from the Kindle Store can be downloaded to your Kindle, iPhone, or iPod touch as long as you've registered the device to the account that purchased the Kindle content.  There is no limit on the number of times a title can be downloaded to a registered device, but there may be limits on the number of devices (usually 6) that can simultaneously use a single book.

That means you can download and read your books on any Kindle device you own as long [as] you've registered each device to the account where your Kindle library is stored.

  You can see the items in your Kindle library and send downloads to your registered Kindles from the "Your Recent Orders and Individual Charges" section of the Manage Your Kindle page.  (Here's the Guide to using the management page.) '
One of the other "Learn More" links (written for the Kindle DX but applicable to the 6" Kindles and reworded a bit when the DX was released):
' You can see the items in your Kindle library under Archived Items on your Kindle and send downloads to your registered Kindles from the "Your Orders" section of the Manage Your Kindle page. '
It was mentioned in the broadcast that the Archives are at the end of the HOME screen listing of books and that you can scroll through pages to it.

  There are two shortcuts for the HOME page for this:
  1.  Set your Sorting to Titles (rather than Most Recent, say)
and type only the first letter of the 'book' or folder (in this case, Archived Items folder) -- and after inputting the first letter ("A"), click on the 5-way button. That'll take you to the first entry for that letter and you can NextPage until you see it.
  2.   Look at the bottom left of the screen.  Mine says "Page 1 of 18" and type the number for the last page.   In my case, I input 18.  Then click on the 5-way button and you'll get right to your last page of listings where you'll find Archived Items.

  That's the folder for Amazon-purchased books that you have in your library at Amazon but which are not on your Kindle.  Clicking on an item will download that book if wireless is turned on.  This will work only in areas where wireless is accessible by your Kindle of course.

  During the podcast, they explain that Darlene's request to be able to delete forever a purchased book from your Kindle Library at Amazon has been granted recently (right after her request on another podcast - powerful gal!).  This was requested by many on the forums too, and there had been thoughts that Amazon could get some flak if someone requested a deletion and then had a change of heart and wanted it back after Amazon had deleted it but now the customer would have to pay for another copy.  They put language in that we understand we'd have to pay for the book again if we need it after doing the permanent removal of the title.

But now a book you hate or might not want others on your account to see can be permanently deleted on the Manage your Kindle page.

  Additional Kindle owner experiences and more tips on how to use the Sharing-on-one-account feature are discussed at this Amazon Forum Kindle thread.

 One obvious thought is that if 2+ people are reading a book at the same time, you don't want to be using the same Last Page and bookmarks, so you'd need to turn off Whispersync, which is Synchronization between Devices (ON by default).  Here's how:
  1. Go to the Manage Your Kindle page.
  2. At the bottom of the page, look for "Manage synchronization between devices.  Learn more."  Select "Learn more."
  3. Select "Turn Synchronization off." '
This would mean that you couldn't, though, read a book on one of the Kindles, stop, and resume reading at the same page on your other Kindles or iPhone/iPod or PC later.

I probably should have broken this up into a couple of separate articles but it all seemed related to me.  Tomorrow's entry will be shorter.

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. We are new to the Kindle world. I just bought one for myself and 3 of my children. I will soon buy one for my husband and number 4 child. We use the sharing option which works great for us. My children are teens and have similar tastes in books, so it is nice for them to be able to share the books just as if I had bought a physical copy. The part that makes it even better than a physical book, is they can read the same book at the same time. We are loving our Kindle 2's. Thank you so much for this site, Andry's. It has really helped us learn about our new bibliophile lover's gadget.

  2. Courtney,
    How great that your entire family is using Kindles and sharing the books. Very smart. You must have done a lot of research.

    Thanks very much for the neat feedback!

  3. I did. The Nook was a contender, but the ability to share books registered to the same account and internet access, albeit primitive, were major selling points for me. We have a Sony Pocket Reader that I bought just to try out, but it doesn't even come close. My youngest will be using it until she is a teen, then I will probably move her to the Kindle.

  4. Courtney,
    Right. Too many don't realize the capabilities and benefits of sharing under a Kindle account for which one person is responsible.

    The Sony Pocket Reader is nice for people who want a shirt-pocket reader, light/basic without any study tools at all and no wireless of course. No dictionary or highlighting. But small and a good screen.

    The Kindle is a medium-sized powerhouse though. Don't miss the file for mobile-unit-optimized sites, at which lets you open a 'book' type file to get mobile-oriented links and to go to them from reading. No need for accessing "experimental" menu and the links are very good.

    Good job, Courtney, and thanks for the reminder re Archive Org's large collection of free books ready for the Kindle.
    Will add that to a couple of sections.

  5. I downloaded the mobiweb file before my Kindle 2 arrived, Andrys! I love it.

  6. BEFORE you got the Kindle, Courtney?

    Whoa, you really did research more deeply than most would. Glad you like it!

  7. I got my Kindle for Christmas and my husband and I often read the same books. We only have one Kindle, but we read at different times of the day, so it is not a problem for us. We only have a problem saving our respective places on the book. Is there a way to save two different pages on the kindle?

  8. To Nickname unavailable :-),
    There is only one way I can think of, as the mechanism just saves the very last page that was opened on it.

    When you finish a reading session, but before you close your book,
    press the Menu button and
    choose to "Make a note or highlight"
    and begin typing to make a note.

    You can choose a short word for each of you. Then precede that with something like the letter 'x' or 'q' to make it unique.

    Example: if your name is 'Ann' you'd choose something like 'xann' (or something shorter)
    and if your husband's name is 'Andy' he'd be 'xandy'... (or something shorter)

    What you'd type for your 'note' before closing the book is merely 'xann'

    The Kindle assigns a note-number somewhere on that page then wen you "Save" that note.

    Close the book.

    -- And the next time you open the book all you'd need to do is:
    press the Menu button and
    click on "My Notes & Marks" and it would show you that note location.
    Click on that and you'd be back at the page you were on when you were last reading.

    At that point, you'd cursor onto the note-number assigned on that page and the message at the bottom lets you DEL the note with the "Del" key (or Edit it with the Return/Enter key). In this case, you'd just press the "Del" key to remove the note.

    TIP: When the cursor is at the bottom of the screen, use the 5-way button to move down, and the cursor will wind up at the top of the page.

    Hope that helps!

  9. I just found out that the nook can share books with other nooks without being registered to the same account. Why can't or won't kindle do this? Is there a way to share a book with a friend that is not on your account:

  10. Anonymous,
    The Nook can share a book if the publisher allows that feature. About half of them don't.

    When they allow it, you can share a particular *once* with just one person, for 2 weeks, and then never again, with anyone. Not even if your friend didn't get to finish it in those 2 weeks.

    On the other hand, many who are good friends who trust one another share books on one account with the Kindle and can read the books at one time. They're probably more friends who are like family.

    If you followed my link in this story you would have gotten other ideas such as the one under "an earlier article" - which takes you to the link I just gave again. It has links to Kindle customer threads that you can read to get ideas what others are doing.

  11. We have 9 different devices (Kindles, iPhones, iPads) that we share on a single kindle account. We only download the book that we are reading,so there is usually only 2-3 copies of the book downloaded from archives at any one time. Does the number of registered devices matter, or the number of copies of any one book downloaded at one time matter? Thanks for the help.

  12. triplecapp,
    You can have as many devices as you want but a book can be on only a limited number of those devices at one time and that's dictated by the publisher.

    Average limit is up to 6 devices at one time. So you're fine with 3 devices holding it at the same time (unless the publisher doesn't want even as much as 3, but that's rare). There is one publisher who limits it to 4 devices at one time but I can't remember the name of the publisher.

    When you reach a limit, there'll be a message on the Kindle to that effect.

  13. I now have 2 kindles in our family, but my wife and I have titles that we do not want to share with the other kindle as it is our children's kindle. Can we prevent it from sharing "specific" books?

  14. From what I understand, customer service has helped people deregister their children's Kindles so that they don't see their parents' books.

    When they are to get a new book, the parents REGISTER their Kindles again to send a book to them and then they DE-register them (until the next time).

    You can ask others though, to be more certain about this, at the

  15. My boyfriend and I have just started sharing a Kindle account. I am finding that not only did my own books continue to download anew, after multiple times deleting them, now HIS books are being loaded onto my Kindle without my ever having requested them. I delete them, and the next time I enable Wi-Fi, there they are again. It's only a nuisance at 1 or 2 books, but would be unmanageable once his library becomes very large. How do I prevent his books from loading onto my Kindle and vice-versa?

  16. KG,
    Just a guess, but I would turn off the "Synchronization" feature between your Kindle devices.

    Go to Manage Kindle Device Synchronization page to turn OFF your synchronization feature when two Kindlers are sharing the same account.

    NORMALLY, when you delete a book that you purchased from Amazon, the Amazon system ARCHIVES the book and it then shows up in your "Archived Items" folder or grouping. That means it's deleted from your Kindle but is available as a download from the server if you need it again (free download).

    But your books seem to be somehow landing on the top Home page, which I've not heard of before.

    When either of you buys a book, you designate the Kindle device that gets it. It shouldn't arrive on the other device unless the title is clicked on in the "Archived Items" folder (an action which causes a separate download to your Kindle).

    So try that link and turn off Synchronization and let me know if it worked. Good luck on it.

  17. Hello, I'm hoping you can help with a question about how to share Kindle notes/highlights with others. I have a Kindle but solely use Kindle for Mac to read and take notes. I know there is a public notes feature now, but I do not want my notes/highlights available to anyone; I want to specify who can see them. I suppose I could register another person's Kindle to my Amazon account, though that would only work for a few people. By registering someone else's Kindle to my account, would we merely be sharing books, or can they also see my notes/highlights? My motivation for asking this is that I want to share the notes I take on the business books with all my direct reports. There's got to be another way besides copy/paste!

  18. Anonymous,
    The Public Notes help-page will give you more detail on what is possible and what isn't. A couple of things they say:

    "Turning Public Notes on or off from your device will not make your notes visible. You have to turn on Public Notes for a book through our website before anyone else can see your highlights and notes in that book.
    . . .
    To share a single Public Note:
    You can make any highlight or note a Public Note, without setting Public Notes for that book online.
    . . .
    Only this single highlight or note will be shared with other readers following you. You have to turn on Public Notes for the entire book to make all your notes and highlights from that book public."

    In all that, there's nothing about letting only certain specific people see the highlighting ad/or notes. So, that's out.

    As far as sharing an account, the notes taken for a book for each device are in a secondary file on those separate devices.

    From what I've seen, the individual Annotations webpage is done for the individual's account rather than for the one overall account-owner's since the notes go with the individual device.

    HOWEVER, the account-owner would have to be sure to the page to TURN OFF SYNCHRONIZATION of the devices so they don't all get the same last-page and notes...

    That's all done at the bottom. But I'm not 100% sure of how this all works. So it's good to ask Amazon's Kindle support.

    You can go to Kindle Community forums.

    Sorry I can't give a better answer.

  19. I live in Guatemala, and have no wifi for my kindle.
    I also have Kindle for PC.
    How can I order a book from Amazon and send to both kindle and pc.
    I cant seem to find the correct file to copy to the kindle from the PC. Downloads go directly to PC Kindle and I dont know how to move it from there

  20. Jim,
    You'd order via the PC with your Internet connection. When you choose where to send it, I think you choose your computer.

    Then you go to the Manage Your Kindle page where you'll open up the "+" sign to expand the book info at that page, lower left.

    Then you select to download the new ebook to your computer FOR a specific Kindle that you are asked to choose when downloading a book.

    You probably have Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac -- you would choose to download another copy (no added cost) to your Kindle for (pc or mac) app on your compute.r They are assigned specific numbers so you have to download one for each.

    You use the USB cable to attach your Kindle to one of your computer's USB ports and then transfer the Kindle-book copy to your Kindle's "document" folder.

    But to get BETTER help with the detail you'll need, you should go to the Kindle forums and any question you ask will have several answers within minutes often, night or day.

  21. I am a member of a bookclub and we'd like to share books. We have a combination of iPads, iPods, and Kindles. Is this possible? We don't share the same internet address. Thank you. Megan

  22. Anonymous,
    If you put all your devices on one account which belongs to a member who will take the responsibility of paying for books ordered by all, and if the number of devices, total, on that account don't exceed what the publisher allows to use a given book at the same time (normally up to 6), then, yes it can be done.

    People normally have Kindle for PC or Mac and also their own smart phone devices and other family members' devices on the account already though.

  23. Hello,

    I was wondering if any given Kindle device can be registered to more than one account. For instance, my husband bought a Kindle a year ago and he has his own account. Can he add my kindle device to his and I add his device to my account? We both have already bought books that we don't want to delete, but would like to share books with each other on occasion. Thank you for your help.

  24. Krista,
    Sorry I missed this when it came in.

    A Kindle device can be registered to only one Account at a given time.

    However, if you register your Kindle to your husband's account or vice versa, you can both share ALL of the main Account Holder's Kindle books.

    And then there is the feature that if a publisher allows one-loan of a book (always for only 2 weeks though and then never again), the one whose account is not accessed by the other's Kindle can loan a publisher-permitted Kindle book to the other for two weeks.

    Does that help? Let me know if it's not clear.

  25. My post was NOT very clear. You both seem to want to have individual accounts.

    For that reason, neither of you would likely want to have your Kindle ON the other's account rather than on your own (although you can both share ALL books if you had only one account, actually).

    But, with different accounts, you each can loan "loanable" books to the other, with the limitation that if a publisher allows loaning a book to another Kindle (too often not the case), it's loanable only for one time to anyone (forever) and only for 2 weeks.

    Hope this is clearer.

  26. Hi, very helpful site. I want to buy a kindle for my aunt in another state I have to get her the 3g, she has no wifi. It will be on my account, can i just have the kindle sent to her and have her turn the 3g on and i can then send her all the books in my library or do I need to have it sent to me to download all books from library? In the future when i get books I will be able to have them sent to both kindles right? Thank you

    1. Anonymous, have your aunt register it as a Kindle on YOUR account (or tell customer service to do this, call them at 866-321-8851. Then she has access to all your Kindle books. They'll show up in her "Archived Items" folder and she would just click on the ones she wants on the device for the moment or whatever. Yes, in the future they can be sent to both Kindles. :-)

    2. Glad you're finding the site helpful. Thanks for letting me know.

  27. Hey, thanks so much for the tip on "sharing". I've had a kindle for quite a while now and just bought one for my mom with the intention of lending my books to her. I didn't realize that such a small selection of books were lendable and was thinking about returning the second kindle. This works perfect!!!

    1. Anonymous, thanks for the feedback. Yah, it's definitely a good feature!

  28. Help! I have books on my kindle that I had from a shared account. Now that I have my own account I want to add these books to my account. Can I transfer them from my kindle TO my Amazon account.

    1. Anonymous, when you were on the other account, you were able to share the books that person purchased.

      Once you're on your own account, your device isn't connected to the other person's account and library anymore, so you lose access to those books, which were for one account, which could share up to 5 or 6 copies of a book with other account members, depending on publisher stipulations...

      If the books are loanable (depends on the publisher and most large ones don't allow loans), then the other account owner can loan you one but for no more than 2 weeks total and then the other account owner isn't allowed to ever loan that book again to anyone. This is by publisher rules.

      Sorry for bad news. Hope it works out for you otherwise.

  29. Another thought on sharing highlights and notes.... they all go to your My Notes and Highlights page ( This is a wonderful feature if you like to post book reviews! From there you could copy and paste them into something like a Dropbox file or a Google Docs shared file. It would not be automatic, but it would be fairly easy to do.

  30. Carmen, good point and I guess I should add a link to my article on that, at

    And now that they've changed the page since Dec 2009, I should use the direct link to our annotations, which I find more cumbersome to browse on our annotation pages than they used to be...


  31. How do i get a book from my friend iphone kindle to my samsung kindle. Please

    1. Anonymoous, there are two ways:
      1. A Loan:
      The owner of the book does the action on it -- in this case, loaning it to you (or two weeks max) if the publisher allows the Kindle book to be loaned (and loaning a Kindle book can be done only once, ever, by the usual publisher rules when loans are allowed).

      Your friend would go to Amazon's ManageYourKindle page and go to the Kindle book listing and designate it to be loaned to you.

      2. Sharing an account as described in this blog article
      If your friend owns an account that your device is a part of (she or he pays the bills), then you can read the books in your friend's Cloud or Acct. It's a risk for the account owner...

      Hope that helps...

  32. My husband just got a Kindle which was purchased from our account. I've had mine a while. When he turned on the Kindle, all of my books, documents, photos, etc. appeared on his Kindle. Also, the Imdb on his Kindle is registered to my email account, not his and I do not see a way to log out and log in as his. It seems that the Imdb app is associated with our Amazon account which is in my name. In addition, my music and photos started downloading onto his smart phone (Galaxy S4). He is not happy with that. We were excited for him to get his own Kindle, but it seems, it is a mirror image of mine and it's like I just handed him my Kindle. So, what is the point of having a second Kindle if it is not unique to him? We have Prime and if he got his own Amazon account, we would have to pay a second Prime fee, which is ridiculous as we live in the same house and already pay for Prime membership.

    1. Anonymous, it sounds as if he has his top bar options set to CLOUD rather than to DEVICE. This means that he would be seeing what your account had bought and had available for him to download to his device from that Cloud area. Is that it? I have several Kindles and they don't download my stuff automatically.

      On the app, once he downloads it from app to his device, I've not looked at that for separate people.

      For complex questions call Kindle Support at 1-866-321-8851 for a support rep pickup within a few rings.

      If you prefer to have them call you (almost always within a few seconds) you can also use the 'Contact Us' button which takes you to their ContactUs options area

      If you can, let me know if they solve your dilemma.

  33. Andrys, my sister came to visit me for 2 months. She forgot her kindle at home. I have Kindle on my pc, can she access her books on my pc under her account?

    1. Marianne, your Kindle for PC tends to be seen as another "kindle device" on your own account, and the books on your 'device' are on your PC in that case.

      What your sister can do, though, is use "Kindle for Web" which allows you to read your Kindle items on any web browser It has somewhat fewer features than the Kindle app, but you can use it on anyone's computer.

      . You can read about that here, in the blog article dated Dec. 7, 2010.

      Amazon described it as: "Your reading library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights are always available to you no matter where you bought your Kindle books or how you choose to read them.”

      It's now referred to as Kindle Cloud Reader and that last is a link direct to Amazon's area for that. Note that it asks you to enable it for "offline" reading but you can just cancel out of that if you'd prefer that she just read while online rather than have the book on your computer.

      Hope that helps.

  34. Hi there - we have 6 kindles (and also use kindle apps on ipads, pc, etc). I have reached the six book limit on many titles - but cant seem to find a way to centrally determine which kindles have a copy of the book, so I can go delete the books from the kindles that don't really need it. Any ideas ?

    1. Mike, I haven't found a place for that info either and wish they had it !!! Since I started with Kindle 1, you can imagine. However, there are Kindles I don't use as much and definitely I bring only one of them OUT with me and that's the important one to have the books I want currently, since WiFi is not exactly everywhere no matter what some say. So I go to the least used Kindle and sort it alphabetically and search for the book on the Device. If it's there, then I delete it and I then SYNC (or Sync and Check) the device so that the servers see that I've deleted itl.
      On my PC / laptop and less-used mobile devices, I keep only what's needed currently. It takes only a few seconds to re-download any book from the server and it's less of a headache for me that way. But I do like seeing a library of current books on the most-used one. For one thing I have a lot of reference books and that's one of the pluses of an e-reader or tablet for me.
      Then it's available for the current device I want it on. Hope that helps a bit.

  35. A friend has offered to lend me her Paperwhite Kindle for an extended trip my wife and I are taking. My wife will have a Kindle. My friend tells me I can pay her back for any books I purchase. Is it safe to derigster the kindle from my friend's account, then register it to my wife's account, then re-register it to my friend's account at the end of the trip? I would rather still have access to the books at the end of the trip, so would rather have an account of my own, or share an account with my wife.
    Thank you for any clarification on this!
    Harry Dennis

    1. Harry, not sure but it seems your wife already has a Kindle and an account and you'll be borrowing someone's Paperwhite. You'd want any books you read to be on your wife's account, which you can share. For that she'd need to register the 2nd device under her existing account although you'd be mainly the one using that second Kindle.

      Deregistering the Kindle will not necessarily eliminate your friend's books from the friend's Kindle (this is a plus if it's still true). But the new books purchased would be bought by your wife and once the trip is ended, she would still own them and would be able to access them. And you could too if sharing the account.

      Will try to reach you at Google+ since I'm replying to notes a bit late.

    2. Wasn't able to write there, so I hope you get a notification of this reply.

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