back to article Mystery Kindle update will block readers from books after Wednesday

Readers will be unable to download their purchased books or buy new ones without a computer handy if they fail to update their Amazon Kindles by Wednesday. Users of Kindle models older than 2013 will need to apply an update over their device's wireless connection to install a critical fix. Those who do not will be kicked from …

Silver badge
Coat

May restart several times?

sounds like the Kindles are getting Windows 10 rather than an update to the native OS.

Mines the one with a copy of 'Brave New World' in the pocket.

36
7
JDX
Gold badge

How can I tell if the update is applied?

Will the firmware version number reported change? Because Kindle doesn't tell you it has updated unless you go looking for it.

I've received no emails and I have a Kindle Keyboard 3g which surely pre-dates 2013...

2
0
Silver badge

Re: May restart several times?

Perhaps firmware updates are included and each fw requires a separate restart. Or the upgrade needs to repartition/trim the flash or just re-organize the storage in single-user mode before continuing after next restart.

Since the upgrade process is (hopefully) fully automatic, people in general couldn't care less whether the thing boots a dozen times or not as long as the upgrade works and it is over in reasonably short time.

3
0

I got an email for my Kindle Keyboard 3G

(well actually my sister has it now) - here's the full exciting text you missed:

Dear customer,

Your Kindle Keyboard (3rd Generation) requires an important software update to continue downloading e-books and using Kindle services.

This important update applies to Kindle e-readers released prior to 2014. Visit our Help page for a complete list of impacted devices: https://www.amazon.co.uk/ku2016?ref_=deveng_eicert

Follow these steps to receive the update:

1. Plug your Kindle in to charge during the update.

2. Connect to Wi-Fi.

3. From the Home screen of your Kindle, select Menu or tap the Menu icon. Then choose Sync and Check for Items.

4. Leave your Kindle connected to both power and Wi-Fi overnight, or until the update is complete.

The software update will download and install automatically, even if your device is asleep. Your device may restart multiple times during the update process. You will get a final confirmation letter on your device when the update is complete, which can be found in your Kindle Library.

If you do not update the device software by March 22, 2016, you will no longer be able to access Kindle services or get the update via connecting to a wireless network. To resume access, you will need to manually update the software on your Kindle. Please visit our Help page for more details on how to update automatically: www.amazon.co.uk/ku2016?ref_=deveng_eicert

!-----

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I no longer have or use my Kindle e-reader?

If you no longer have or use your Kindle e-reader, deregister it from your account today. After logging into your Amazon account, click on the Your Devices tab and select the Kindle e-reader you want to deregister. Click Deregister.

How do I connect to Wi-Fi?

You can find out more about connecting to Wi-Fi on our Help page (www.amazon.co.uk/ku2016).

How can I get help updating my Kindle e-reader?

For more information, visit our Help page (www.amazon.co.uk/ku2016).

!-----

Thank you for reading with Kindle, and be sure to connect your device to Wi-Fi regularly to receive all future software updates.

Sincerely,

The Amazon Kindle Team

© 2016 Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon, the Amazon logo and Kindle are trademarks of Amazon.com Inc. or its affiliates.

Amazon.co.uk is a trading name for Amazon EU S.a.r.l. (Luxembourg Registration Number B-101818, VAT Number LU 20260743) and Amazon Media EU S.a.r.l. (Luxembourg Registration Number 112767, VAT Number LU 20944528). Each company is located at 5 Rue Plaetis, L-2338 Luxembourg.

7
0

Re: How can I tell if the update is applied? @ JDK

Press the Menu button - you'll see the firmware version at the bottom. It needs to be 3.4.2

I've done mine but still keep getting alerts, so will see what happens tomorrow. I did it by downloading, but still kept getting alerts - I needed to resyn again to get the success file.

3
0
JDX
Gold badge

Re: How can I tell if the update is applied? @ JDK

Thanks. I think I've got 3.4.2 (and have had for ages!) so maybe this only affects people who never go online with their device.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: How can I tell if the update is applied?

"I have a Kindle Keyboard 3g which surely pre-dates 2013..."

Same here. And I jailbroke mine very early on just to get rid of those terrible pictures and install a nicer set.

I will be EXTREMELY annoyed if my Kindle stops working...

0
0

From the email

It'll seemingly leave you a letter on your device, when it's done.

0
0

Re: How can I tell if the update is applied?

"I have a Kindle Keyboard 3g which surely pre-dates 2013..."

Likewise. It took me almost five minutes to manually update it using the file on Amazon and a USB cable. I believe it rebooted once.

0
0

Re: How can I tell if the update is applied?

Mine updated, but I'm not entirely sure when. When I received the email I checked to see what version it had, it was up to date.

I plugged my partner's Kindle Keyboard 3 in and switched on the wifi a few nights ago, thinking I'd leave it overnight to pick up the update. About 10 seconds later it was done. No re-starts.

0
0

Re: I got an email for my Kindle Keyboard 3G

Thanks for posting this; my Wife never got this for her Kindle Keyboard 3G , neither in email nor in account messages. Go figure (eye-roll).

0
0
Silver badge

Re: I got an email for my Kindle Keyboard 3G

Since I got my Kindle several years back, I was paranoid that they might take my books away from me.

So I *always* download the kindle file and copy it across manually. That way they can't revoke anything and I have a local copy of every e-book I've purchased.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: I got an email for my Kindle Keyboard 3G

> Since I got my Kindle several years back, I was paranoid that they might take my books away from me.

> So I *always* download the kindle file and copy it across manually. That way they can't revoke anything and I have a local copy of every e-book I've purchased.

.

Well, you aren't allowed to do that with the Barnes & Ignoble "Nook" books. They decided you aren't allowed to back up your paid-for product, and the only MSWin applicatiion is their "Nook App" that runs under the Abomination-Formerly-Known-As-Metro (MSWin 8.x or 10 only). You despise 8 and 10? Too bad, you're not allowed to access your books anymore.

0
0
Silver badge

Will there be lawsuits?

Those who do not will be kicked from Amazon online properties, including the book store, and their cloud library of purchased books and documents.

Something tells me this will not go well.

18
0
Silver badge

Re: Will there be lawsuits?

Will there be lawsuits?

I doubt it. They've provided instructions on how to keep it working, and how to get it working again after the cutoff date. I can't see that much basis for legal action over what looks to me to be a marginal inconvenience affecting a few people. I'm sure that software updates, "no guarantee of service" and restricted user rights are all covered in the licence agreement that everybody acknowledges but never reads.

You can certainly question what it is that they are so keen to change on apparently working devices, and why failure to update should involve blocking access to content. guess is that the update is some DRM'y rubbish, and that's why they've concluded that it is worth causing inconvenience and forcing the update.

12
0
Happy

Bookerly, etc?

Surely this will be the long-awaited firmware update that brings Bookerly to 1st-gen Paperwhites? The article makes it sound sinister, but this update is long overdue so I'm guessing this is what it is. All my Kindle apps have Bookerly now so it would be great to finally get it on my Paperwhite.

Discalimer: I'm normally the guy sporting the tin-foil hat in the corner.

1
0

Re: Bookerly, etc?

@Blitterbug

A nice thought, but why would that require cutting access to anyone who hadn't applied the update?

The only three things I can think of that would actually warrant such heavy-handed tactics are:

  • Encryption update - SSL/TLS changes due to recent issues.
  • A new device that will require server-side changes that would not be compatible with older devices*.
  • DRM.
The interesting thing, to me, is that options 1 & 2 are, from a marketing perspective, good things. Increasing security is good and new features are, generally, also good - certainly there is no end of fanfare when any of our modern consumer electronic devices are endowed with even the simplest feature. (Or colour, or lightened by a gram.)

So why the odd silence about what this update is for? That silence leads the more cynical of us towards the thought that the changes are not desirable, from a user perspective, and thus the obvious candidate is extra/hardened DRM and/or compromising devices that are jailbroken.

Really, without more information, I will assume that this update adds a higher wall to the garden. Cyncial maybe but not unjustifiably so given that a 2014 update did precisely this and with similarly little information given to explain it.

* - Think, for example, how Outlook 2003 won't work with Exchange 2013 because of the requirement of autodiscover, which Olk 2003 doesn't support.

3
0
Black Helicopters

Re: Bookerly, etc?

All good points. As long as they don't 'vanish' any of my sideloads I'm still cool with it though... I think.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Same thing on Kindle for PC

Amazon is doing the same thing to Kindle for PC: If you don't update by April 1st, you are out.

My inner paranoid self keeps suggesting that the only reason one might do something like this is to change the DRM encryption across the entire client device fleet. So if you haven't yet de-DRMed the books you "bought" from Amazon, now may be the last chance. For a little while, that is.

Edit: I meant April 1st, not March 1st, of course

19
0

Re: Same thing on Kindle for PC

Had a similar-ish thought but not about DRM exactly. It seems to me that there is an effort to better find out what files are not store-bought for reporting purposes.

They should be pretty confident that they cannot convert a pirated book into a sale so to whom might they be reporting this data?

I want to say "/tinfoilhat" but I'm afraid that I can't convince myself to do it.

1
0
Silver badge

Could just be a matter they have to revoke their secure connection keys (perhaps they got hints on a potential key leak or crack) and pass along new ones, which of course brings about a case of passing along the new keys before the locks gets changed, so to speak.

8
0
Silver badge

"Could just be a matter they have to revoke their secure connection keys"

An update needing several reboots seems a bit excessive if it's nothing more than that.

0
0
Silver badge

Not if there's multiple keys and they need to check them one at a time, each one requiring a reboot.

1
0
Silver badge

Another likely reason for multiple rebooting may have to do with changing internal storage (perhaps encrypting or re-encrypting it), which would require at least one reboot to go into a maintenance mode so as to do it to the internal store in situ (in case there's not enough room to do it less-destructively) plus change the encrypted filesystem parameters to reflect this, then reboot into the new encrypted filesystem to continue the update.

0
0

Nope - it's to do with applying sequential patches to bring you up to the latest version.

If you go to the manual update section, it explains how to find out which version you're on and that you may need to manually update in stages. I was lucky - only had to apply one patch.

2
0
Silver badge

"Nope - it's to do with applying sequential patches to bring you up to the latest version."

That was my thought too. I don't think I've ever used my Kindle with the Amazon store, but I do sometimes remember, maybe once per year or so, to switch on the WiFi to see if there's any updates. It so happens I did so a week or three back and there was a single update that happened pretty much immediately. I'm not even sure if it rebooted, but the current firmware version is the one listed as the latest. I suspect the "may require multiple reboots" is just to cover for those Kindles which may, as you say, require multiple updates to bring them up to the latest version.

0
0
Silver badge

Only a cynic...

...would possibly link this to the bug whereby Kindle Unlimited could be gamped by creating a large book of utter rubbish, and then putting a tasty link at the first page, that sent the reader straight to the back page, thus causing the Kindle to mark all pages read and netting the, "author," a healthy wadge of the shared pie.

6
0
Silver badge

Expired certificate

I'm betting on an expired certificate and the update refreshes it with a shiny new one that's also ticking quietly away

I understand that the books use DRM

7
0
Silver badge

Re: Expired certificate

DRM is optional

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Expired certificate

> DRM is optional

Indeed it is. Most publishers, however, enable it[1]. And you (as an end-user) don't get a choice. If the books publisher wants encryption, then the book is encrypted, regardless of your preference.

[1] Honourable mention to Baen who *always* mandate that encryption is disabled.

1
0

Re: Expired certificate

Also Tor who also joined them last year after realising that piracy looses them very little in the long run.

1
0
Bronze badge

Non-cloudy thinking

This sort of thing reinforces my resolve to NOT have my data "on the cloud". One's entire library could be at the whim of the supplier. If the supplier closes your account, poof, there goes all of your books, movies, music, ad nausem.

35
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

Cloud is extra specially pointless for books. You could carry all the books you'll ever own on one microSD card.

39
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

The point has been made repeatedly: if it's on the cloud, or it has DRM, then you get to access it at the whim of the supplier. If, on the other hand, the file is unencrypted and stored on a local device, it's yours to do with as you will.

I'll stick with the Kobo and unencrypted epubs, thanks.

33
0
Silver badge

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

Kobo uses also DRM based ePub (evil Adobe)

Kindle also uses DRM free prc, mobi

Amazon AZW doesn't always have DRM, it's a publisher choice.

Smashwords sells DRM free for Kobo and Kindle.

I have a Kobo and Kindle, the Kobo is over priced, but I wanted the 6.8" with hi def for PDF manuals, marginally better than large 9.7" DXG for PDF. For books the paperwhite is best value at 1/2 the price.

Calibre (with a file import filter plugin) is your friend to buy DRM from Amazon or Kobo and read on you Kobo or Kindle and backup.

Never rely on a Cloud except for temporary collaboration.

21
1
Silver badge

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

Cloud is extra specially pointless for books. You could carry all the books you'll ever own on one microSD card.

Yeah, I love having my precious collection all on a single point of failure.

4
43
Anonymous Coward

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

"Yeah, I love having my precious collection all on a single point of failure."

Copy / Paste

It's a new technique, try it sometime.

34
1
Silver badge

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

Agreed. I haven't "bought" anything from the kindle store (I say "bought" as there are few £0 books purchased on there, they are still classed as sales. Plus a few free books via voucher codes) as I don't trust the online DRM happy store. The kindle was second hand and cheaper than a kobo (hence why I use a kindle). There are other DRM free stores out there and it is a cinch to convert to mobi if you can only find epub (buying DRM free epub from Kobo).

For other "must haves" then I buy a paperback rather than a DRM encumbered e-version.

2
1
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Non-cloudy thinking - SD card

I've had a really good look at my Kindle amd I can't see an SD card slot anywhere. So I'm not sure how this is relevant to my Kindle use.

I have various devices I use to read Kindle books including a mobile phone (which does have an SD card slot, although many don't) and a tablet (likewise). I share the Kindle between myself and my partner. We can both order (usually free) books from the Kindle store and have them available across all devices. So the "cloud" seems to work fine for this use case.

I could, of course, have a routine of connecting all devices via USB to for example Calibre to keep them up to date but why? If I am buying the eBooks from Amazon they already know about me and the books so I am missing the downside.

Or is this just a warning to back up your Kindle store to Calibre now and then?

2
4
Silver badge

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

"Yeah, I love having my precious collection all on a single point of failure."

Is it really that hard to keep your book collection in two separate locations so that one's ready in case the other fails? I do that for my multi-TB media collection using two hard drives, plus I use parity archiving to deal with bit rot.

Given 32GB MicroSDs can be hard pretty cheap these days, I don't see any problem with having two of them.

14
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

"There are other DRM free stores out there and it is a cinch to convert to mobi if you can only find epub (buying DRM free epub from Kobo)."

ePub as a format isn't that big an issue, as long as you use an unencumbered ePub (such from using Sigil), and there are ways to deal with protected ePubs leaving you with unencumbered ones.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Why you should not trust anybody's cloud

I could, of course, have a routine of connecting all devices via USB to for example Calibre to keep them up to date but why? If I am buying the eBooks from Amazon they already know about me and the books so I am missing the downside.

Perhaps this might help you to find it?

9
0
Silver badge

Re: Non-cloudy thinking -uSD

It would have to be - I like to go to connectionless places a lot. Like my house when it rains on the telephone wires.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

then look up the word "backup".

oh, I see, you've got "cloud" for that :D

4
0

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

I love having my precious collection all on a single point of failure

What, like paper? Fahrenheit 451 - just saying...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

The point has been made repeatedly: if it's on the cloud, or it has DRM, then you get to access it at the whim of the supplier.

Yes, Amazon Kindle could just choose to block your access to books that you've already paid for.

If they wanted to wipe out all reputation, goodwill, trust and destroy their business overnight.

2
11

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

To all the previous commentards:

Yes, I agree, Amazon / whoever having control of your purchased books is not great. On the other hand, for c.90% (or maybe more) of all the fiction I ever read I do not have an urge to read it again.

For reference publications, I am unlikely to buy those as .mobi files. They are more likely to be hard copy or pdf or something else I can access on multiple platforms.

Therefore not something I am losing any sleep over.

3
1
Silver badge

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

"Yes, Amazon Kindle could just choose to block your access to books that you've already paid for.

If they wanted to wipe out all reputation, goodwill, trust and destroy their business overnight."

Didn't you read about the whole Nineteen Eighty-Four copies being wiped from Kindles without explanation? I know, ironic, but it actually happened (and as you can see, El Reg itself covered it).

Funny thing. Amazon's still kicking. Plus what if something permanent were to happen to Amazon? All reputation, goodwill, and trust would vanish if Amazon itself disappeared (and given the pace of technology, stranger things have happened, like the #2 bookseller in America suddenly up and closing).

5
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

"Yeah, I love having my precious collection"

Any book I consider "precious" exists as a physical thing on a shelf in my study.

7
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

"Yeah, I love having my precious collection all on a single point of failure."

Copy / Paste

It's a new technique, try it sometime.

I take it, then, you've never had the pleasure of something like 64 gig SD card fail on you miles from anywhere? Oh, it's fun, especially when you need to access the damn datasheets on it to fix something.

Whilst I agree with a general anti-cloud stance, I've learned from bitter experience to keep copies of a number of my files on various freebie cloud storage services as well as my SD card (and carry backup SD cards as well).

2
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018