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 …

  1. Steve Davies 3 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.

    1. 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...

      1. goldcd

        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.

        1. Citizen99

          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).

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon 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. jelabarre59 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.

              .

              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.

      2. Dapprman

        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.

        1. 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.

        2. goldcd

          From the email

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

      3. Anonymous Coward
        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...

        1. Pristine Audio

          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.

          1. Adrian Jones

            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.

    2. Sandtitz 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.

  2. Ole Juul 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.

    1. Ledswinger 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.

      1. Blitterbug
        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. dan1980

          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.

          1. Blitterbug
            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.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    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

    1. BasicChimpTheory

      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.

  4. Charles 9 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.

    1. Doctor Syntax 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.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

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

        1. Charles 9 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.

          1. PatientOne

            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.

            1. John Brown (no body) 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.

  5. msknight 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. Dwarf 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

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Expired certificate

      DRM is optional

      1. CrazyOldCatMan 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. John McCallum

          Re: Expired certificate

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

  7. MachDiamond Silver 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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Nick Kew 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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. Danny 14 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.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              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.

          2. Charles 9 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.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            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).

            1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

              Re: Non-cloudy thinking

              > 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).

              .

              Well that is really the only valid usage of "cloud". A central location for replicating files you want accessible from multiple devices. Just not as your *only* copy. Synchronize the files regularly (if it's not an automatic process) and periodically copy the sync directory to a non-synced backup location.

              Would that I could do *automatic* exports of all my Google Docs; have to manually save each one on a weekly basis, because even the MSWin Google Drive utility only creates symlinks to the docs, not full files.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Non-cloudy thinking

          then look up the word "backup".

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

        3. Tony Paulazzo

          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

        4. IsJustabloke 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.

      2. David Roberts 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?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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?

      3. Tom 7 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.

      4. mdava

        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.

      5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Non-cloudy thinking

        > You could carry all the books you'll ever own on one microSD card.

        You sure about that? My ebook library[*} is will over 50GB. And that's a small sub-section of all the books I own[**]

        [*] Calibre, I heart you. And the convenient plugin that lets me read .azw books on my Kobo..

        [**] And the many, many boxes of books will attest to that - most of which I don't have shelf space for without turning at least one of my bedrooms into a non-Euclidean space..

      6. jelabarre59 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.

        .

        Presuming the tablet maker hasn't been so assinine as to *not* include a microSD on your tablet (hello Apple and Google).

        The "cloud" is good as a backup storage, and as a way to make the same files available on all your systems. But I much the Dropbox form of "cloud" where their servers merely act as a synchronization host, and the files are available locally

    2. Neil Barnes 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.

      1. Mage 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.

        1. Rob Crawford

          Nope it's not entirely publisher choice

          Periodicals MUST have DRM, the guys at 2600 are not at all happy about the must have DRM (it also enforces a limited number of editions on the device, so it deletes older editions and you have to redownload them)

          If you unsubscribe then you lose all purchased material.

          Needles to say 2600 printed my letter describing how to unDRM their publication

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Non-cloudy thinking

          > Smashwords

          Do they allow the inhabitants of these Hallowed Isles to buy? Almost all of the other ebook sites (US-based ones anyway) won't..

      2. werdsmith 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.

        1. Charles 9 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).

          1. dkjd

            Re: Non-cloudy thinking

            tbh If amazon rescinded 95% of my ebooks and gave me a refund (like they did then) then the only difference to my future life would be more money for beer. A lot of beer, probably, and I could buy hardbacks of the few books I actually want to re-read.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            @charles9

            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).

            Not really what I was getting at, but please yourself.

            Somebody chose to take an exaggeration literally. On The Register comment forums. Who'd have thought?

        2. Archivist

          Re: Non-cloudy thinking

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

          You mean like this:

          http://www.pcworld.com/article/168654/kindle_e_book.html

        3. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Non-cloudy thinking

          @ werdsmith Seems to be how Microsoft do it.

        4. Andy Mc

          Re: Non-cloudy thinking

          What, like B&N have just (last week) done to Nook owners: Bye, bye says B&N

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Non-cloudy thinking

            'What, like B&N have just (last week) done to Nook owners: Bye, bye says B&N'

            As a Nook owner, all I can say is...and nothing of value was lost.

        5. John Tserkezis

          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."

          You seem to have forgotten the likes of "1984", "Animal Farm" and the like, when they were unceromoniously yanked from the user's feet.

          Did you forget about those? No? Look it up. What's that? You did forget after all, well, there you go.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Non-cloudy thinking

      I understand where you are coming. Personally I have multiple off site backups of my server however it's apparent that most people (me included) don't seem to share your concern about content in the cloud.

      Look at the model that serves the PC games market where Steam has just about cornered the market. You pay for the game (and it costs a lot more than a book) download it from Steam (cloud), play the game and delete it the moment you need the disk space for another game safe in the knowledge that should you ever want to play it again you can just download it again. Very very few people are anal enough to backup a copy of their downloaded game as the perceived risk is too small to be worth the effort.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Non-cloudy thinking

        "...safe in the knowledge that should you ever want to play it again you can just download it again."

        Unless their download allowances prevent them from downloading it again. Some of those games can get pretty big, you know?

        Because of this, once I download a game from Steam, I keep an offline backup so as not to hammer my data allowance. And given my collection these days runs to near two terabytes, it's only considered prudent given most data allowances are only in the gigabyte range.

  8. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Not very user friendly

    My elderly mother was rather panicked by the message which, fortunately I'd intercepted as her Kindle claimed to be up to date but in fact had not reached the version apparently required. Had to manually download and install the final step of the upgrade.

    My mother only turns the (3G) WiFi on when rarely she wants to buy a book - she also only turns on her mobile if she wants to make a call. I suspect this process may reveal to Amazon that a greater proportion of their customers than they imagined are not "always on".

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Not very user friendly

      Damn, I can just see the headache as I sort my dad out, while he moans on and on about technology never working.

      1. Ian Watkinson

        Re: Not very user friendly

        You mean as you pass your Dad the free phone Amazon support number, and to be fair to amazon, they support their sometimes 5 year old devices for nothing.

        Apple are pretty good at support too, but try getting support on an Iphone 3G now, for free.(via the phone)

        For that matter, try getting a security update on an Iphone 3g.

        Android, meh, try getting an update on an devices that's more than 90 days old (Huawei looking at you here) as loads never get security updates from the manufacturer at all. (I know some like Nexus devices do, but almost all the 'droid manufacturers, seem to have a device that was "hard to update" so they decided to quietly renege on promises, or decide that updates for 2 years wasn't what they meant...

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Not very user friendly

        Not always on indeed. I have two Kindles, one is hiding somewhere, I haven't seen it for about a year. It will be languishing somewhere with a flat battery, I doubt I'll find it before Wednesday. So that's buggered then.

        1. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: Not very user friendly

          ISTR my mother telling me recently that she doesn't know where her Kindle is - I can't remember how long ago I bought it for her, so I've no idea if it will be affected by this.

          The reason she told me is because I asked if she'd used the last gift voucher I'd bought for her, which she hadn't; being able to buy books is quite an important part of doing that.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      People that are 'not always on'

      Are not the people these companies want as customers especially Amazon.

      with the 'we thought you might like?' suggestions and ad slinging even when the screen is locked (Windows 10), the modern paradyme is that you have to be always connected 27/7/52.

      how else can you see what others are saying about you on (anti-)social media? how else can the ad slingers send you adverts for fast food joints that you are about to pass? etc etc etc

      Be brave (like the mother quoted) and turn off your internet connection. You never know, you might discover a life.

      now back to work and to fill out my timesheet so that big Bro can see what I've ( or not) been doing in the past week.

      1. DaddyHoggy

        Re: People that are 'not always on'

        27/7/52???

        Either you mean 27th of July 1952 or you have a special version of a day which is 27hrs long?

        It's interesting watching my 14yo and 8yo daughters finding a natural balance between online and offline existences - both have multiple out-of-school activities that populate their evenings and weekends, but both have an active online presence too. The 14yo mostly lurks of FB and Twitter, but is an active user of Instagram. The 8yo, under supervision, manages her own Twitter and Instagram profile - this is the world they live in - used well and appropriately it allows my chronically shy 8yo to interact with her few real friends in a way that she struggles to do so in real-life. Social media is a tool, which when used well can do remarkable things.

        Life is what you make of it, online or offline.

        PS It's 'paradigm'.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: People that are 'not always on'

        "the modern paradyme is that you have to be always connected 27/7/52"

        Twenty seven hours in a day? Oh crap, don't tell management...they'll want me to work some of them!

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: People that are 'not always on'

          "Twenty seven hours in a day? Oh crap, don't tell management...they'll want me to work some of them!"

          I think that only applies inside Amazon warehouses. It;s how they beat the minimum wage laws :-)

          (allegedly)

    3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Not very user friendly

      Weirdly one of our three Kindles (all basic models from circa 2012) stubbornly refuses to update after a week of trying, whereas the other two were either already up to date (mine was already on v4.1.3, daughter's was on v4.0 and updated automatically within hours). I suspect it may be because it's on the last-but-one version (v4.1.2) and so may not be a priority, or only the major and minor version really matter.

      I'm planning to update it manually soon anyway, it's just an oddity.

      1. Robert Ramsay

        Re: Not very user friendly

        I have two keyboard Kindles in my house - one of them updated without a hitch, the other one stubbornly refused and had to be USB'd into submission...

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Not very user friendly

      I suspect this process may reveal to Amazon that a greater proportion of their customers than they imagined are not "always on".

      I think that might well be a fairly important point. After all, an e-book reader is the one device where users almost certainly want the maximum battery life and have the least need to be connected while it's in use.

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Coat

    OTA vs USB

    USB based updating is safer and more reliable. It's not difficult.

    Download update

    Copy via USB

    Disconnect and run menu option to update.

    I almost never use OTA anyway, but download books I buy, import to Calibre, connect Reader to Calibre.

    I back up my Calibre Library. This way my reading habits on Kobo or Kindle can't leak and I don't depend on anyone's Cloud. I do buy some books from Amazon, but most of my paper ones are from charity shops and eBooks from gutenberg.org and archive.org I buy as much books as I can afford.

    The only update my Kindle DXG has had was in 2013 when it was bought, I doubt it's getting an update. The free 3G might be useful if I travelled (only Wikipedia & Amazon, all else is 60M limit a month), but I don't.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: OTA vs USB

      as long as the checksum routines are robust it is no safer to hang a full sized usb stick via a small micro USB vs downloading an update overnight via dial-up.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: OTA vs USB

        Plus remember, some people with tablets and e-readers don't have computers.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: OTA vs USB

          They are not too likely to have WiFi & Broadband and no PC of any kind?

          If you have no PC at all*, then a 3G Kindle is worth while. Curiously I know of one person that managed to get PC World to connect his Kindle.

          [ANY OS supporting USB storage and Web Downloads will work to put content on/off a Kindle, unlike Apple's iThings, possibly even some tablets]

        2. xenny

          Re: OTA vs USB

          What are tablets and e-readers if not computers, abacuses with fancy displays?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost 500 books - for which I paid little..

    Argh. The Kindle already had an update recently which changed the user interface. Not that it actually improved anything as far as I've been able to tell, it just added a lot of pointless options à la Microsoft which you then had to hunt down and kill off in the interface.

    Having said that, maybe the search will now work, must try that later.

    According to the Paperwhite I have, I have close to 500 books in there but they're all fiction.

    The reason for not using it for anything serious is its total lack of structure in its storage. If it is difficult to arrange books/information in a way that makes them easily accessible, it becomes impossible to use it for anything serious. Its defective user interface has effectively degraded an brilliant idea to leasure-and-loo only reading, and the books I have in there are all Bookbub links (so either free or cheap) as a consequence.

    If the latest update improves on this, cool. It may turn it into a useful reference device after all. If it doesn't, I may just continue with only finishing what's already in there. Not that that was the original plan, but it's either that or hacking the thing to make it do something useful. Knowing me it'll probably be the latter..

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: 62 PAGEs of books

      There are "Collections" on Kindle and Kobo.

      Sadly not hierarchical. But a book can be in more than one (say Westerns and Romance).

      It took me a while to figure out how to have a book in a collection on Calibre (best way to organise) automatically be in that on Kindle/Kobo. You need to make an extra column and change settings on Calibre.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: 62 PAGEs of books

        a simple "hide books that have not been put into collections" would suffice.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: 62 PAGEs of books

          The books not in collections are listed after collections, in collections view. At least on Kindle DXG ver 2.5.8 firmware.

    2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Almost 500 books - for which I paid little..

      Sadly, the freeware reader app for Android is a lot more flexible, responsive, and feature-rich than the native one on a Kindle device. That said, the last update of the Android app seems to have no effect except that it now crashes on the first launch and I have to launch it again immediately. And do I really need to be reminded how to use it at every launch?

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Almost 500 books - for which I paid little..

      "The reason for not using it for anything serious is its total lack of structure in its storage"

      As other have pointed out, there is the Collections feature. And anything which allows you to sort by age or read/not/read and move books easily into or between collections already has some advantages over the storage structure of a bookcase :-)

  11. Dave Bell

    Email? What Email?

    I've just checked.

    No sign of any email from Amazon on updates.

    I heard about this from my brother.

    It's new to me that there is a Kindle for PC update. No email yet on that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Email? What Email?

      I had an email about updating my kindle at least a month ago. It may have been longer, I seem to have deleted the email since then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Email? What Email?

      I've just checked.

      No sign of any email from Amazon on updates.

      I heard about this from my brother.

      From what I've been able to find, the most recent Kindles will NOT get an update. It turns out the most crucial element is a certificate update, hence the omission of newer devices.

      It is quite possible that Amazon knows which version you have, and will only email you if you indeed need that update.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Email? What Email?

      Older Models (than 2013) won't get an email if you already are up to date. The firmware on some models IS since 2013, but not at all new.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201994710

      1. DaddyHoggy

        Re: Email? What Email?

        Ah...

        Having finally charged five year old Gen 4 Kindle up, visited settings and discovered it's running 4.1.3...

        Perhaps I upgraded in the past and haven't remembered doing so.

        Certainly explains lack of email from Amazon.

  12. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    tin foil hats required

    they need to push the TLA spyware to notify the authorities when the data subject is reading prohibited material.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: tin foil hats required

      How does that help when people import their own e-books (not guaranteed to match any signatures)?

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: tin foil hats required

        "How does that help when people import their own e-books (not guaranteed to match any signatures)?"

        Bleeding edge new tech, that. We like to call it simply "plain text search".

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: tin foil hats required

          Which doesn't help too well if the text has strange formatting. Plus in order to do a plain text search, you need excerpts from the "forbidden publications" themselves, meaning the fuzz will be caught in an entrapment situation by holding excerpts of forbidden material themselves in order to search for more forbidden material.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Meh

            Re: tin foil hats required

            So, it will be legal for the Police and other Authorities

  13. David Roberts Silver badge

    Or later?

    The linked page (thanks) lists "{version} or later".

    This caused a few moments of mild paranoia until I confirmed that the version quoted was the latest version.

    The inner pedant is now grumbling. I assume that the information is supposed to stay unchanged and so allows for future versions.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not all Kindles

    My Kindle is happily running update 3.4.2 which the Amazon web site assures me is the latest version for this particular model (i.e. the original one).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not all Kindles

      Well that scored low on both the accuracy and usefulness meters - sorry about that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not all Kindles

      My keyboard one is also on 3.4.2. Phew. Annoyance over. Just fitted a new battery too, and glued the cracks in the plastic frame at the corners of the screen together...Good for ten years at least.

  15. TomH72

    It's just a CA update

    See http://the-digital-reader.com/2016/02/09/amazon-now-demanding-that-you-update-your-old-and-very-old-kindle/ where people unpacked the update and figured out it is just updating the list of root certificates, most likely because they are replacing the certificates on the servers the kindle talks to on the date in question.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: It's just a CA update

      As someone noted, though, the Kindle reboots multiple times in so doing. Why would this be necessary for a key change unless something else is happening internal to the device?

      1. andy 10

        Re: It's just a CA update

        "As someone noted, though, the Kindle reboots multiple times in so doing. Why would this be necessary for a key change unless something else is happening internal to the device?"

        I believe there is a minimum supported firmware version before it can install the March 2016 update so if you haven't updated for a very long time there may be multiple updates...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And folks wonder why I won't use one.

    I don't want to merely rent the books in my library, I want to own them, to read them anywhere & anytime I choose, & to do so on any device capable of rendering it.

    Your DRM can KMA as I'll use whatever means necessary to strip it out & leave me with an unencumbered file, because I refuse to rent my stuff. See that hard drive where the archival copies are stored? I'll load, reload, sideload, or otherwise upload any of them to my device, it's NOT your business to tell me I can't.

    The manufacturer (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't get to dictate what I do with the stuff I buy, I've bought it & I'll do with it whatever I damn well please.

    "But you've only rented it! It's our property!" No, I *bought* it, your lease can fek off, & my DRM-stripped archival copy will never be removed from my system because YOU said it should.

    Project Gutenberg is perfect for the classics, others are good sources for current choices, and it doesn't matter a fly fart in a typhoon, *I* dictate what I'll read, thankyouverymuch.

    "Well, we'll ban you from using our services then, you... you PIRATE!"

    Fine. Be sure to find every single account I've generated over all the various IP address', through all the different proxies, squirreled away via VPN's, and obfuscated in more ways than you can count. Because for each account you delete, I'll generate a dozen more & use them to download another couple of gigs worth of content. Oops, you've managed to shut one down? Looks like I'll just have to keep grabbing stuff via one of the others then. *Snerk*

    You want my money in exchange for an e.book? Then I want it to be *MY* e.book, useable anytime, anywhere, on any device I choose. Don't like it? Too damned bad. I'm the customer & without my money, you're just another failure to evolve.

    *Rude gesture*

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: And folks wonder why I won't use one.

      Import the Amazon books into Calibre via a suitable extra plug-in*

      Make backups

      It's a PUBLISHER decision, not Amazon's if a book has DRM. Anyone can publish on Amazon without DRM.

      [*Best if you live outside the USA]

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, this update has bricked my kindle keyboard. Thanks for nothing Amazon

  18. DaddyHoggy

    Been through my emails - nothing from Amazon with regards this update to the email registered for the Kindle - just as well I check El Reg daily!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No emails here either

      I don't have an actual Kindle but I do have virtualKindle on PC and on Android.

      I wouldn't have known about this update so far, except for this article.

      My Kindle for Windows needed updating. Not sure about the Android one(s) yet.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My mother regularly "updates" her kindle - apparently she plugs it into the charger when the battery low indicator comes on...

    [they don't have WiFi so its being taken to the technical support department for IT literate son to fix]

  20. jason 7

    I applied the big update to my Mk2 Paperwhite a couple of weeks ago.

    Had around 230 books on it. 130 had DRM the other 100 didn't.

    The 100 that didn't just vanished from my device.

    Thanks Amazon.

    1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: I applied the big update to my Mk2 Paperwhite a couple of weeks ago.

      Fine on my 3G keyboard, not that it helps with your loss of books..

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: I applied the big update to my Mk2 Paperwhite a couple of weeks ago.

      Why had you no backup?

      Changing account on a Kobo or a Kindle, for instance, wipes the content.

      Amazon's "Cloud" mostly only has a backup of books bought from Amazon*. It's nothing to do with DRM!

      [*If you are daft enough to send your OWN stuff via Amazon cloud instead of USB, then Amazon keeps a copy that's reloaded, of random DRM free content. I tested it.]

      After a firmware update, you may need to reload any backup, this is common on many gadgets.

      1. jason 7

        Re: I applied the big update to my Mk2 Paperwhite a couple of weeks ago.

        Oh I still have the book files, that's not a problem. Just that the update shouldn't have deleted them in the first place.

        Just have to copy them back on again.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: I applied the big update to my Mk2 Paperwhite a couple of weeks ago.

          Anytime you mess with internal storage, you have to accept the risk of a wipe. It just comes with the territory. It's like trying to rebuild a desk that's full of stuff when the desk is the only place the stuff can be stored. The protected books are returned automatically because those are the ones registered with Amazon. The self-uploaded books they don't know about.

  21. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    No e-mail here in New York for this Fire owner, but the device has been drinking power for the last week or so and wouldn't allow me to continue reading an interview with Joe Haldeman from Galaxy's Edge without a ten second reboot this morning.

    8o/

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Minor effort'?

    Seriously - you drastically understimate the technical capabilities of many Kindle users.

    Replace that with 'Impossible' and you're on the track.

  23. Mage Silver badge

    Old versions ...

    The "new" versions of software in some cases are out well over a year.

    see link

    OK versions of Kindle Firmware for 22nd March 2016

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Betting the new firmware phones home with a list of wifi networks you encounter during the day to figure out what shops you visit. Mmmm mmm mmm more juicy data to help aid the monetisation of their product. We noticed you visited a few electronics retailers! Have a raft of ads for washing machines and hoovers! What a glorious new world when even your books spy on you.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everyone loves a success story, especially about someone they don't know, so I'd just like to tell you that my Kindle Voyage upgraded successfully and everything's going great for me.

    Anyone else got some uplifting stories about themselves they'd like to share here?

    1. Anomalous Croissant

      Updating my 5th gen from 4.1.2 to 4.1.3 was pretty painless. It didn't seem to want to work via Wifi so I downloaded the binary from Amazon, drag and drop, unmount, cycle power, and nothing. Cycle power again and nothing. Sigh~~ So I made some tea, forgot all about it and came back to it mid-installing without USB power (the horror!), but it was mostly charged to begin with. I have my books backed up already so didn't bother with making a backup, though I did make a mental note of the 'page' I was on, just in case.

  26. ici.chacal

    I don't think I've ever connected my kindle wirelessly to anything, nor have I ever applied an update. I only connect it to my PC via USB. The kindle books I buy from amazon get delivered to my PC and then I manually transfer them over...

    Do I still need to do an update..?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Probably not. It might affect new DRMed works but I assume you already know how to avoid that "issue" ;-)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My data point

    Fire tablet, wouldn't charge or for that matter even turn on.

    Apparently related because it seems to have happened during a routine update and the unit refused to do anything until charged a different way to usual (ie through external power not the provided USB-micro adaptor)

    So for those reading this, plugging it into the mains is a wise idea BEFORE enabling 3G and ideally ensure it is at 100% SoC if it shows any sign of updating.

    Apparently if it gets below 50% bad things (tm) can happen if updating begins.

  28. Luiz Abdala

    I had the Kindle Reader not long ago for my Android.

    I bet some form on encryption is being enabled right there on that firmware. That is a potential vector for somebody to invade Amazon or something on a different hardware than their own devices.

  29. BitDr

    The shelf denies the owner...

    e-books are OK, and I have several of them, but the shelf on which my paper tomes rest has never denied me the ability to access to any of them.

  30. raving angry loony

    No info? No update.

    I have searched for exactly what this update does, and not been able to find it. Since I use alternative software (calibre+variety of other tools) to keep my Kindle stocked with books from a variety of providers (only one book from Amazon so far) I have no incentive to update unless they tell me EXACTLY what the hell it is they're updating. Who do they think they are, Microsoft?

  31. Ramon Zarat

    And that's why I HATE closed gardens, the cloud and renting service instead of actually owning my stuff. Those Orwellian systems can and will take you hostage if and when THEY deem it necessary. Just like what Amazon is doing right now.

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    My Solution

    1. Buy Kindle

    2. Never register or put it on the wifi

    3. Buy books from Amazon and download them to software kindle on laptop

    4. Remove the steenkin' DRM

    5. Copy to kindle via USB

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Angel

      Re: My Solution

      or simply never buy an ebook from Amazon, I have a Nook it has no problems at al.. oh wait

  34. 0laf Silver badge

    HI have an old Kindle, hooked it to the wifi last night. It didn't see or ask to update.

    Plugged it into the 'puter, same result.

  35. Citizen99

    No communication from Amazon Kindle

    It is only thanks to today's (22nd March 2016) article here in The Register (and links in these Comments) that we learned about the software update required for the Wife's 2010 release Kindle Keyboard 3G.

    She did not receive the stated email notification, nor, on checking in the Messages in the Account, is there anything there.

    Time will tell whether the update has already been done 'silently'; it seems unlikely as the WiFi is normally turned off except when making a purchase. However, a book purchased two nights ago did pop up on the device today mid-morning (22 March UK time zone).

    1. Citizen99

      SUPPLEMENTARY: No communication from Amazon Kindle

      I have found the instructions on the website for checking the installed software version - the latest had been installed. Whew !

  36. Mike Dimmick

    Probably SHA256 support

    It's likely that the certificate Amazon use for TLS (HTTPS) support, for the connection to the store, is about to expire. SHA-1 is now not considered secure enough for signing the certificate; all new certificates issued after January 1 were supposed to be signed with SHA-256 instead.

    It's quite probable that the older device operating systems didn't support the SHA-256 algorithm, and need to be updated to include it.

  37. keithpeter
    Windows

    Took about 20 min

    Just switched off airplane mode (so it connected to wifi) and plugged my old e-ink kindle in to a USB power adapter and it has just announced that the update is complete. All books appear to be present. I don't log in much and so have not checked for an email.

  38. mjflory

    A little more time?

    I think Amazon may be allowing a little more time for everyone to get the new software. I have three old Kindles -- two DX (B005 series) and one 2nd Gen (B002 series). I left them connected to a power source overnight with the wireless on, as directed, and not one of them downloaded anything. Yesterday I downloaded the updates from their website and tried to install them via USB. The DXs were fine; the update didn't seem to work for the 2nd Gen. Today, with the 2nd Gen's software still showing as Version 2.56, I connected it wirelessly to the Amazon store. Just to check, I rebooted the machine, checked the version (still 2.56), and again connected with no problem. I suspect they've realized that most people with old Kindles have no idea that they need to upgrade.

  39. mjflory
    WTF?

    Updated but not showing it?

    A footnote to my earlier comment. I reloaded the software to the 2nd Gen Kindle and reinstalled it. This time I saw the "Update Successful" screen as it flashed by. It rebooted but still shows version 2.56 (and still connects wirelessly without problems). My guess now is that "Update_kindle_2.5.8_B002.bin" shows the wrong version number when installed and that I may have updated it successfully the first time but not known it. On the other hand, it may have been fibbing when it said it updated successfully. Life is full of mysteries.

  40. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Wont use 1click anyway

    I have on occasion considered getting a Kindle tablet. Then I remember that they *REQUIRE* you use 1-Click. That stops any consideration of Amazon devices right there. That's why I won't buy any OTHER digital content from them as well. 1-Click is nothing more than a scam to trick people into buying content they really didn't want to buy. Doesn't matter what mealy-mouthed weasel words tehy use, it boils down to a scam.

  41. crayon

    "You sure about that? My ebook library[*} is will over 50GB. And that's a small sub-section of all the books I own[**]"

    Assuming that

    - your books are mostly novels with few illustrations and pictures

    - formatting/drm and other cruft bloats the books' size by 10 times its basic ascii versions

    - average word length is 5 characters

    - you read at 3 words/second, and you spend 8 hours each and every day reading

    (((((50 * 1024 * 1024 * 1024) / 10) / 5) / (3 * 3600)) / 8) / 365 = approx. 34.04813

    it will take you over 30 years to read all your 50GB of books.

  42. The Unexpected Bill

    Kindle Keyboard 3G+Wi-Fi, nothing yet...

    Another data point for whatever it's worth...the previously mentioned Kindle (running software 3.4.2) has yet to do anything indicated by the article or Amazon's update information. Nor have I received any documentation in the device's library to indicate that anything has happened. I tried prodding it a few times ("sync and check for items", leaving it plugged in with the wireless enabled for several days) and that hasn't convinced it to do anything either.

    The Kindle Store still works just fine.

    It sure would be nice to know what was going on (although I'm probably too lazy to call Amazon and actually find out...)

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