[That’s four “Kindle“s and the post hasn’t even begun!]
When blabbing on and on about my new Kindle, I got some comments and tweets asking about sharing books between Kindles, so I thought I’d delve a little further to answer your questions.
I was unsure about electronic readers from the very beginning because I thought it meant always having to buy books and not being able to share them like I’ve always been apt to do. Plus, I’ve always liked books themselves. When my mom and step-dad gifted me a Kindle, I was still admittedly a little hesitant about it. I had heard that you couldn’t share books between Kindles, but you could share them on Nooks (though there is a time limit on lending books, and you can only lend each title once). It wasn’t until I did a little Googling and found this post that I got really, really excited about my Kindle.
The short of it: you cannot share or lend books to just any other Kindle user, but you can share an unlimited number of books (for an unlimited amount of time) with up to six Kindles on the same Amazon.com account. For some people this may be a drawback, because they may want to share books with friends without necessarily sharing an Amazon account (where credit card information is stored). If you have family members or other trustworthy friends with Kindles, though, it is an amazing way to share. Case in point: my mom has had her Kindle since last Christmas and has over 20 books already purchased in her library. By adding my Kindle to the same account, I had immediate access to all of her books, and it’s totally legal. Here’s how it works.
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SETTING UP MULTIPLE KINDLES ON A SINGLE AMAZON.COM ACCOUNT:
• When you purchase and receive your Kindle, you’ll be prompted to register it to an Amazon.com account when you first turn it on. It will automatically be registered to the account through which it was purchased, but you can switch to a different shared account if desired. From your Kindle, select Home > Menu > Settings > Register or Deregister. From Amazon.com, register or deregister via the Your Account > Manage Your Kindle pages.
• If you want to pay for titles you purchase on a separate credit card from other users on the account, you can do so by selecting Manage Your Kindle > Your 1-click Payment Method and adding your own credit card. On our account, my mom’s credit card is the default payment method, because she purchases new books more frequently than I do. If I want to buy a book, I simply go to our account online, click Edit and choose my credit card before I make my purchase. When I’m done, I switch the default back to my mom’s credit card so she can buy her next title without making any changes here. Fortunately, we trust each other to not rack up credit card charges on the other person’s card, though I can see where this step would feel a bit risky if sharing an account with friends.
• When you purchase a title via Amazon.com, you can choose which Kindle that title should be sent to.
• At the bottom of the Manage Your Kindle page, click on Manage synchronization between devices. If you want your Kindle to remember the last page of a particular title that you read (assuming that someone else on the same account could be reading the same book at the same time), you’ll want to click the yellow button on the right to Turn Synchronization Off. The only time you’ll want synchronization turned on is if you own multiple devices and you want all of your Kindles to track the last page of a book you read. (Though I’m not sure why one person would have multiple Kindles.)
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It honestly took just a few minutes to get everything set up and working seamlessly. I am officially addicted to reading again, and it’s a nice feeling! While I still love real, tangible books, I love that my Kindle takes up very little space (which works out well for me, given that the bookshelves in our apartment don’t have much room to spare). It’s great for traveling, particularly on long trips when you may have time to read more than one book but don’t have room in your luggage for several books, and I swear that it allows me to read faster (but maybe that’s just in my head).
Some people argue that sharing books on electronic readers is walking a fine line between innocent sharing and intellectual property violation. I genuinely think it can only be advantageous to writers and publishers as their work can now reach a broader audience than it may have before, and there is more money to be made off of electronic books that don’t require any printing whatsoever (but are still sold at prices similar to paperback prices). There will always be libraries, used book stores and book-sharing, and electronic readers are simply the latest method for facilitating book lending.
So now, the question is: do you Kindle (or will you consider it, now that you know about sharing)?