Move everything from an old Kindle to your new Kindle

About The Author

CNET Editor

Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

Last week, something terrible happened. No, I'm not talking about getting ripped off by Diablo 3 scammers — this was much worse. It was a dark and stormy night when I was awoken by a scratching, as though the corpse I had recently buried in my basement had come back to life and was clawing its way free. Happily, it was just my dog, scratching at the door to be let out for number ones.

Goodnight, sweet prince.
(Credit: Joe Hanlon/CNET)

So, I let the dog out, stumbled back through the dark and heard a heartbreaking sound as I reached the bed; a faint crack as I pressed my foot down on the screen of my Kindle. I knew it was over before I shone the light from my mobile phone across the Kindle to inspect the damage. The screen was ruined, with half of it unable to refresh, leaving a burnt in image, like an E Ink etching.

Seriously, I was crushed — no pun intended. I get to play with all manner of awesome gadgets, but my Kindle was one of the few tech toys I really loved. After examining my options online, I decided there was no way to repair it cheaply, and that I'd bite the bullet and buy a new one. I very nearly choose a Kobo Touch instead, but, after some thought, I went with the non-touch Kindle 4.

OK, sob story aside; if you find yourself in the same situation with a dead Kindle housing your entire literary life, including bookmarks, annotations and more, the process to get these from one Kindle to the next is surprisingly simple.

Both Kindles will have a "Documents" folder. This is where the e-reader looks for all books and metadata. If you plug your Kindle into a PC and explore this folder, you'll find all of your books there, plus dozens of tiny files with unusual extensions. The AZW files are the books you have bought from Amazon, but you'll likely have about four files for each of the books you have read on your Kindle. All of these files need to be transferred if you want your new Kindle to remember your place in your recent reading.

All you'll need to do is copy and paste the "Documents" folder from your old Kindle to your new Kindle. There may be a bunch of files with the same filename, so you'll need to decide whether to keep the files on your new Kindle or overwrite them with ones from your old model. I chose the former, just in case files like the Dictionary had been updated between models.

Once this process is complete, your new Kindle will look just like your old one. Your books will be in the same order as before, your sub-categories will be in place and all your books will open to the same place you last left them.

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GazW posted a comment   

this didn't work at all for me, in fact it screwed my new Kindle up a bit. I couldn't read anything. This may be because i was going from a Kindle keyboard to a Kindle Paperwhite. When I spoke to Amazon to try and get the Kindle working again they told me the above is a very stupid way to move the files and can cause no end of problems, as it did for me.


haydnfan posted a comment   

Is this written by someone that doesn't understand Amazon whispersync? You should rewrite your article. Let me explain this to you:

(a) your ebooks are stored in the cloud as your archive, all you must do is register your new kindle to yourself and connect to wifi/3g and redownload your books.

(b) through the amazing power of whispersync the last location read, your highlights and notes will automatically appear when you sync. This obviously only works if you regularly sync your kindle.

(c) The above also applies for the kindle app on smart phones and tablets.

You do not need to physically transfer files between kindles, and if you stepped on your kindle any harder and you wouldn't have been able to do that anyway. Why are you writing for cnet if you don't understand how your gadgets work?


Joseph Hanlon posted a reply   

You advice is good (even if your manners are shabby) but I'd argue that my way is quicker. I plugged both Kindles into my laptop at the same time, dragged and dropped and was on my way.


MikeP2 posted a reply   

One thing worth remembering is that not everything on peoples Kindle is bought from amazon or stored in the cloud. The way in this article will transfer all of those books, notes and data.


GazW posted a reply   

i should have read your comment before doing the above, it caused me a right headache.


BradleyS1 posted a reply   

FWIW This worked great for me, Moving from a Kindle DX (original) to a Kindle DX 2. To address your porints:

a) Not all my books were purchased via Amazon, so no, my ebooks are not all stored in Amazon's cloud.
b) see above
c) see above

Just because you don't need to transfer the files doesn't mean this article wasn't useful to others.

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