How to Back Up a Kindle to Your PC
By John Lister
The Kindle e-reader can connect to a computer and allow you to browse and copy files. This means it is possible to back up any books, documents and music files you have added to your Kindle. However, you cannot use any backups of books you have bought from the Kindle store, as they have copyright protection.
Connect your Kindle to your PC through a USB cable. Usually you will see a pop-up "Autoplay" window offering an option to "Open folder to view files," which you should choose. If this does not happen, open Windows Explorer and look for your Kindle, which will be listed under "Computer" as if it were a hard drive.
Open the "Documents folder" in the Windows Explorer window for your Kindle. Use Windows Explorer to copy the contents of this folder to a location on your computer. Repeat this process for the "Audible" (audiobook) and "Music" folders if you have any relevant files.
Disconnect the Kindle and open the folder on your computer to which you copied the files. Look for any book files listed as an "AZW" file, indicating you bought it from the Kindle store. Delete these files, along with any other files that have the same book title in the name. Amazon's Digital Rights Management means that if you manually restore these files to your Kindle they may not work, and if you manually restore the files to a new Kindle they will not work.
Connect a Kindle to your PC through a USB cable and copy across the relevant files from your computer to the "Documents" folder on the Kindle if you want to restore the books from your backup or transfer books to a new Kindle. For books you bought from the Kindle store, use the "Manage Your Kindle" page on Amazon's website to trigger the books automatically re-downloading to your Kindle. This ensures you will not have DRM problems and will be able to read the books.
- Because Windows treats the Kindle as an external drive, you may be able to run automated backups with third-party applications. This may bring added convenience: for example, some backup applications will only copy over files that are new or have changed since your back-up, saving time.
- This process works in a similar way on the Kindle Fire tablets. The main difference is that you will see additional folders such as "Pictures" or "Movies" which contain the described content type. As with books, you may find some content (such as applications) must be re-downloaded directly to the Kindle rather than restored manually from your computer.
A professional writer since 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, John Lister ran the press department for the Plain English Campaign until 2005. He then worked as a freelance writer with credits including national newspapers, magazines and online work. He specializes in technology and communications.