Can Kindle Downloads Work on Multiple Kindles?
By John Lister
Amazon's Kindle allows you to use one account and have a book on multiple Kindle devices. It's also possible to have the books on non-Amazon devices running the Kindle application. Some books impose limits on the number of devices on which you can have a book at the same time, though this varies from book to book.
The Kindle works through your Amazon account; the same account you use to buy physical products from Amazon. Each Kindle must be linked to a particular Amazon account, which is then used for payment if and when you buy books on the Kindle itself. You can link your account to multiple Kindles. After buying a book through Amazon, download the book to your Kindle at any time and delete it from that Kindle at any time. Deleting a book from one Kindle does not prevent you from downloading it to, or keeping it on, another Kindle using the same account. Multiple people can use the same account by sharing the ID of the account and the password. This means two people can each read the same book on their own Kindles, even though only one of them has bought it.
Wireless devices, including smartphones and tablets, can access Kindle titles using the Kindle app. Desktop and notebook computers can also access Kindle titles through an application. You must link each device running the Kindle application to a specific Amazon account, just as you link your Amazon account with individual Kindles.
You can synchronize multiple devices that share a Kindle account. To do this, make sure you are connected wirelessly (with the Kindle) or online (with other devices) when you finish a reading session. This keeps the account up to date. As long as you do this, any time you open a Kindle book, you go automatically to the furthest page in the book to which you have read across all your Kindles and other devices -- a tremendous convenience for those reading one book on multiple devices. If more than one person is reading the same book on devices linked to the same account, however, this can be annoying. The solution is log in to your Amazon account and visit the "Manage Your Kindle" page to switch off the synchronization.
Each book defines a limit of how many devices are linked to the same account. The standard limit is six, but some publishers insist on a lower limit; which is stated when you buy the e-book. This typically isn't a problem, but you may hit the limit if you replace your Kindle and other devices. You can resolve this by deregistering a Kindle or device, for example, one that you no longer use, through the Amazon website. If you deregister, the books from the account are no longer available on the deregistered device, but can be added to a new Kindle linked to your account. As long as a specific device is linked to your account, you can download purchased books as often as you like, even after deleting them from the device.
Books From Other Sources
You can manually add some electronic books, bought and downloaded from sources other than Amazon, to a Kindle. These are not subject to any limits other than the available storage space. However, these books must be added to each Kindle individually, regardless of whether the Kindles share an Amazon account.
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.