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Software Glitch Blocks Downloads to First-Gen Kindle – Here’s How to Bypass

2447385083_e6d9c29f84_bA nonsensical story has been going around this weekend to the effect that publishers had abandoned support for the original Kindle, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Instead, it looks like there’s a software glitch which is preventing Kindle owners from using the Amazon website to send purchased ebooks to their nine-year-old Kindles.

Numerous users on MobileRead and Amazon’s Kindle support forums have been reporting since early August that they could no longer send any of the ebooks they purchased in the Kindle Store to their first-gen Kindle.

Writing over at MobileRead, Jean summed up the situation thusly:

Sometime during the previous summer (July?) Amazon removed my ability to download these books for my K1 saying they "weren’t compatible" with my K1. I can’t download them to my computer or transfer them wirelessly to the K1. They are all "incompatible" even though some of them are currently on my K1 and are all novels comprised of text only – no complicated formatting. 300 ebooks out of 540 Total and over $1100.00 USD all of which would have been inaccessible had I not made a practice of routinely stripping the DRM from them.

Had I not also owned a Kindle Fire my only recourse would have been to purchase a new Kindle in order to access my books.

I checked my Kindle account and can confirm this report first-hand. None of the ebooks bought through the Kindle Store are compatible with either of my first-gen Kindles.

So it looks like Amazon (or, LOL, the publishers) have dropped support for the the nine-year-old original Kindle. Perhaps they want to push owners to upgrade, or they no longer want to support converting Kindle ebooks to a format which can be read on the original Kindle.

Those are plausible theories, but neither is supported by the evidence.

For one thing, I can still select ebooks I uploaded to Kindle Cloud and use the Amazon website to push them to my original Kindle, Vera.

I can also use the Amazon website to push purchased Kindle ebooks to my second-gen Kindle. It is running software nearly as old as that of the original Kindle, and neither device supports the later Kindle formats (KF8, KFX, Kindle in Motion), and yet one is compatible with the Kindle Store is not.

That tells us that there’s more to the story than simply the end of support for a device.

And so does this tidbit which has been independently confirmed by several owners. They’re saying that they can use their original Kindle to pull a copy of the supposedly incompatible ebook, and that the ebook will download just fine.

I have used the content manager to download two books that were flagged as unavailable for the K1, to prove to myself that the books were, in fact, compatible. But the time required to download 600+ books is ridiculous. The G3 network is sometimes very slow here. If I could download them via the internet for moving to the Kindle via USB, that would be much better.

So the problem isn’t format support or that the original Kindle is simply outdated. Instead, Kindle owners are blocked in this one small way from using one feature on the Amazon website.

In short, this is most likely a software glitch in Amazon’s systems, and nothing more.

image by brewbooks

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poiboy October 17, 2016 um 5:35 pm

what is more impressive is a 9 year old kindle’s battery still functioning.

Nate Hoffelder October 17, 2016 um 9:17 pm


Jean October 18, 2016 um 1:07 am

I own a K1 that still works but I’ve had to replace the battery a few times. The battery on the K1 is easily replaceable. I just purchased a new battery for mine 4 months ago so they’re still available.

Chris October 19, 2016 um 11:42 am

Same problem with my K1. Purchased books will show in content manager, but I always receive "Item failed to transfer. Please try again later" message when trying to transfer to kindle memory. I believe this is Amazon intentionally phasing out my beloved K1. (Still on original battery, BTW)

Pat A November 2, 2016 um 1:12 pm

Hi. Don’t know if this has happened anyone else. Mine is a 2011 Kindle Paperwhite, and coincidentally or not, since early August no web article which I have tried to 'Send to Kindle' has arrived. I can send saved word documents as before. I can buy ebooks, but my Guardian, Slate, whatever-sourced articles disappear into the Kindle ether, appearing neither in the Amazon cloud nor on the device. I uninstalled and reinstalled the App and indeed cleared my Kindle (the tech term escapes me) but without success. Probably an Amazon glitch, but means that my Kindle is currently very under-used!!!

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