We readers know how you feel about making back-ups for our computers. Yes, I do have them, but how about making back-ups for e-readers? We can spend
hundreds of dollars buying reading material; if the e-reader fails, it’s all
gone. Is there a way to do this?
In fact, believe it or not, there are scenarios here where backup is
actually not required!
That’s probably something that you’d never expected to hear me say.
It depends on two things: the e-reader that you’re using and where you got your
Kindle’s my example
Because my wife and I own a couple of Kindles, and I have Kindle software on my desktop, my laptop, my tablet computers, and even my phone, it’s the Kindle that I’m the most familiar with, so I’ll be using it as my example for this discussion. The concepts that I’ll be discussing apply to other e-readers and I’ll try to point out what to look for if you’re not using a Kindle.
Kindle books purchased through Amazon
When you purchase a book using Amazon’s own store – be it via the Amazon website or through the Kindle store on your Kindle – the book is automatically downloaded to your Kindle shortly thereafter.
Don’t bother backing it up.
Amazon’s got you covered.
Login to the Amazon website, click Kindle on the left menu, and then Manage Your Kindle:
The resulting page will contain a list of all the Kindle books that you’ve purchased. Ever.
From this location, you can access any Kindle content that you’ve purchased and have it re-sent to any Kindle device that you have, now or in the future.
Click the Actions item next to any title and you’ll be able to select from any of several options:
Click “Deliver To” and you’ll be given the choice to send the book to any Kindle device associated with your account.
As you can see, in addition to our two Kindles, we can access our Kindle titles on several devices with the free Kindle application installed, or even with the application using the Kindle Cloud Reader available for several browsers.
And it’s all backed up by Amazon. If we lose any – or even all – of our Kindle devices, the books can be quickly and easily re-downloaded to a replacement device.
Everything that I’ve just described here can also be done from your Kindle. The exact steps and even the wording used may vary, depending on what model of Kindle or which Kindle application that you’re using, but in general, everything that you’ve ever purchased will be accessible for download.
Other e-readers: I believe many e-readers that are associated with booksellers or support some kind of account association may well work in a very similar manner. Check with the provider of the books that you’re purchasing to see exactly if and how long they keep your books archived, so you can re-download at any time. If they do that, then as long as that company stays in business, your books are backed up.
Books not backed up by the provider
If the books that you purchase are not available for re-download directly from the vendor at some later point in time, you’re very correct – you need to back them up.
There are two scenarios:
If you’ve downloaded the book to your PC and copied it to your e-reader, things are pretty simple.
All that you need to do (in addition to copying the book or document to your e-reader) is copy it somewhere else. Perhaps just keep it someplace on your PC where it’ll get backed up again by the backup process that you have set up.
If the book was downloaded directly to your e-reader, then you need to take an additional step.
Almost all of the e-readers can be connected to your PC via a USB cable. Do that, locate the books on your e-reader, and copy them to your PC.
Once again, with your PC being backed up regularly, so will your books. If you ever need to restore them to this or a replacement reader, all that you need to do is connect via USB and copy the files back to the appropriate location on the device.
A note about compatibility
With the number of different e-readers out there, it’s important to understand compatibility, particularly when you’ve backed up content yourself and you elect to change devices.
Content purchased from Amazon for the Kindle is in a proprietary format viewable only on Kindle. In fact, it’s my understanding that if you back up the actual Kindle book files via USB, they may only work on the specific Kindle device from which they were copied. The way to move a title from Kindle to Kindle is to re-download it from Amazon, using the techniques I’ve mentioned above.
Other file formats may work on most devices. Kindle specifically supports the .prc and .mobi formats for ebooks, as long as they are unprotected and DRM-free, as well as most PDF formatted documents, although perhaps without full support of all formatting options.
Before switching devices, be sure to understand what formats your existing content is in, whether it’s restricted in some form, and whether the new device that you’re considering will be able to read it.