How to transfer data from old Kindle to new Kindle?
June 20, 2021 7:19 PM   Subscribe

I have an absolutely ancient Kindle -- the Kindle Touch 4th gen as seen here -- that is on its last legs. I don't mind shelling out for a new one but how do I get all the data off the old one onto the new one? I have a ton of books + documents of my own.

Everything I'm seeing on Amazon is like "just register your new device and then you can download whatever you like from your Amazon account to it" but that doesn't really help. Here's why:
-- on my old Kindle I have books sorted into folders
-- I have books that didn't come from Amazon
-- I have documents that I mailed to my kindle email address

Thoughts? Help?
posted by BlahLaLa to Technology (10 answers total)
I have all of the above and do this on Amazon > Manage Your Content & Devices, do you know if your current Kindle is synced to that at all? Most of the content I didn't get from Amazon is in there under docs.

I think a lot of people use Calibre for this and love it, but I cannot for the life of me get Calibre to recognize my Kindles (but I think that's a me thing and for most people it works fine.)
posted by jameaterblues at 7:37 PM on June 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: When I go to Amazon>Manage Your Content & Devices I see only a massive list with 800+ items on it. Nothing is noted as being in a collection, despite the fact that I've added books into those "folders" (aka collections) on my kindle itself.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:42 PM on June 20, 2021

Response by poster: (Also want to add that I regularly sync my Kindle, so non-syncing is not the problem here.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:54 PM on June 20, 2021

In the Collections view, do you see the right collections there or nothing? (Manage Your Content is FAR from perfect, I honestly kind of hate it, but I find it easier than managing everything on the Kindle itself. ) That's out of my league so you may get better advice from others, but it might be a place to start troubleshooting. I once got a human on an Amazon customer service chat to fix a Collections syncing problem for me with a specific file, though I never found out what actually caused the problem.

I vaguely remember that when I transitioned over from a really old Kindle years ago, I had to rebuild my collections myself on the Kindle (with around 800 files, yeah, it was awesome) but I haven't had to do that since. But you might try doing that in Manage Your Content first, since my understanding is that's what'll populate your new Kindle, plus you can test it out with a couple of files and seeing what it does on your current Kindle.
posted by jameaterblues at 7:55 PM on June 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Have you ever used the Calibre software? It might be useful to import your existing titles and then push them to new device.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:57 PM on June 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: In the Collections view I see nothing at all. And I have never tried Calibre.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:58 PM on June 20, 2021

Okay, so what maybe is going on is that the MYCD are Cloud Collections, which looks like are not supported on Kindle Touch 4th gens and I bet weren't supported on my super-old Kindle I had to rebuild either.

This question is a few years old but has some ideas (which it seems work with middling but not zero success):

If you do end up having to rebuild your collections manually in MYCD to get them on your new device--fwiw, I decided to reorganize 800+ files on the other weekend, splitting one giant collection into about twenty smaller ones. It took maybe a couple of hours, much of which was because I kept having to open the files to figure out where to sort them. If you already like the collections you have, I expect it'll go much faster. I hope you get a better solution here, but it can be done.
posted by jameaterblues at 8:32 PM on June 20, 2021

If the old Kindle has a USB port, use a USB cable to plug the Kindle into any computer. The Kindle should appear as a disk drive on that computer. Then you can use that computer's utilities to navigate to the Kindle's file sytem. On my old Kindle plugged into a Mac, the Kindle appears as the disk /Volumes/Kindle and the books etc. on the Kindle appear as files in /Volumes/Kindle/documents.

Then you can copy the books etc. you want --- that is, the files -- from the Kindle into some directory on the computer. Unplug the old Kindle, plug in the new one, and copy the books etc. from that same directory on the computer to /Volumes/Kindle/documents on the new Kindle.

If you used the USB port on the old Kindle a lot, you might have trouble connecting it to the computer because the USB port contacts in the Kindle or in the USB cable get worn. I have been able to recover from this by using a newer USB cable.
posted by JonJacky at 9:21 PM on June 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

This has worked for me by connecting an old kindle to a computer using a USB cable - folders were preserved.

I think that is the simplest option - otherwise calibre is useful for corralling non-kindle-store books/papers etc. and I think it will also recognise files via USB so that may help with folders.

Good luck!
posted by sedimentary_deer at 12:11 AM on June 21, 2021

You also need to be sure that you have a data-syncing USB cable, not just one for power. (That's frequently been my issue for when the kindle is not recognised by my computer). And nthing using Calibre for this.
posted by scorbet at 1:36 AM on June 21, 2021

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