Amazon Kindle owners can’t download their e-books

Key Takeaways

  • A number of Kindle owners are unable to download new or previously-purchased e-books.
  • Amazon says server issues are to blame, and could run through Friday, possibly later.
  • The outage may disrupt income for both Amazon and authors.

Many users of Amazon’s Kindle e-readers are finding themselves unable to download books to the tablets, whether they’re newly bought titles or already owned, according to Good e-Reader and complaints on Amazon’s forums. Affected people may see the title and cover art for a book appear, but the actual download get stuck at one percent. Manual troubleshooting steps, such as device resets, look like they’ve been ineffective so far.

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The issue first gained attention on Wednesday. At the time Amazon’s support team blamed “server issues,” explaining that the outage would last “at least” 48 hours, if not longer. That could mean that downloads will only resume for everyone on Friday or Saturday, if not next week. The company hasn’t elaborated much since, for instance telling two people that it’s “currently working to resolve” difficulties.

The situation isn’t just an inconvenience for customers who need more reading material. It may be disrupting Amazon’s e-book sales, and by extension the income many authors depend on. We’re unlikely to discover the full financial impact of the outage anytime soon — but Amazon is by far the leading player in the global e-book market, topping 80% share in some cases. It’s simply not an option for authors to depend on other platforms like Kobo or Apple Books.

What’s going on at Amazon?

There could be deeper issues with the Kindle infrastructure. Just a week ago, Amazon was hit with errors affecting the Send to Kindle feature, which is used to transfer files like webpages, PDFs, and non-Kindle books via the cloud. One message claimed that files “could not be delivered due to a service error.” Problems were still ongoing as of earlier this week.

One way around the latest glitch may be the dedicated Kindle app for iPhone, iPad, and Android, since Pocket-lint testing on an iPad showed no issues downloading samples or full-length books. Phones and tablets aren’t always the ideal way to read, of course — most phones have small screens, and if it’s not an e-ink reader, a tablet may be too heavy to hold for more than a few minutes.

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Key Takeaways

A number of Kindle owners are unable to download new or previously-purchased e-b…