Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cleaning Up My Act

I've noticed lately that my Kindle is chewing through its charge at an alarming rate.  I don't leave the wireless on, so ideally it should be good for 10 days or so.  At a minimum it should last for 7 days.  My most recent charge lasted 4 days.

So today I called Amazon customer service.  Apparently, I have an astonishing number of files on my Kindle, more than almost anyone the rep has seen in the 3 years he's worked for Amazon.  There were only 837 files on my Kindle at the time, almost half of them samples.  And the K2 (the version I have) is supposed to hold 1,500 books.  So even if a sample takes up as much space as an entire ebook, I'm still only a little over half full.

I didn't really understand all the tech-speak, but I guess the problem isn't the number of files on my Kindle per se.  The problem is with one of the 837 files.  There's a glitch in one of them, and it's making the Kindle continuously try to index itself, which is eating up power.  Supposedly there's no way to figure out which file it is, so the only thing to do is delete as many excess files as possible.  Either the bad file will be deleted and the problem will stop, or with fewer files it will spend less time indexing.  As the number of files goes down, hopefully the battery life will go up.

I accept that there's probably no way to know for sure which file is causing the problem, but this still annoys me.  I barely ever leave my room, let alone the house, so it's not like I'm ever in great danger of being Kindle-less.  But the charge really should last longer, and I don't want to have to clear that much stuff off my Kindle!

It kind of boggles me that the customer service guy was so surprised by the number of samples I have.  I can't be the only weirdo who uses her Kindle the way I do.  I find shopping directly from the Kindle to be a bit of a pain.  Also, I spend a lot of time cruising around reading websites, so I probably hear about another 2-3 books I want to check out every day.  I pop on over to Amazon, download the sample, and move on with my day.  When I want a new book I go through the samples until I find something interesting, and then with a couple of clicks I can purchase directly from the Kindle.  I can be anywhere to do this, including a doctor's office or the bathroom (prime book buying locations for me, btw).  As far as I know, the Kindle can't tap in to your Amazon wishlist, so adding all those books I'm interested in to my wishlist just won't work as well for me.  (I do wishlist books that haven't been released yet, since there are no samples for those.  Then, I check the wishlist every once in a while, and anything I'm still interested in I'll sample.)

I spent a good bit of my reading time today working my way through samples and deleting books that I didn't love and won't be reading again.  But the rest of my day was spent trolling Goodreads and adding more samples.  So I'm only down to 829 items-- a net decrease of 8 files.  Unless I got really lucky and deleted the problem file, I'm pretty sure that's not going to make a difference to my battery life.  I guess I'm going to have to spend the next couple of days reading samples.  That's fun in its own way, I guess, but I'd rather do it on my own schedule!


  1. I don't have a kindle (I have a kobo) so I don't know how it works. But with my ereader I have a mirror copy of everything I own on my computer, and I have a mirror copy of everything I've bought, or bookmarked, on the kobo site. So I could erase everything on my kobo if I wanted, and easily reload it all.

    Is there no way for you to easily erase your kindle contents and then reload one quarter of the total contents at a time, or even half, and see if the battery lasts longer? Then you'd be able to narrow it down, to see in which quarter (or half) the evil file is located. And then you could continue narrowing it down.

    Can you not log into amazon and see the entire content of your kindle, or something?

    If there's no way to do that... then naughty kindle deserves a spanking!! Cause that's ridiculous. What if you had to troubleshoot and needed to wipe your kindle? Or what if your entire kindle go wiped for some reason? I find this alarming.

  2. I have a list within Amazon that would allow me to download all the books I've purchased through them again. But it wouldn't preserve all the samples or books I purchased through other vendors. So it would be a bit of a pain.

    But if the battery situation gets dire, like if I start having to charge every night and it's still running out of juice, then I might resort to that.

    The customer service guy assured me that this isn't doing damage to the unit, so it's kind of up to me and what I'm willing to live with. I guess for right now I'll keep on deleting the stuff that I really don't want anymore. (With all that storage space I've been treating my Kindle like a junk closet instead of ditching stuff.) We'll see if that makes any difference or if I want to go to the hassle of more extreme measures.

  3. Anonymous10:24 PM

    And I find it all kind of fascinating. No clue how these machines work, but this is quite a lesson.
    Good luck with finding the problem.

  4. What a pain!

    Good luck with reading through the samples. I cannot imagine how inept the service on this must be...a sample of like 3 pages takes up the same as a book? Can they at least track the DATE this started happening to help you with when and what to look through?


  5. Quel pain. I can understand why you'd keep lots of samples. I do the same with my amazon wishlist. If I see a book that I might be interested in I just wishlist it, then browse through when in the mood to buy. What you've been doing makes total sense to me.


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