Mick West

March 22, 2008

Sharing Two Kindles, How does it work?

Filed under: Random — Mick West @ 3:41 pm

It works great!

My wife and I both like to read. I recently got a Kindle, and Holly just had to have one too. One downside of e-books is that you can’t share a book with a friend. However, if two people can share one Amazon account (at least, just for Kindle purchases) , then they can share all their books between their two Kindle’s.

kindle-buy-options.jpgIt works really simply, and really well. When you get the second Kindle, you just register it to the same account as the first one. Then when you buy a book, or download a sample, you get a drop-down box that lets you choose which Kindle you want the book sent to. In the image to the right I’ve selected “Mick’s Kindle”.

So it gets sent to whichever Kindle you like. There’s no option to send it to both Kindles, but once you’ve bought it, then it’s in your “Media Library” on Amazon, and from there you can send it again to either Kindle.

You can also buy books on the Kindle itself, and with that it works just as you would expect – the book goes to the Kindle you ordered it on, and to the Media Library, so it can be downloaded to either Kindle at a later time.

Finally you can also get a copy of the book on the other Kindle without using the computer. Just go to the “Content Manager” on the Kindle’s main menu. In the Content Manager, some books are labeled “Kindle”, meaning they are in your Kindle, and some are labeled “Amazon”, meaning they are just in your Media Store. If Holly buys a book, it will automatically show up here.

So, to download a book Holly just bought on her Kindle, I just select it in the Content Manager, and then select “Move to Kindle Memory” from the Menu. The book will transfer, and twenty seconds later you can start reading.

This all brings me to an unexpected advantage of the Kindle. We can read the same book at the same time. Normally you’d read a book and then lend it to someone. But since we have two Kindles, with two copies of the book (for less than the price of one paper book), we can both be reading it at the same time. We are currently both reading What is the What by Dave Eggers, and it’s a novel experience to be able to discuss the book while were are both still reading it.


  1. “it’s a novel experience…”

    No pun intended, eh?

    Just wanted to add that my kindle is better than yours!

    Comment by Holly — March 22, 2008 @ 5:48 pm

  2. Mick,

    Thanks for this information!

    Very similar stories here. I’ve had a Kindle for a few months and then Debbie wanted one, just ordered it. Needed to know how to share books. Thanks again!

    Very cool website!

    Comment by Lanny and Debbie Moore — July 13, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

  3. I’ve been enjoying my Kindle for some time now and had run into the same problem here; my wife wanted similar titles to my account. Now we can share!

    Thank you Mick!

    Comment by Need 4 Deal — December 8, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

  4. I am so glad to hear this! Thank you for your detailed description of everything I was wondering about before buying one for my wife for her upcoming birthday; I know I’d want one too and now with this info I can get one now and another for myself later and read right along with her!

    One faint question left is that I’ve heard on Kindle 2 that if you own two it remembers which page you ended on for both; if she reads faster than I, is there a way you’ve found to turn that feature off for a particular title and separately Bookmark your Kindle Title where YOU leave off?

    Comment by Justin — February 20, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  5. Hi Justin, yes, that feature is called “Whispersync”, and it’s quite easy to turn off:

    1. Go to http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle
    2. At the bottom of the page, look for “Manage synchronization between devices. Learn
    more.” Select “Learn more.”
    3. Select “Turn Synchronization off.”

    That’s from the Kindle 2 user’s guide, page 43:

    Comment by Mick West — February 20, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

  6. [...] Sharing Two Kindles, How does it work?: Mick West aims to hack one of the pitfalls of Kindles: the inability to swap and share books with friends. [...]

    Pingback by The Ultimate Guide to Kindle 2.0: 100 Tips, Tools, and Resources | Online Degree World — February 25, 2009 @ 8:05 am

  7. Can you do the same thing with a magazine subscription?

    Comment by Teresa — February 28, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

  8. No, unfortunately not.

    Comment by Mick West — March 4, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  9. My wife has a kindle and I have a kindle for iPhone account. Can we share books?

    Comment by Leighton Woolf — May 13, 2009 @ 6:07 am

  10. You need to use the same account for both devices. You can de-register one, and then re-register it with the other account. You’ll lose the books bought on one account though, so read them first.

    Best to start out using the same account.

    Comment by Mick West — May 13, 2009 @ 7:45 am

  11. If you can’t share magazine subscriptions, does that also mean you can’t share newspaper subscriptions? As expensive as home delivery subscriptions have become ($200 a year here), I could justify a couple of Kindles if we could share newspapers.

    Comment by Jeff — May 15, 2009 @ 9:20 am

  12. As far as I know, ALL subscriptions are to a specific Kindle, and cannot be shared.

    Comment by Mick West — May 15, 2009 @ 9:48 am

  13. Thanks for info Mick. With the 2nd Kindle, do you need to deregister or can you just edit the account information to match the 1st kindle? It gives u options to do both. Thanks, Rich

    Comment by Richard Lee — June 19, 2009 @ 7:15 am

  14. I’m not sure, but I think it’s safe to try editing the info first. I suspect you would need to reregister though. We did it with a new unregistered kindle

    Comment by Mick — June 19, 2009 @ 7:20 am

  15. Hello! Can I actually register more than 1 device to one account? to create a sort of book club with friends?

    Comment by Jan — July 13, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  16. I ment more then 2 devices. obviously.

    Comment by Jan — July 13, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

  17. Yes, I think the limit is five, although apparently this can vary by book. I have four registered now, with iPhones.

    Be aware though that all those devices will be able to purchase books from the device.

    Comment by MIck West — July 13, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

  18. Thanks for the help, Mick! :)

    Comment by Jan — July 13, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

  19. regarding 2 kindle readers, I have the same question as Justin: 2 readers should have 2 different “last page read”. If I turn off whispersync, then my page numbers won’t interfere with my wifes. But when I turn it back on to buy a new book? Or want to synch so my iphone can also read from MY last page? Not obvious to me, anyway.

    Comment by Karl — August 1, 2009 @ 7:55 am

  20. Ok, now that I read a little more, I see that this would just stop the sync’ing of last page read, annotations, etc. But I suspect that my wife would not be happy to find that she can no longer sync last page read on her iphone with her kindle if we turn whispersync off. Sounds like I am asking a little too much from the service, as I would need to have multiple sync configs (eg, synch this device with that one, and that 3rd device with this 4th.)

    Comment by Karl — August 1, 2009 @ 8:10 am

  21. OK, what a moron I am. Ignore me. (like my wife does ;-) last page =/= furthest page. duh.

    Comment by Karl — August 1, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  22. As I do not live in USA,I cant use whispernet.I download the books to my computer and drag drop it to my Kindle’s memory so don’t you think I can do the same if we had more kindles in the house.Can’t I share like this?

    Comment by burcak — September 8, 2009 @ 5:03 am

  23. The Kindles still need to be registered to the same account, as the books are encrypted so they only work on specific Kindles.

    Plus, if you are not in the USA, you might not actually be able to buy e-books from Amazon. You might want to look at some of the alternatives that are available.

    Comment by Mick West — September 8, 2009 @ 7:26 am

  24. Do the people that are registered to the same account need to be in the same family or can a few friends register together? also does one person have to make the official purchase of the kindles or can each person buy their own?

    Comment by murphy — September 8, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

  25. Hi, Mike wrote: “You need to use the same account for both devices. You can de-register one, and then re-register it with the other account. Youll lose the books bought on one account though, so read them first.

    Best to start out using the same account.”

    But if i have downloaded my books to the PC, couldnt i download them again to my first Kindle that i deregistered after i registered it to the other account?

    Comment by Heming Leira — October 7, 2009 @ 5:09 am

  26. This is talking about if you have two accounts, say you and your spouse both have an individual Amazon account. Any Kindle at any one time can only contain books from one account (the one it is registered to).

    If you’ve downloaded purchased books on your PC, I believe they will only work for the Kindle account and device they were originally purchased for.

    Hence it’s best to have one account for multiple devices.

    Comment by MIck West — October 7, 2009 @ 7:17 am

  27. Thanks for the help. I am thinking about buying a Kindle (actually 2) and being able to share books with my wife is essential since I do not want to pay twice for the same book, nor swap the kindle device to share the book.

    By the way, I live outside the US and I have read that service is available in my country, Spain, with a little surcharge per book (not too bad 1.99 US$). If you take into account that regular book prices normally range between 20 to 30 (29 to 44 US$), ebooks are the solution.

    Comment by Antonio — October 21, 2009 @ 1:33 am

  28. I am going back and forth between the Kindle and the new Nook coming out by Barnes&Noble. The pro’s to the Nook is you can share books with anyone!!! It has a color touchscreen, & expandable memory.
    The con to the Nook is that it doesn’t have the cabability to read to you… so how well does that feature work on Kindle? Another con is the buttons to turn the page are on the side and it looks like you just touch them, I would think it would be easy to accidently touch this all the time. Tho I don’t know that for sure.
    So, which device should I get? Your thoughts??

    Comment by Brandy — October 23, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

  29. I just got a Kindle 2. But it sounds like I jumped the gun…should have waited for the Nook. I can’t believe that once you buy a “book” you can’t freely swap it with others. iTunes doesn’t have all these restrictions…absolutely crazy.

    Comment by Terry — November 19, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

  30. I have a kindle- The text to sprrech (the feathure that reads to you) is not that great. You really have to focus to hear it. It is computer speak- sounds a little like Charlie Brown’s teacher:)wo wo wo wa ….

    Comment by becca — November 21, 2009 @ 9:52 am

  31. The Nook also does not have a web browser. The Kindle’s web browser is very simple and not fully featured, but I can browse most news websites fine and check Gmail with it.

    Comment by Kyle — December 1, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  32. Brandy & Terrry: re the Nook swap vs Kindle. I read that you can only “loan” the Nook book once for a specific number of days and if the reader hasn’t finished the book, too bad, it comes back to you and you can’t resend it. It’s a feature that’s not quite as good as it sounds.

    Comment by Karen — December 14, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

  33. Thanks for the great information! But i do have one question; my sister and i share the same account for our Kindles, and its both on our mom’s credit card. and so whenever on the home page it says welcome, and then my mother’s name. is there a way to change this? would i have to deregister to be able to change this?
    –thanks for your help

    Comment by Morgan — December 25, 2009 @ 8:37 am

  34. Can you use 2 separate Credit cards?

    Comment by scott — December 31, 2009 @ 11:57 am

  35. It’s linked to one amazon account. You can in theory use two cards on one account, but you can’t select the card via the Kindle, so really no.

    Comment by Mick West — January 3, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

  36. Just wanted to make sure I read this correctly…

    If I have a Kindle and my own Amazon account that it is linked to, I cannot add another Amazon account to my Kindle? It only works the other way around, i.e. you can add 1 or more Kindles to an Amazon account but only 1 Amazon account/Kindle?

    Comment by Kimberly — January 4, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

  37. Yes. As far as I know you can only associate one account with any given kindle. I’m not 100% sure though.

    Comment by Mick West — January 4, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

  38. Obviously you’re already trusting the 2nd person on the amazon account, so, you could add the 2nd credit card, then whenever you go to buy books, just make sure to change your one-click purchase option. Though I suppose it defeats the purpose of buying from the kindle to be at a computer to adjust your payment options, but you could plan ahead or the like :)

    My sister just got a kindle (I’ve had my for half a year), and I’ve lots of books she’d like, and am trying to figure out the best way to get them to her.

    I don’t mind her being able to buy books, as long as she eventually coughs up the money :) So I’ll probably do as suggested and register her kindle under my account.

    As to the Nook vs Kindle…the nook is bigger and heavier. And seems a bit slower than the Kindle. Just my two cents.

    Comment by Mikel — January 10, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

  39. Frankly, the inability to be abel to share is one reason why I decided NOT to buy a Kindle just yet. Imagine – you can’t even lend a book to a friend. How mean is that.

    Then there’s the longevity issue, I’ve just reread a book that’s been sitting on my bookcase for over 20 years…

    … and then there are the platform issues – as libraries go electronic will the books all share the same file format, or will you find that some are not compatible with your reader…?

    Considereing the price of a book, you really should be able to share it with a couple of friends… I think they should look at that.

    Comment by Steve Marshall — January 30, 2010 @ 11:12 am

  40. Mick,
    Great information and very useful discussion. Just what I needed. Thanks for doing this.

    Comment by Gil Morahg — April 5, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

  41. Can you share books between two iPhones using the Kindle app? That’s where I am. My husband has a book on his iPhone Kindle app that I would like to read on my iPhone. Is this possible?

    Comment by Renee — April 14, 2010 @ 9:25 am

  42. Yes, but the phone needs to be registered to the same kindle account as was used on the other phone

    Comment by Mick — April 14, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  43. I purchased a Nook earlier this year and ended up returning it. It was slow, the battery drained somewhat quickly, my book didn’t download properly, and it froze twice in the week I had it. The book sharing is not as fabulous as it sounds either – you can only share the book once, and only for 14 days. B&N really wants to get in on the e-reader game, but I think they released their device before getting all the bugs out. I ended up returning it and buying a kindle – much better!

    Comment by Beth — April 15, 2010 @ 2:53 pm

  44. I bought a kindle for my daughter using my amazon account so my name comes up on her kindle. I just bought myself one. How do I personalize my daughter’s with her name and have my name on mine?!

    Comment by Anne — April 18, 2010 @ 9:18 am

  45. On your computer, go to amazon.com and log in, then under “Your Account”, “Manage Your Kindle”, you will see a list of Kindles registered to your account. Click on “Edit Info” to change the name.

    Any books bought so far will be on your account, and so if you want to have her Kindle on another account (deregister it), then that may mean she can’t get the books she’s already got.

    Comment by Mick — April 18, 2010 @ 9:29 am

  46. Can you register one kindle on multiple amazon accounts? For instance, I have a kindle so does my mom so can I give my mom my kindles serial number to register under her and still keep my serial number on my account in order to share books?

    Comment by Nicole — April 26, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

  47. I have just registered my iPad and PC under the same amazon account. Can I download books to the PC and then move across to the iPad? I’m wi-fi less for a few weeks and can’t download straight to the iPad unless I go to a wi-fi cafe (and I’m in Australia).

    Comment by Sue — May 28, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

  48. Yes you can.

    Comment by Mick — May 28, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

  49. i am getting a kindle, then will be purchasing kindles for my children at christmas. I would like to put them all on the same account so we can share books for the most part, but since my children are still younger, some of my reading material is not appropriate for them. Is it possible to make part of my library available for them to share but not all of it? or is it an all or nothing kind of deal?

    Comment by renee — June 18, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

  50. Thank you for all this great information of sharing an account so my niece and I can share our kindle books.

    If we currently have 2 separate accounts and transfer both kindles into one account, will the books we have on each of our kindles transfer to the new joint account?

    Comment by Harriet Drucker — July 6, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

  51. I don’t think so. A kindle has to be registered to a particular account. So the books might stop working if you change accounts. I’m not entirely sure though.

    Comment by Mick — July 6, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

  52. Is there any way to transfer books from one account to another?

    Comment by Mark — September 8, 2010 @ 4:51 am

  53. No. Books are always on the same account. To get a book on anoother account your would have to re-purchase it.

    Comment by Mick West — September 8, 2010 @ 9:01 am

  54. I have two kindles now. The Kindle 2 was on one account and now I have registered Kindle 3 to the same account. I am not able to see the books from Kindle 2- what am I doing wrong?

    Comment by Cama — October 5, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

  55. Mick,

    thanks for the initial post here. this was the exact answer i was looking for, as i am looking to get a K3 for my wife.

    the only issue i forsee is the furthest page read syncing issue. however, if we maintain never reading the same books at the same time, i dont see this as an issue at all.

    thanks again.

    Comment by Andrew — October 17, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

  56. Thanks for the warning that if you un-register an account (#1) in anticipation of re-registering it with another Kindle account (#2) so you can transfer books, Account #1 will loose his/her books. I’ve been thinking of doing this and was wondering if there was a downside.

    Comment by Susan H. Bush — November 24, 2010 @ 6:48 am

  57. Very good information Mick. Am I right in assuming that the sharing of books on the Kindle works the same way with the Kindle App for the Ipad?

    Comment by Mac — November 30, 2010 @ 6:47 am

  58. Yes. In fact I read mostly on Kindle iPad now.

    Comment by Mick — November 30, 2010 @ 7:27 am

  59. I just got the Kindle with free 3G. I want to get my husband one so we can share books. My question is, does he have to have the free 3g as well or can we get him the Kindle for $139? Thanks very much.

    Comment by Diane Hageman — January 23, 2011 @ 7:21 am

  60. You can share books just the same with WiFi, so long as you both have the same account. We share books between Kindles, iPhones and iPads, the type of device makes no difference.

    Comment by Mick West — January 23, 2011 @ 7:57 am

  61. Very interesting. I have relatives who are doing this with 3 kindle devices.

    Has anyone asked Amazon if it’s OK? If they say it’s OK then I’m happy about it and I’d like to do it.

    I read the end user agreement and got the impression that when they use the words “you” and “your” it was singular, not plural.

    Until Amazon says it’s OK it sounds wrong to me.

    Comment by Jack — February 12, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

  62. It’s a poorly defined legal area that’s currently going through a lot of discussion. I suspect you would have to wait a long time for an answer.

    My wife and I equally own all our kindles, computers and iphones. Consider what would be the case if we only had one Kindle? Would anyone argue then that we were not able to share that one single Kindle?

    While there’s an obvious practical difference to extending that to two Kindles, it’s not at all clear if there’s any legal difference. If I have two kindles, then at what point does letting my wife look at one of them constitute a “violation” of the licensing agreement.

    This (family sharing an account on multiple Kindles) is currently a very common practice, and it seems highly unlikely Amazon would explicitly attempt to restrict it. They would probably not want to explicitly allow it either, as their lawyers might argue it dilutes the licensing agreement in general.

    It’s an interesting legal debate, but for practical and moral purposes I see no reason my wife an I can’t share an account.

    Comment by Mick West — February 12, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  63. I was recently reading the manual for my kindle and I saw the instructions about creating folders and syncing them to multiple devices. In the instructions, I remember seeing the labels on each kindle and one of them had one person’s name and the other had another person’s name. Seems like Amazon understands that people in a household would likely be sharing books. It’s like with itunes, if I install a cd on my itunes that I own, my husband can also install it on his itunes. It belongs to both of us. As a couple, you don’t have to own two copies of every movie, book, or cd you own to be ‘legal’ Why would would ebooks be any different than a real book?

    Comment by Theo — March 24, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

  64. They are different because there are no physical limitation on making copies.

    Kindle have recently introduced a “lending” feature that brings back a bit of what you had with physical books, although somewhat more limited.


    Comment by Mick West — March 24, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  65. My wife and I both have a Kindle with books on them. They are currently on separate accounts. Is there a way to combine both on one account so we won’t loose books alreaty paid for?

    Comment by Warren — May 18, 2011 @ 9:06 am

  66. Don’t bother answering as in reading all the information above I understand the answer to my question is no. Thanks for doing all this work. The information is very informative!

    Comment by Warren — May 19, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

  67. My husband and I are enjoying our Kindle. It’s good to know that we can share. Thanks for letting us know Mick.

    Comment by Samantha — June 4, 2011 @ 2:04 am

  68. We have two kindles that share the same account. Somehow my books are now on my husbands kindle and he says he doesn’t mind, but we don’t always read the same books. My question is, is there a way to take those books off of his kindle without deleting them from mine?

    Comment by Sarah — June 26, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  69. Probably a dumb question but….. I’ve got an iPad but find reading books very difficult; if I buy a Kindle can I copy books from my iBooks and Kindle libraries onto a Kindle as well? Thanks for any info, I don’t want to buy a Kindle and then find I have to repurchase all my books!!

    Comment by Lady Norwood — July 21, 2011 @ 2:18 am

  70. You can transfer the Kindle books, but not the iBooks books.

    Comment by Mick West — August 2, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

  71. Thanks Mick,
    I’ve just registered the second kindle I bought for my wife liz and now when I look at buying a book the only option I get is to download to Liz’s Kindle; mine has disappeared.
    Have i registered liz’s over the top of mine instead of registering a second kindle?
    Thanks for any help.

    Comment by Bob Johnson — October 8, 2011 @ 4:34 am

  72. Bob, hard to tell what’s going on there. I’d try to un-register and then re-register the first kindle. Or do it to both at the same time (so you know you are doing the exact same thing on both).

    Comment by Mick West — October 8, 2011 @ 8:05 am

  73. My wife has bought a kindle for our 12 year old daughter. We’d like our daughter’s name to appear on the kindle, but to have purchases made to my wife’s account. How do we do that? Currently, the kindle says my wife’s name, which is not what we want.

    Any ideas?

    Comment by Andy G — October 28, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  74. Thanks for posting Mick! Might I ask why you use your iPad to read now rather than your Kindle?

    Comment by Deb — December 17, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

  75. Actually I’ve gone back to the Kindle. The iPad was great as a multi-purpose device, but it was too heavy. I’ve got a Kindle 3 now. It’s great.

    Comment by Mick West — December 17, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

  76. Just curious…I bought my 9 year old daughter a Kindle Fire for Christmas, and it put all of my library on her KF. I would like to take off some of my books. Is that possible?

    Comment by Trisha — December 24, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  77. Can you transfer books between two kindles without them being attached to the same account?

    Comment by Suzanne — November 24, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  78. No. When you buy a book it’s attached to your account. However with some books you can “lend” it to another account for a period of time. This varies by book, and probably by country.

    Comment by Mick West — November 24, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  79. Can purchased tv shows and movies be shaed between kindles the same way the sharing of books is being outlined?

    Comment by neal — January 26, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

  80. I just deregistered my kindle off of my account and registered it on my husbands accounts so I can get books on Prime and it took everything I previously had on my kindle off and all of his things are on there now. Do I just take them off of MY carousel (will this remove them from his?) and add what I had back on my kindle now that it’s registered on his account? SHISH………….this is a PITA………might not be worth it just to get free books LOL

    Comment by Kathryn — September 3, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

  81. I have a kindle and have brought my two kids one each and my wife when I download games will it download it to whoever’s kindle we are using at the time.

    Comment by paul — November 28, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

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