Amazon Kindle update is removing a key feature for loads of users

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 Signature Edition
(Image credit: Future)

If you cast your mind back to May of this year, it was announced that older Amazon Kindle ereaders will be losing a key feature in the future; we’re sorry to say that this ‘future’ date has finally come to pass.

This key feature is the ability to buy books on the device – yeah, it’s a pretty major feature – though you are still able to send files over to the ereader, so it doesn’t make your Kindle totally redundant.

Affected Kindles are the fourth- and fifth-generation models, which came out in 2011 and 2012, as well as the Keyboard and International models. You can check your Kindle model number in the Settings menu of the device, under Device Info, though it may be easier simply to check whether you can still buy an ebook.

However you don’t need to consign your Kindle to a dumpster straight away – like we said, there are still ways to get digital files onto your Kindle, and keep reading them. In fact, we’d imagine that some people don’t even use the on-device Kindle Store, as it’s a lot slower and clunkier to use than the website and app.

If you buy books on the Kindle Store on your computer browser, you can immediately send them over to your Kindle, so the book will be accessible when you next connect the ereader to the web. Alternatively, you can send PDFs and other files to your Kindle and this still works fine.

It’s worth pointing out, though, that if you have an Android phone it’s quite the palaver sending books to your Kindle.

Analysis: but do you need a new Kindle?

The Kindle Store workarounds mean your ereader is still fine to use for reading books on the go. However if you do have an ancient Kindle, there might be other reasons to upgrade.

Devices can lose their battery life over time, meaning you’re not getting the weeks of reading that you’re used to. And your gadget may have been bashed or damage from the normal wear and tear of use, particularly in the port department as that’s where haphazard cable insertion can cause damage – bear in mind, the devices losing onboard Kindle Store are at least 10 years old.

So if you have an affected ereader, you may be considering buying a new one, and upgrading to a newer model for the recent features they’ve brought.

If that’s you, we should probably highlight Amazon’s trade-in program for older devices, which lets you trade in an aging gadget to get money off a new one. That’s if you don’t want to pass your Kindle to a friend who could use it, of course.

Whether or not you’re opting for a trade-in, there are often some good deals on ereaders, and we’ll share the best ones in your region below:

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.