It’s your friendly KF on KND Editor April L. Hamilton here.
We here at KF on KND are still getting questions on a regular basis that make it clear to us many Fire owners don’t quite understand storage of their content in the Cloud vs. on their device.
For example, a grandma recently wrote to ask why she wasn’t seeing a bunch of apps she’d just purchased or gotten free for her grandchild on the grandchild’s Fire tablet. So let’s break it down.
1. Purchased content is stored to Amazon’s Cloud by default.
This is because Amazon knows memory is limited on any tablet, no matter the make or brand, so unless you specify some new ebook, video or app should be immediately delivered to a specific device you have registered with Amazon at the time of purchase, that content is added to your Cloud library.
Even when you don’t specify delivery to a specific device you may find an icon or cover image for the content on your carousel(s), but that’s only to remind you of stuff you’ve bought, in case you want to download it.
2. Content that was stored to the Cloud must be downloaded to a specific device before you can use it.
Doing this is simple. On your Fire, just go to the content menu for the type of content you want to download, then tap the ‘Cloud’ link to display all the content of that type you own that’s currently being stored in Amazon’s Cloud. Then find the item you want and long-tap to start it downloading to the device.
For example, if you know you bought a copy of The Vampire Lestat long ago, but don’t have it downloaded to any of your devices and want to read it now, here’s the step-by-step:
a. On your Fire device, tap the menu item for “Books”.
b. On the Books page, tap the link for “Cloud”.
c. Find The Vampire Lestat in your Cloud library.
d. Long-tap on the cover to start the download.
3. Content can be deleted from the Cloud, the device, or both, and deleting from one location does not automatically delete from the other location.
This is a feature, not a bug. Amazon’s first assumption is that your Fire is a temporary holder for your content, that permanent storage is the Cloud’s job. Therefore, when you delete an item from your Fire unless you take specific, additional steps to also delete it from the Cloud, that content will remain in your Cloud library.
See, Amazon doesn’t want to make it too easy for users to accidentally, permanently delete content they’ve paid for. The Kindle/Fire ecosystem is built on an assumption that if you bought or downloaded a given piece of content, you intend to keep it. Imagine if the instant you finished watching a DVD, it vanished into thin air and you could never watch it again unless you re-purchased it. That’s the sort of thing Amazon’s trying to avoid, that’s why they make it more than a one-step process to delete content.
This system works in reverse, too: Amazon does not assume that just because you’ve deleted a given piece of content from your Cloud library, you also want it deleted from any device where it’s currently downloaded. So if you really, definitely, certainly, permanently want to get rid of a given piece of content, you must delete it both from the Cloud and from any devices where it’s downloaded. Otherwise, the next time you sync, the content you want to get rid of may be copied back from your tablet to your Cloud library.
4. Remember, there can be a delay between the time you purchase content (or get it for free) and the time it shows up in your Cloud library or on your device.
This is also partly by design. It used to bother me, how Amazon would immediately process any digital purchase, because my bank account has terms that limit my daily debit card transactions to 10. If I wanted to download a bunch of singles in the MP3 Store, I could very quickly find myself locked out from making any more purchases, anywhere, that day.
For the past several months, I’ve noticed that Amazon doesn’t instantly process digital purchase transactions anymore, there’s often a delay of anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours before I get that purchase confirmation email and when it finally does show up, if I’ve made multiple purchases within the same 1-2 hour window, they’ll all be combined into one transaction.
Most of the time I’m fine with waiting for the content to show up. But if there’s some reason I need it immediately (i.e., it’s a book one of my kids needs to do homework), these are the simple steps to get that content:
1. Login to Amazon.
2. Go to Your Account > Manage Your Content and Devices.
3. Look up the item you want to download.
4. Click on the Actions button (it has three dots on it, and as of this writing it’s at the far left, next to the selection checkbox for each listed item)
5. In the Actions pop-up, click on Deliver and follow the prompts to deliver the content to the device where you want it.
Hopefully this has cleared up any confusion, but if not, feel free to use the Comments area to ask any questions you may have.