UPDATE Aug 5: Amazon’s Kindle support called me this morning to let me know that they’d fixed the pdf conversion problem — which is indeed now working. (Thanks, Amazon.) However, I still am not receiving my Instapaper digests on my Kindle. I’ve contacted Instapaper twice about this; no response yet. I’ve also let Amazon know of the continuing Instapaper problem.
I’m an avid Kindle user, mostly because I’ve come to hate paper and need to save space. I love the device, I think it’s a great reading experience and it suits my lifestyle — even though Amazon’s choice to rescind my George Orwell anthology a few weeks ago was simply beyond parody. (Lesson: Back up all your Kindle content as soon as it arrives on your machine. I put Orwell back on my Kindle simply by copying it from my backup.)
In the last couple of weeks some significant problems have developed concerning non-Amazon content for my Kindle — specifically PDFs I’ve been trying to reformat for Kindle reading, and digests sent to my Kindle from my Instapaper account. In late July both of those services stopped working for me entirely. That’s a big problem for me. Without those services, the Kindle is much less useful to me.
I don’t know whether other Kindle users are having these problems, but I thought I’d explain what I’m experiencing just in case someone has an explanation or solution. I’m working with Kindle support on this, but they said it might take a couple of weeks to resolve.
Here are the details…
I’m a fan of the free service Instapaper, which I use to import to my Kindle content that I’d rather not read on my computer (basically, anything long-format). My Instapaper account is configured to send a daily digest of saved items to my Kindle, as long as I’ve saved a minimum of three items. That worked fine… Until July 25. Since then I’ve received no Instapaper digests on my Kindle, although I’ve continued to save Instapaper items since them.
Also, I often use the service available from Amazon under “Manage my Kindle” to format PDF files for Kindle reading. I’ve found this is perfect for reports and other documents I’d rather read on a Kindle than via laptop or printout. The way this service works is that Amazon designates an e-mail address for your Kindle. When I send e-mail to that address, and attach a PDF file, within a minute or so Amazon sends me a Kindle-formatted version of the file. (You can do that for free if you download it to your computer and transfer via cable to your Kindle, or they’ll ding you $0.15/MB to download wirelessly to your device.)
Since July 21 I’ve tried to format several PDFs this way. I e-mail them to Amazon, and nothing comes back. No file, no bounce message or error message. It just vanishes.
I just talked to a gentleman in Kindle support. He didn’t have an answer, but is looking into it. He has no idea what might be interfering with my attempts to reformat PDFs. However, he did say it’s possible that Amazon may have elected to block my incoming digests from Instapaper even though I’ve authorized Instapaper to send files to my Kindle for months!
He’s checking on whether Instapaper was blocked from my account, but it could take a couple of weeks to get an answer from the Kindle tech team on that.
While it’s possible these two problems are unrelated, it’s conspicuous that they developed simultaneously. The effect is that right now the only content I can get onto my Kindle is content acquired through Amazon’s Kindle store: purchased or free books, sample chapters, my Technology Review subscription, the Amazon Daily newsletter, etc. It’s weird.
Has anyone else had this Kindle problem lately? What was the cause, and how did you resolve it? Please comment below. I’ll be posting updates to this issue.