Amazon: no more books if you don’t install this big Kindle software update by Tuesday

Amazon apparently has a very important software update for certain Kindle models — so much so that it will stop selling Kindle owners online books unless they install it by Tuesday.

In a rare and rather mysterious move, Amazon has decided it will block some of its older Kindle models from accessing its online store and downloading books unless owners apply a “critical software update” by Tuesday, March 22.

The embargo on devices only applies to pre-2013 models and means that Amazon is willing to forgo, or at least stymie, sales to owners of these Kindle devices if they don’t update by deadline.

If affected Kindle models don’t have the update installed by Tuesday, owners will receive the message: “Your Kindle is unable to connect at this time.”

Users are then directed to ensure they are within range of a wireless network and try the update again.

But essentially, if the update is not installed by the deadline, the only option to avoid being blocked from buying books from Amazon will be to use a computer to manually download the update and transfer the software to the Kindle via USB.

Devices that need to be updated include the Kindle 1st and 2nd Generation, Kindle DX 2nd Generation, Kindle Keyboard 3rd Generation, Kindle 4th and 5th Generation, Kindle Touch 4th Generation, and Kindle Paperwhite 5th Generation. Models from 2013 and later do not need be updated.

Confusingly, Amazon hasn’t explained what the critical update is for but notes a few quirks that mean some makes — even with the latest software — could be blocked.

For example, its Kindle 2nd Generation with 2G/3G wireless connectivity will need to connect to the internet over a cellular/mobile network even if they’re running the latest version of its software.

Meanwhile, the Kindle Keyboard 3rd Generation Kindle Touch 4th Generation and Kindle Paperwhite 5th Generation will need to connect to wi-fi to receive the update even if they have built-in 3G.

Amazon forum moderators offered this explanation to offer earlier this month: “Customers using an outdated software version on Kindle e-readers, or that have not connected wirelessly since October 5, 2015, require an important software update by March 22, 2016, in order to continue to download Kindle books and use Kindle services.”

“Wirelessly” in this case means a connection via a cellular/mobile network. The forum is filled with posts from users that are trying to beat the deadline but can’t figure out whether they’re running the version that will ensure continued access.

To get the update users will need to connect to a wi-fi network and go to Menu, and select Sync and Check for Items.

It also looks to be a very slow or possibly large update with Amazon advising users to plug the Kindle into a power socket and leave it there, connected to a wi-fi network, overnight. The device may also restart multiple times before the update is properly installed.

“While asleep, the software update will download and install automatically. Your device may restart multiple times during the update process,” Amazon notes in its alert.

Devices will be installed with a confirmation letter titled “03-2016 Successful Update” when the update has completed.

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