Kindle Automatic Book Update & Annotation Back Up

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Kindle Fire users who ONLY read Kindle books on their Fires don’t have to turn on Annotation Back Up, it’s automatically turned on at all times for Fire devices.

In another post on this site, Kindle Book Updates and Formatting Problems, I talk about having received a notification from Amazon that one of the Kindle books I own has been re-released in an updated/improved version, letting me know I can download the updated version for free.

Thanks to some new developments at Amazon, it’s now possible to opt-in for automatic updates any time a new version of a Kindle book you already own becomes available.


Kindle Automatic Book Update and Annotation Back Up

Kindle Automatic Book Update is a service Amazon created specifically to address the increasing numbers of Kindle book updates. It allows customers to opt in for automatic downloads of updated Kindle books. If you’re thinking you would never want to do this because you use the bookmarks, annotations and highlight features in your Kindle books and don’t want to have all your personal notes deleted when an update comes in automatically, never fear: there’s an Annotation Back Up setting available that will keep all that stuff backed up automatically and automatically re-apply it when you get an automatic Kindle book update.

Of course there are going to be some exceptions. For example, if you’ve highlighted a passage that no longer exists in the updated version, of course you’re going to lose that highlight. You get the idea.


Backing Up: Do This FIRST

If you use the annotation features in any of your Kindle books and you have a black-and-white model Kindle or Paperwhite, or use the Kindle Reader app, you should turn on the Annotation Back Up setting on all your Kindle devices and in any Kindle reader apps you use and perform a manual sync before opting in for Automatic Book Updates. If you run multiple copies of the Kindle Reader app (e.g., on your computer, your smart phone and your iPad), you’ll want to check this setting on every copy of the Kindle Reader app you use.

Users of black-and-white model Kindles, or the Kindle Reader app, need to be sure the Annotation Back Up setting is set to “on” before they opt in for the Automatic Kindle Book Update service.

Note that Annotation Back Up is always on for Kindle Fire devices, so if you’ve got a Fire there’s nothing you need to set or sync. But if you switch back and forth between your Fire and a black-and-white model or a Kindle Reader app, you still need to turn on Annotation Back Up on those device(s) and in the app(s):

On a black and white Kindle device, from the Home screen (where all your content is listed), open the Settings menu and turn on the Annotation Back Up setting. Depending on your specific device, this may be on the first or second page of the settings menu. Perform a manual sync to update your bookmarks, annotations and highlights on Amazon’s cloud.

In the Kindle Reader app, from any screen, tap or click on Tools > Options > Annotations and tap or click to place a checkmark in the Annotations Back Up box. Perform a manual sync to update your bookmarks, annotations and highlights on Amazon’s cloud.


Opting In For Automatic Kindle Book Updates

Now that you’ve backed up all your current bookmarks, annotations and highlights and have set things up so they’ll continue to be backed up automatically from now on, you can safely opt in for the Automatic Kindle Book Update service.

However, be aware of this one caveat: when updates to a book have resulted in a significant rewrite or re-organization of the book’s content, the Annotations Back Up feature may not work because the locations where you previously set bookmarks, wrote annotations or made highlights may no longer exist, or may have changed so much that the Annotation service can’t identify them any more. So if your bookmarks, notes and annotations are of crucial importance to you and you’d prefer NEVER to take the risk of losing them in an automatic book update, you should NOT opt in for automatic book updates.


Login to the Amazon site and go to Your Account > Manage Your Kindle. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, in the Whispersync Settings area, and click the link for “Turn On” under the Actions column for Automatic Book Updates.

Updated books will have a “New!” indication next to the book’s title on black and white Kindle models, and a “New!” mini-banner in one corner of the book’s cover image icon in the Reader app.


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  1. Comment by Judy:

    So I opted for the automatic updates option. It updated my books but it appears that there are now 2 copies of the book. I just retread 2 books and when I attempt to put it back into my collection it’s already there and also in the general section. I remove from collection and then add it back and it’s still in 2 places. I just end up removing it from device and it removes both. Is this only happening to me? Thanks.

    • Comment by Mom:

      I haven’t experienced this sort of thing, or heard of anyone else experiencing it. I suggest you contact Kindle support: login to the Amazon site, click on Your Account > Manage Your Kindle. On the Manage Your Kindle page, mouse over the small, blue Kindle Help link to open the Kindle Help drop-down menu. On that menu, click on the Contact Us link. You will be routed to Kindle Customer Support, and not the regular customer support department for the entire Amazon site. Hope this helps!