Amazon just sent an email to a number of Kindle users who have older devices on their accounts. The company has stated that the Kindle (2nd Generation) International, Kindle DX International, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle (4th Generation) and Kindle (5th Generation) will no longer be able to read books directly from these Kindle models to browse, buy or rent . The only way to get books delivered to these devices is to buy them on your local Amazon website and have them delivered to the Kindle. Existing books on these models can still be accessed.
This is the first time Amazon has completely suspended store access for a range of Kindle e-readers. Amazon hasn’t disclosed the reason these particular models will lose access to the store. I believe this is probably due to a TLS issue as the oldest Kindle models have an older version and are unlikely to be upgradeable. This is partly because they only support TLS 1.0 and 1.1 and don’t have the necessary permissions to make purchases in the store due to older hardware. Because of this, they can’t just issue a firmware update to fix the problem because they can’t. While TLS is just speculation, I think it has its value. The lack of modern TLS standards on older Kindles is one of the reasons why many of them have lost access to the full version of the Wikipedia site, although the pop-up cards still work.
Amazon hopes to mitigate the negative publicity by bribing users to accept a promo code that gives 30% off a new e-reader and $40 in free e-book credit. This is a similar trick they did when older Kindle models lost the ability to connect to 3G networks to buy books outside of a WIFI zone. This happened because many of Amazon’s carrier partners in the US and internationally are shutting down their 3G networks and using the spectrum for their latest-generation 5G networks. Many of the earliest Kindles didn’t even have WIFI to buy books, only 3G, which was turned off for millions of users. Many people who spent the extra cash on a 3G-enabled Kindle felt particularly betrayed that they can no longer use what they paid for.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audio books and e-readers for twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.