Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hallelujah! You can now delete books from your Amazon account!

How great is that!

This ability has been rolled out quietly and to no fanfare despite the fact that not being able to do so is an issue which has engendered much anger and comments on this blog, in lists and on the Amazon forum.

There are lots of reasons to permanently delete books. Let me name a few:

You took advantage of a free book offer. The book was terrible.

You would like to share your Kindle account with your teenager or your grandmother and there are books in your account which might prove embarrassing or inappropriate.

You have read the book and will never read it again, nor will anyone in your family. Let it go.

The physical books I hang onto are those which, for whatever reason, I may refer to again—arts and crafts, computer manuals, poetry, spirituality, self-improvement, history, etc. This would include very little in the way of fiction. As one who reads well over 100 books a year, to keep everything I read, I would need to have a very big house and more bookshelves than I already do. And dusting them can become daunting. I don't have to dust the virtual books, but keeping titles I will never read again makes for a long and more confusing list to scroll through.

How to delete books permanently from your Kindle account:

Go to Amazon, click on My Account, sign in and scroll down to Manage Your Kindle. Toward the bottom of the page you will find a section called Your Orders. By default these will be listed chronologically with the latest order first. To change that to the earliest order first, click on the arrow under Order Date. Or you can sort them by title or author alphabetically with a few caveats: (1) It sorts by the author's first name (2) When sorting by title, it uses a, an, the as part of the title. Thus you will find The Blind Side with the Ts, not with the Bs. Nevertheless, you will be able to locate what you want to delete, one way or another.

Find the book you wish to delete and click on the plus sign before the title. This brings up a box with some options, one of which is Delete this Title. If you click that, it warns you that the deletion is permanent and should you want the book back, you will have to buy it again. If you still want to delete it, click OK. It takes a moment for the site to digest this and then you are back where you started with your latest purchase listed first. If you have a lot of books to delete this can become tedious, but liberating if this is something you have been wanting to do. For me it was.

While trying to delete books from their Kindle accounts, some have encountered problems which appear to be browser related. If you run into a problem, refresh your browser, or better yet, try Firefox. Many have said everything works fine for them with Firefox whereas it did not with Internet Explorer. Not a problem for me because I have a Mac.