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Move everything from an old Kindle to your new Kindle

If you have bought a new Kindle to replace an old one, the process of transferring all of your data is probably easier than you think.

Last week, something terrible happened. No, I'm not talking about getting ripped off by Diablo 3 scammers — this was much worse. It was a dark and stormy night when I was awoken by a scratching, as though the corpse I had recently buried in my basement had come back to life and was clawing its way free. Happily, it was just my dog, scratching at the door to be let out for number ones.

Goodnight, sweet prince.(Credit: Joe Hanlon/CNET)

So, I let the dog out, stumbled back through the dark and heard a heartbreaking sound as I reached the bed; a faint crack as I pressed my foot down on the screen of my Kindle. I knew it was over before I shone the light from my mobile phone across the Kindle to inspect the damage. The screen was ruined, with half of it unable to refresh, leaving a burnt in image, like an E Ink etching.

Seriously, I was crushed — no pun intended. I get to play with all manner of awesome gadgets, but my Kindle was one of the few tech toys I really loved. After examining my options online, I decided there was no way to repair it cheaply, and that I'd bite the bullet and buy a new one. I very nearly choose a Kobo Touch instead, but, after some thought, I went with the non-touch Kindle 4.

OK, sob story aside; if you find yourself in the same situation with a dead Kindle housing your entire literary life, including bookmarks, annotations and more, the process to get these from one Kindle to the next is surprisingly simple.

Both Kindles will have a "Documents" folder. This is where the e-reader looks for all books and metadata. If you plug your Kindle into a PC and explore this folder, you'll find all of your books there, plus dozens of tiny files with unusual extensions. The AZW files are the books you have bought from Amazon, but you'll likely have about four files for each of the books you have read on your Kindle. All of these files need to be transferred if you want your new Kindle to remember your place in your recent reading.

All you'll need to do is copy and paste the "Documents" folder from your old Kindle to your new Kindle. There may be a bunch of files with the same filename, so you'll need to decide whether to keep the files on your new Kindle or overwrite them with ones from your old model. I chose the former, just in case files like the Dictionary had been updated between models.

Once this process is complete, your new Kindle will look just like your old one. Your books will be in the same order as before, your sub-categories will be in place and all your books will open to the same place you last left them.