Operating a Kindle without Amazon (sort of)

I suppose the title gives it away. After the untimely (only 13 years of use!) death of my 2011 Kindle Touch, I’d been in the market for a replacement. I’ve been trying to buy most (re- or non-programmable) tech products used, that I either feel confident I can fully wipe or don’t have to worry about wiping. Part “slightly less tech waste” and part “can’t shell out $200 at the moment”. To avoid Amazon, I wanted to buy a Kobo, but all versions I could find on U.S. sites (eBay, BackMarket) were pricey, which is how I ended up with yet another Kindle ($40 for a scratched up Kindle 7th gen that works fine). In a weak protest, I decided that this version would stay entirely (as much as possible) outside Amazon’s reach. In other words, I’m trying to use it without activating an Amazon account…I’ve connected wifi but try to use it in airplane mode in the general case.

So far I’ve found a semi-decent workflow:

1 – setting up the device. The setup sequence required signing in with an Amazon account once at some point; to escape it, I actually had to reset the entire device (apparently there’s “I changed my mind / misclicked” button). Annoying.

2 – I’m loading my books from Calibre straight to the Kindle, with a data-capacity micro-USB cord. As far as getting my books…I’m not sure how well Calibre does with things like library books. I’m downloading files from books I’ve got access too online, DRM free.

3 – for the dictionary, since I can’t use the Kindle store, I’ve found an original Kindle dictionary (specifically, Merriam Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary, which is the most recent edition I can find). I found it on one of ~those~ sites which I would likely regret linking to. The Kindle can handle “.mobi” dictionaries as native ones, it seems, regardless of origin; once I went into settings –> dictionary, and chose it, it’s been working as my default dictionary.

4 – general experience is fairly painless, once committed to the Calibre workflow. The one extremely annoying thing is a popup every time I click to and from a book back to the main library, where I get a message from Amazon that “cloud not available, since you must register”. Which is rather the point of not being registered, smh.






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