How to pre-load a Kindle with books as a gift without an account

I’m a huge Kindle fan and have given three Kindle Paperwhites to family members over the years as gifts.

I’ve usually tried to make it easy for them to pick up immediately by helping them set it up and adding some books right away (we’ve all got those family members with still-in-box electronics they’ve never set up right?)

But recently I bought a Kindle Paperwhite for my sister who lives in Berlin, so I had to figure out how to pre-load books for her without having her Amazon account.

Turns it it wasn’t too difficult!

How to set up a Kindle without an Amazon account

First, you’ll need to get it to fully boot up without an account:

  • Make sure you order it “As a gift”, do it doesn’t come pre-configured (or follow the steps for a factory reset)
  • Turn it on and follow the setup until you get to the account sign-in screen
  • Now hold the on/off button for a while until it reboots
  • You should now be in the normal UI without an account

Now the Kindle is ready for you to load books onto it.

Transfer Books onto the Kindle via USB

I like Calibre for sideloading books. It supports a variety of formats and will help fetch metadata as well. It’s free and available for all operating systems.

Head over to Project Gutenberg’s top 100 books, download some classics and add them to your Kindle via USB with Calibre. Jason Snell has a good guide on how to use Calibre over at Six Colors.

Once you’ve added books with Calibre, unplug the USB cable and you’ll start to see them appear on the Kindle home screen, ready for the lucky new owner.

Final tips

  • Grab our tizi Flip reversible micro USB cable – it makes charging the Kindle so much easier (the micro USB port on the Kindle seems particularly hard to figure out the right way around).
  • The Kindle’s are usually discounted around Prime Day, Black Friday, Easter and Christmas, so if you can plan ahead you can save a few bucks.

Shop for the new Kindle Paperwhite 2018 on Amazon