Books Technology

Amazon S3 and Kindle

It’s not just SmugMug and other client applications that aren’t working because of Amazon’s S3 failure. You can purchase a book on Amazon, and it shows among your books in Content Manager, but the book won’t download. The same holds for any subscriptions you try to download.

You don’t get an error or a message. You just don’t get the book. I’ve been back and forth with Amazon trying to figure out why my new purchases weren’t downloading, until I saw the posts about S3. I’m assuming that the book files are stored in S3 storage. Understandable. What’s less understandable is the absolute lack of communication about why a book is not downloading.

I have to wonder if this isn’t related to Amazon’s new video download service. If so, then we may be in for some interesting times.

Amazon also put out a Whispernet upgrade today, and several people have been told this is the problem. However, if the issue was networking, we wouldn’t be able to access the store. We can access the store, but we can’t get our purchases to download. That strikes me as a storage access problem, not a Whispernet problem. Since the timing on this is identical with the down time on S3, I would say these two items are related. Either that, or Amazon is having a system wide failure.

Just received from Amazon:

I apologize for the difficulties you have experienced while trying to download from the Amazon Kindle Store. We are currently performing upgrades on some of our systems that handle file downloads like yours and this is responsible for the error you encountered. Please retry your download again in a few hours and let us know if this problem persists.

That’s the first time I’ve heard a system failure called an upgrade. Amazon is not handling this incident well.

Amazon is all better now and we’re able to download our books. One of the books I purchased was my own, Painting the Web. I just couldn’t resist seeing the whole thing in Kindle.

However, you can forget the “enough room to store 300 books” if you buy my book on the Kindle. The largest book I’ve had to date was 6MB. Painting the Web took a whopping seventeen MB of space. I’m not sure if it’s the heaviest Kindle book there is, but it certainly has to be up there with any others.

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