Amazon Is Going To Start Charging You for Storage (Amazon Cloud Storage)

Posted on 03/27/2015 in Discussion / 11 Comments

Amidst the wails of hardcore bibliophiles everywhere, Amazon announced they are changing up storage options.  This does not affect Kindle books you have purchased from Amazon, but it may affect books you send to your Kindle via Netgalley, Edelweiss and good, old-fashioned email.  Please welcome Amazon Cloud Storage.

Free storage is GONE, unless you are a Prime member

Amazon cloud storage Prime now costs $99/year.  That’s only $8.25/month.  To put it into perspective, Netflix is charging you roughly the same, and they only stream movies.  At least with Prime, you get free two-day shipping out of the deal, and access to Prime Music and borrowable Kindle books. I did some really intense, 30-second research (thanks, Quora!) and found that the average ebook is about 300-1,000kb (that’s 0.30mb – 1.0mb if I’m mathing right) .  Therefore 5gb of storage is equal to about ~5,000-16,000 books, depending on their size.  That’s a lot of books!  I don’t think 99% of Kindle users have to worry about running out of space if they are only storing books.

If you aren’t a Prime member, unlimited photo storage and 5gb of “files” storage is $11.99/year

That’s less than a dollar a month to hoard your digital library, which is more than reasonable.   However if you want to go unlimited everything, it’s only $59.99/year.  That’s less than $5/month.  Similar cloud storage companies like BackBlaze, Mozy and Carbonite charge about the same.  Amazon Cloud Storage prices are on par with the competition. Worst-case scenario, you ebook-hoard and want to keep all 30,000 books you have from your various sources, like Netgalley, Edelweiss, etc.  Amazon is going to charge you a very nominal fee to store these for you so you don’t accidentally lose them.

It does not apply to Kindle book purchases through Amazon, but it does apply to “Send to Kindle” documents

Brianna @ The Book Vixen called Amazon today, and the call rep “confirmed” that this does not apply to “send direct to kindle address” books (Netgalley, Edelweiss, etc).  But I have a hard time believing this particular call rep knew what he was talking about, because when I logged into my Amazon Cloud storage (I’m a Prime member, so I don’t have to risk the free trial), it did show a folder structure that included “My Send to Kindle Docs”.  And when I clicked on “Manage Storage”, it shows I’m using 4.7mb.  So obviously they do count toward your storage limit.

Amazon cloud storage
I will probably never use the photo storage they offer
Amazon cloud storage
Click if you want to enlarge

But let me reiterate:  5gb is a LOT of books.

I personally wouldn’t sign up for Amazon Cloud storage

There are better alternatives to backing up your files.  I have been using BackBlaze for about 6-7 years to back my files up to the cloud.  I get unlimited storage and the ability to auto-backup when connected to the internet, which is an option it seems Amazon does not offer, except from their mobile device app.  I haven’t had to worry about my hard drive crashing in years, because I know the files are being saved to hard drive space I rent that is accessible via the cloud. Or, if you are cheap frugal, you can download the files to your personal hard drive and store them in a folder.

I can understand why Amazon is doing this

Storage isn’t expensive, when you really think about it.  You can get a 1tb hard drive for under $100 to use as a backup, but you are still personally responsible for backing up your data, and maintaining the disk drive, which I find to be a total pain in the ass because I’m lazy and forgetful.  I’m personally a fan of online backup because my $5/month rental fee is paying for the peace of mind that the other guys can worry about duplicate backups and ensuring that their servers and disk space are in tip-top shape.  And I don’t have to worry about losing any of my files from a stupid brain fart. But at the same time, it still costs money to give people that kind of space.  That hard drive you’re storing files on still cost someone money to purchase, and then maintain.

You get what you pay for, ultimately

Free is good, but free is still “free.”  Sort of like the Blogger vs. self-hosted debate, you are at the mercy of the person giving you the free thing.  Even if you qualify for their “free” plan through Prime, you should still be backing your files up somewhere else, anyway.   So in short, don’t worry about it!  But I do recommend Prime membership, simply because it has a lot of perks.

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Jennifer is both a book nerd and professional photographer. That means she lives in the fantasy world all the time, whether of her making, or someone else's. She collects books like the Duggar family collects kids, and began waiting for her Hogwarts letter at the tender age of 33.


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11 responses to “Amazon Is Going To Start Charging You for Storage (Amazon Cloud Storage)

  1. Thanks for trying to explain this. I am still a bit confused and not sure what to do as I only use amazon for downloading some free books and a few netgalley books. Not a lot, but still enough that I don’t want to lose them. I mostly use my kobo ereader for books. For the kindle books I do download most books to my ipad kindle app so they are on my device instead of only on cloud. Like Anna I am also wondering what will happen to my books if I don’t pay and if one day my cloud will just disapear completely. For those in the US I know amazon offers a lot, but for us international peeps it often is’t worth it. Beside that as long as amazon doens’t accept paypal or ideal as a payment method I simply can’t and won’t buy anything from them.
    Lola’s latest thoughts >> Sunday Post #119

    • That’s the question of the hour: what will happen to your old docs? I personally don’t think it’s fair for them to change it up like this. Do I think they should charge? Yes. Do I think they should let files that already exist in their cloud be freebies? Yes. Nobody should get punished just because they’ve changed their business plan. Your freebie books from Amazon should be fine. I would start backing up those NG and EW books to your comp hard drive, though. Hell, for all I know, this is only the US store and you guys aren’t affected at all.
      Jennifer @ BookShelfery’s latest thoughts >> Audiobook Review and Giveaway: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

      • I agree that it makes sense for them to change it like this, but indeed I hope I can still access most of my books. I have most of my netgalley books downloaded to my device so I am hoping they will be fine. Is there another way to get them from my kindle app to my computer? I did got an e-mail from amazon about the change, so I am assuming this affects everyone.
        Lola’s latest thoughts >> Sunday Post #119

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