Amazon has just sent an email to a number of Kindle users who have older e-readers on their account. The company has stated that the Kindle (2nd Gen) International, Kindle DX International, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle (4th Gen), and Kindle (5th Gen) will no longer be able to browse, buy, or borrow books directly from these Kindle e-readers. The only way you can have books delivered to these devices to buy them from your local Amazon website and have them delivered to the Kindle. Existing books that are on these models will still be accessible.
This is the first time that Amazon has ever totally cut off store access on a series of Kindle e-readers. Amazon has not disclosed the reason why these particular models are going to lose store access. I believe this likely due to a TLS issue, since the oldest Kindle models have an older version and likely can’t be upgraded. This is partly due to them only supporting TLS 1.0 and 1.1 and due to older hardware, won’t have the necessary permissions to make store purchases. This is why they Amazon can’t simply issue a firmware update to fix the issue.
Suffice to say, since Amazon has not publicly commented, TLS is just pure speculation, but I think this is the mostly likely explanation. The absence on modern TLS standards on older Kindles is one of the reason why older Kindles lost access to the full version of the Wikipedia site, although the popup cards still work. Wikipedia recently stopped supporting older TLS standards.
Amazon is hoping to taper the negative publicity by bribing users to accept a promotional code that will give 30% off a new Kindle and $40 in free ebook credit. This is a similar stunt they pulled when older Kindle models lost the ability to connect to 3G networks to buy books outside of a WIFI zone. This occurred because many of Amazons carriers partners in the US and internationally are shutting down their 3G networks and using the frequencies for their latest generation 5G networks. Many of the earliest Kindles did not even have WIFI to buy books, only 3G, which was shut off for millions of users. Many people who spent the extra money for a 3G enabled Kindle felt particularly betrayed, that they can no longer use what they paid for.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.