I was starting to doubt Amazon’s claims about battery life.  Remember how they said that it would last for a month with wireless off and at least 10 days with wireless on?

I haven’t seen that sort of longevity out of my battery yet, but I’m hopeful that it’s not the battery’s fault, and I have several reasons to trust both my battery and Amazon’s claims.

1.  Indexing.  If you’re new to Kindle, you might not know about indexing.  There’s no reason that you would know, actually, because it’s one of those behind-the-scenes things that your Kindle will do.  Your Kindle will index all searchable content you have on it (aka not .pdf files).  When it indexes, it basically adds the content of the book to your Kindle’s giant index file, like in a book.  That way when you search for something in the homepage, whatever spot that topic/word appears in all your books will show up.

Indexing drains battery life like a champ.  Understandably so, though, because consider what it’s doing–cataloguing every word in a book and organizing its location in a master list.  That’s going to take some battery life.  You’ll see a very noticable difference if you download five or ten books at a time, which is easy to do with the freebies and classics available.

So when you first get your Kindle and start sending things over from your Amazon archive, expect to see the battery deplete.

However, indexing should stop eventually.  Sometimes your Kindle will get confused and stuck on a book as it tries to index a book but can’t.  In such a case it will sit there and keep trying, which literally ZAPS your battery life.  Everything was peachy and you just downloaded Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin and Jane Austen and went to eat supper, but when you came back later to read before bed, the battery has taken a major hit.

If that’s the case, your Kindle might be stuck on an indexing job.  Which leads me to…

How to check for and fix a stuck indexing job:

  • Go to your home page where all your books (and collections if you’ve set them up) are listed
  • Start typing a nonsense word (“ajsdifaoinewf” works, but if you’re feeling goofy, so does “pooperscoopertownville”)
  • That will bring up a list of places that the term is found.  Probably it is nowhere because it’s nonsense.  However, Kindle also shows you places that it could be, but it just doesn’t know because it hasn’t finished indexing them yet.
  • If you see “Items not yet indexed,” and there’s something(s) there, you’ve got a stuck indexing job.  (Unless you just added it or added a bunch of stuff at once, in which case it might still be working, but it’s a big job.)
  • Return to your homepage and delete the offending, unindexed book.  Then redownload it from your archives or send it from Amazon.
  • You don’t have to buy the book again, and deleting/downloading are pretty quick.
  • Check to see if that book(s) has finished indexing by repeating the process.

Downloading books and indexing them are the two big drains on battery.  Having wireless on will drain it too, because it’s constantly checking for a better signal, but it’s not nearly as bad.

Why I trust Amazon’s claims about battery life:

1.  If I didn’t download anything new, and therefore didn’t have to index anything, I’m pretty sure that my battery would last a month.  For about a week I didn’t download anything or even turn on wireless, and the battery barely budged.

2.  Once you have all your library downloaded to your Kindle, you’ll probably only be buying one book at a time (except for freebies, but there are only so many of those anyway), so indexing won’t be a huge process like it is in the beginning.

So when you first get your Kindle, charge it up, but expect it to drain pretty quickly as you load your content.

If you were taking your Kindle out of the country and had no intention of using wireless or getting new books for a little while, the battery claims are probably spot on.

Remember that the Kindle 3 doesn’t have a new battery from the Kindle 2, just new software.  This isn’t a big deal, but it does mean that the Kindle updates that are already rolling out will affect battery life, probably sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

But trust:  The Kindle’s battery lasts a very long time if you’re using it to read books.  If you’re setting it up or surfing the net much, you’ll see a reduction in performance.

Hope it helps.  If you have a question, leave a comment.