Does your Kindle sometimes start acting sluggish, for no apparent reason? If so, you might have an indexing issue.

As you may know, when you download books to your Kindle, your device creates an index for each book to facilitate searching within a book. Most of the time, indexing goes smoothly. But sometimes not.

Here’s an easy tip to figure out if indexing is your problem. Go to the Search box on your Kindle’s main page. The picture below shows what it looks like on a Kindle Touch. If you’re using an older Kindle, your search box might look different.

Type in a nonsense word, or a word that isn’t likely to be used in most of your books. I use “paradox,” because I like the word, and it isn’t used frequently. Tap the arrow, and your Kindle will start looking for that word.

As it searches, you’ll see the following screen, where your Kindle will tell you what books are not yet indexed. You can also tap on “Not yet indexed” to see what books are still being indexed.

Sometimes, this function will give you an idea of what might be stuck in indexing. If there’s a book listed that you just downloaded, no worries. But if you see a book you downloaded a few hours (or a few days) ago, you might have a problem. Try deleting and re-downloading the book. Often that will fix the problem.

It’s also recommended that you download books in small batches, like 10 or so. Give them time to index before you download the next batch. Your Kindle is an amazing device, but it doesn’t have a processor like a tablet or computer. Don’t overload its brain!

When downloading and indexing large numbers of books, keep your Kindle plugged in. The devices seem to operate faster on AC power.

Give this a try the next time your Kindle starts to act sluggish. So far, every time mine has slowed down, checking the indexing has always shown a book in progress, and waiting for it to finish has fixed the slow-down.


  1. When do Kindles do their indexing? I turn my Kindle 3 on and immediately began reading. Half-an-hour or so later, I finish flipping pages and turn it off. Since it is an epaper model, I almost never use it while plugged in.

    If it only indexes when turned on, I’m giving it very little chance to do so. That said, I’ve never seen it get sluggish, so I must be doing something right. On the other hand, maybe I should leave the power switch alone and let it index and shut itself off.

  2. Michael, Kindles only index after a book is downloaded. And it usually only takes a minute or two (sometimes longer if you’ve downloaded a tome, like a Robert Jordan book). I was recommending keeping it plugged in only if you’ve downloaded a lot of books at one time (20 ore more). As long as you are downloading a few at a time, you’ll be fine. However, if you do see lag, check to see that one of your books hasn’t gotten stuck in indexing ,which can happen from time to time.

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