pickpocketA relative of mine took her Kindle to the beach. She got a tan. The Kindle got a new owner. Soon my relative discovered that someone had bought a foreign-language magazine with it.

So, with summer vacations coming up, what anti-theft tips can you share with fellow members of the TeleRead community?

Last September, Nathan over at TheeBookReader.com reminded Kindle owners of the need to call Amazon first and then deregister your Kindle. Other tips? And how about other popular devices, ranging from iPhones and iPads to Android phones (fodder for pickpockets?)? Are you using remote-disable apps and locator ones to protect them? Have they done any good?

And if someone has ripped off one or more of your devices, tell us about it—and the lessons you learned. Also, do you think vendors could do more to discourage thefts? What, exactly?

Related: What to do if your Kindle is lost or stolen, an Amazon forum thread.

Image credit: Cory Doctorow. Creative Commons licensed.


  1. Wow. I’m planning for a vacation this summer and I have my iPad and iPhone protected with the remote disable apps, and I plan on doing a last minute backup of both before I leave; but I’d not thought about some evil person taking my Kindle. What would I do at night? Aacckk! Thanks for the tip on calling Amazon first.

  2. I’d add another suggestion. Your precious digital memory box (aka smartphone) may be what gets stolen. Print out all the contact information you’ll need on old-fashioned paper and keep in someplace that unlikely to be taken—perhaps even two or three places.

    Do the same with contact information for your credit cards and other valuables. Even items that claim they won’t be replaced if stolen (perhaps Eurail passes) often can if you have their ID number and a police theft report.

    Never leave valuables where they can be targeted for a snatch-and-run. Even a mere nylon cord attached to a Kindle and looped through your belt or a table leg can make a difference. Remember, you don’t need to make theft impossible, just a little harder than taking from the guy at the next table.

    On the go, consider linking with cord+clip everything that you need to keep track of. After I almost left my computer bag at an airport counter, I now travel with a cord linking my hefty travel bag and the smaller under seat bag. Not only does that make theft more difficult, it makes forgetting harder. I might forget one when in a hurry. I won’t forget both.

    On last suggestion. When theft from a hotel room is possible, trying hiding valuables. A typical thief has to move quickly. If what’s valuable isn’t obvious, it may not be taken.

    And whatever you do, don’t do what I seem many people do—put that pricey smartphone on a cafe table. Unless you’re an Olympic-class sprinter, you’re not likely to catch a snatch-and-run thief.

  3. Pickpocketing would go away if Europe got serious on taking on petty crime. Because Pickpocketting requires a master-apprentice relationship to learn, if you take out the masters (called “Fagens”) then there is nobody to teach new pickpockets. In the United States our harsh sentencing laws put Fagens away for decades and pickpocketing has almost completely vanished from places like NYC.

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