Weeping guyUp till now, I’ve had almost nothing but good experiences with my $50 Amazon Fire. It’s been fast, robust, and a pleasure to use. Unfortunately, that’s now changed, and I don’t know why.

I keep a lot of my ebooks in EPUB format, and for those, I prefer Mantano Ebook Reader Free. One of the principal reasons I prefer that app is that it can access the Fire’s external micro SD storage, and to use that to store my ebook library. My Books folder on the microSD card hitherto held almost 200 EPUB files – until now. Because when I fired up Ebook Reader Free last night, expecting to read my favorite titles, I found that all the EPUB jacket thumbnails were greyed out. Clicking on them produced the message that the file was no longer on my device.

Wondering if this was a fault with the Mantano app, I checked the Books folder in my file manager app, File Expert HD. Empty. Worried now that I might have lost all files from the micro SD card, I checked my PDF folder, my Kindle sideloaded files folder, pictures folder, etc. All fine. For whatever reason, the Books folder was the only one affected. But every single file had vanished from it.

I’m at a loss as to why this happened. I can’t see any reason to suspect that Mantano Ebook Reader Free somehow deleted the entire library. When I did restore the missing files, Ebook Reader Free still had their details on record and didn’t require a fresh import, which leads me to suspect that it wasn’t to blame. I’ve got the same app running on my mobile phone and my now-aging Lenovo A7-10 tablet, and had no issues like this with them. After some odd messages from File Expert HD, I suspect it could be that, especially as the ebook loss coincided with an automatic update for File Expert HD, but then again, none of the other folders on the micro SD card seem to have been affected. I hesitate to blame the Fire itself or its OS either, with no evidence of any fault there.

Luckily, the Fire’s Books folder was put together from other libraries on my various devices, so at least I haven’t lost anything permanently, as far as I know. But there’s always some backtracking to be done, and the chance that some recent additions have been lost. It’s set me back for at least one review, which led to some shuffling between devices.

My Kindle library, needless to say, is not affected. That all downloads from and syncs to the cloud as always. And annoying as Amazon’s Kindle app can be at times, that’s one blessing I count this time.

Otherwise, the moral should be obvious: Back up your stuff. Even with robust technology like the Fire, you never know when a problem’s going to hit. I certainly didn’t see this one coming. And I can’t give any clearer warning when I don’t know what caused the problem in the first place.


  1. barely related question: I’ve uploaded several books to google play books, and just realized i lost the original files, no backup. i haven’t found a way to download back those .epubs and it’s driving me nuts.

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