back to article How to... change sleep-screen pics on your Kindle

I recently bought myself a Kindle, which is providing sterling service as an e-book reader for my daily trips in and out of Vulture Central. It's more compact and lighter than a tablet, even a 7in one, like Samsung's Galaxy Tab. Yet its 6in screen means I don't have to squint at a smartphone display. Since it only cost £111, I …


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  1. stucs201

    Cover image

    I've never understood why it doesn't just display the cover of the book you're reading. Or would that be too obvious?

    1. Ian K

      (untitled) (dammit)

      Because - AFAIK - eBooks don't actually have cover images embedded in them.

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Some do

        Certainly on ePubs, some do. But equally, an awful lot of eBooks don't, and just have a pretty generic publisher's logo with the author and title. I suspect it's because someone's forgotten to acquire the necessary rights to the image in some cases, rather than sheer laziness. Though you can't rule that out where some companies are concerned

        1. Gav

          Image size

          I would think it has far more to do with the size of the image. Entire books occupy tiny amounts of memory and bandwidth. But if you're going to embed pretty pictures in them they take up significantly more. That's why Amazon actively discourage images in their ebooks.

          It's the opposite of album covers on MP3s. There the image doesn't take any appreciable room in comparison to the actual content.

          1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Image size

            Dunno where this notion that Amazon "actively discourage" covers in e-books comes from. I have plenty of Kindle editions that include cover pics. Most do. Those that don't are almost entirely older books OCR'd for the digital era.

    2. Marvin the Martian
      IT Angle

      Privacy, obviously.

      Think about it.

      1. Wize

        Maybe you don't want everyone to see the book cover.

        You might be embarrassed about reading the Twilight saga.

        1. stucs201

          Not wanting people to see the cover

          Seriously? That'll be why I used to see so many people reading paperbacks with the covers ripped off then. Oh wait, that didn't happen.

          If its really such an issue, which it isn't, then a simple option to select 'Current Cover', 'Random Artwork' or 'Blank" would give something relevant for most people and a getout for the paranoid.

  2. d00feruk
    Thumb Up


    The same guide I followed. It's a worthwhile hack that brings me endless enjoyment. For the intrpid who try it, a good resource for wallpapers is

    1. Oli Wright
      Thumb Up

      kindle screens

      Good shout. It's where I've gotten most of mine from.

      I really had to turn off the stock images after it kept showing the picture of John Steinbeck. It's only since owning a Kindle that I now have it burned in my mind that he might have been a kiddie fiddler (seriously, look at that 'tache on the sleep screen pic).

      1. Getter lvl70 Druid

        "kiddie fiddler"

        ..... Big Time.


  3. Bad Fish

    What's the point of this sleep screen?

    Isn't a screensaver or "sleep screen" supposed to stop burn-in? If the kindle screen suffers from burn-in, displaying the same image every time you put it to sleep is the worst thing it could possibly do. And if it doesn't suffer from burn-in, what's the point of having any sort of screen saver?

    1. Trygve

      It looks nicer than a blank screen or a block of text

      Doesn't really take a genius to work that out, now does it? This is exactly the same reason why Windows and MacOS still come with screensavers, despite burn-in being largely a thing of the past.

    2. James Hughes 1


      because its pretty?

      Anyway, compare the two phrases "Screensaver" and "Sleep screen". They actually mean different things, they are not 'the same'.

      E-ink doesn't suffer burn in, but the image stays on when the device is off (because it doesn't use any power). So you can have your own images on the display when the machine is sitting on the coffee table/bedside table/toilet cistern asleep, rather than ones Amazon have chosen for you.

    3. Ian K

      Title here, yadda yadda

      I speculated about this apparently pointless capability a while ago with a Kindle-owning friend. The best reason we could come up with was that device still needs *some* sort of "not active" mode you can put it in to prevent the keyboard or page turn buttons getting accidentally pressed when you're carrying it about. And, maybe, it draws more power monitoring the buttons than when it's asleep.

      And if that is the case you might as well throw in a screen saver to give a clear indication that the system's in that state.

      My tuppence worth, anyway.

  4. Bakunin

    Why can't I change it?

    I would imagine that they were waiting for the right time to introduce adverts in place of the normal sleep screen.

    There you go, nice advert sat on the coffee table, tailored to the user based on their mined information.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm pretty sure I read on El'Reg that they were planning a cheaper version of the Kindle in the states that would be subsidised by adverts.

      1. ZillaOfManilla

        Already out.

        I was looking at Amazon US site today and they are already selling them. About 20 dollars less than one without adverts. The ads look ok though, just offers for books or multi buys.

  5. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up


    From the home screen of a Kindle 3:

    Hold down shift and Alt. Press m

    1. Cowardly Animosity


      That's my afternoon sorted!

  6. The Dark Lord

    Seems like a lot of effort...

    ... for precisely zero result. So _you_ can specify the image you look at for 3/10ths of a second while you're sliding the power switch? Is that really worth "jailbreaking" the device at the potential expense of warranty?

    That being said, I too am confused as to why it doesn't sleep to the cover of the (last) active book.

    1. mamsey is useful if

      you have more than one uncased Kindle around the house, if each Kindle has a different set of images you tend to know if it's belongs to you.

    2. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Seems like a lot of effort...

      The sleep screen is what the Kindle displays when it's 'off', not what's displayed while it's turning off.

      1. PJ 1

        letters and/or digits

        I think the point was that once people have hit the off switch they don't spend much time looking at it. A fair point but misses the true reason for most people doing it which is that they aren't meant to.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And another thing...

    When is Amazon going to start selling apps for the Kindle platform, known as "Kindle Active Content" in the UK?

    I just want to play chess on mine when I get bored of reading.

    1. Marvin the Martian
      Jobs Horns

      I can see you there Mr. Jobs!

      Go eat your lawsuit; it's an "appstore", not an "active content store".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Switch stores to the US one. Give em a postal address over there - be cheeky, use one for a certain book retailer in Seattle - and you can buy what you want. Then swap back to a UK address.

      Scrabble is great on the Kindle, despite being B&W.

  8. LuMan

    Slightly Ad-led

    I'm still not sure about these things. I like the idea of not hauling a load of books, magazines or comics on holiday, but I still like the relative romance of an actual paper-based book. If additional content is available, such as puzzles, etc I'd find it even more appealing.

    WRT adverts, I'd happily show an ad for something on my sleep screen while I'm not looking at it in exchange for cheap/free content/hardware.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    A *really* useful feature would be to display the owner's name and contact details on the screen when it's off. Then, if you lose it, anyone who finds it can easily return it (or at least make selling it on a bit less appealing for some)

    1. Chris Haynes


      You could put your contact details on the wallpaper, and only have one image in the folder; or lots of images with your details at the bottom of each one.

      Just an idea.

      1. Marvin the Martian


        Show your desired destination when hitching rides?

        Your home address, either shame a thief in returning it or to say you're not home, to burglars?

        Your phone number in the bar?

        Or more usefully, "TWO MORE PINTS" to be waved regularly at the barman, on noisy fridays?

  10. TheFlatAvenger

    Kindle Feedback

    I'm getting a little tired of saying this all the time, but have you told Amazon about your problems with their device? If every person who has a problem with the Kindle sent their feedback to Amazon, we'd have our custom screensavers. It happened with page numbers. Amazon claims to be the most 'consumer oriented company in the world'. As a journalist, it is your job not only to bitch about the tech you use, but to help your readers realise that as customers of Amazon, Amazon is accountable TO THEM. And while you're drafting that feedback email, make sure you mention that you want to read ePub files on your Kindle!

    1. Bit Brain
      Thumb Up

      Re: Kindle Feedback

      Yes I did. Here's the reply I received:


      Thanks for writing about the Screen saver pictures on Kindle 3.

      We're regularly working on improvements to your Kindle experience. I've let the Kindle team know you're interested in loading custom standby pictures to kindle 3 in the future.

      Customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the service we provide, and we're glad you took time to write to us. The Kindle Team will carefully review your suggestions.

      Thanks for your interest in Kindle.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      Don't just send it to Amazon. Send it specifically to the CEO. Snailmail may prove more effective than calling or email.



      1200 12TH AVENUE S SUITE 1200

      SEATTLE, WA 98144


    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Kindle Feedback

      Er, because it is counter-productive?

      Anyone with a clue knows that the kind of customer who bothers to send feedback to the company is *distinctly* unrepresentative. *Normal* people bitch about the product on web forums. Therefore, if you really believe that Amazon listens to their customers, the logical course of action is to bitch about the product on web-sites, to emphasise that your viewpoint is one held by normal people. Sending direct feedback implies that only wierdos want to customise the image.

      1. Neill Mitchell

        Hundreds of people have asked for this

        The Amazon kindle forum has literally hundreds of requests for this. Amazon seems particularly stubborn with the Kindle software.

        It was the same for page numbers. Again, hundreds of people asked for it and only recently did Amazon cave in and provide a half arsed solution (you have to press Menu to see the page number). Showing read position as a percentage is absolutely meaningless for books of varying length. Does 92% mean you have 20 or 200 pages left to go? Do you give the book another 30 minutes reading time based on that? You just can't make the call.

  11. Tobor

    Another hack...

    You can also install a mod that allows you to play old text based adventure games...

    I never did finish the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy game back in 198x.

  12. Aldous

    for the 7000th time

    epub on kindle is simple, download calibre drag,drop,send to device done. Why on every thread about the kindle is there always someone saying epub support when it can do with a simple process (same goes for many other formats, calibre converts almost everything :) )

    1. Martin Silver badge

      And for the 7000th time.... can't convert DRM'd ePub books to Kindle format.

      (Well, not legally, anyway.)

      When people say they want ePub support, they mean they want to buy an ePub book from Waterstones, or get a ePub library book, and read it on their Kindle. They don't want to have to find a bit of dubious software to hack it, then transfer it to Calibre, then upload it to the Kindle.

  13. Rick Brasche
    Thumb Up

    this is the same script I followed

    I'd found this script a couple of months ago after inheriting a Kindle. The default images of the Coffee Shop W@nkers Reading List annoyed me in mere minutes.

    since my kindle is more likely to be packed with Peter Hamilton than Emily Dickinson, changes had to be made. I do wish I could increase the delay time until the off screen appears.

    the first image I loaded was the "troll face" with the text "Problem, Amazon?" :)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad images

    Some people might be offended by the racial nature of some of the photos.

    I know I don't like to be reminded about the beating I got for being white while on holiday.

    Fair go, Amazon, let us remove offensive images from the screen saver.

  15. jim 45
    Thumb Down

    out of date

    As far as I know, this jailbreak technique doesn't work with the latest Kindle firmware (3.2.1).

  16. Connor

    On the Sony Reader...

    You just select the picture from the sleep image menu, if you select several, it will alternate them.

    Why is it these days that more and more companies seem to not only want consumers boxed into their format, but are also removing even the most simple customisation options?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thank you.

    Works a treat. That is all.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Shepy


    Heh, i just got one myself, and promptly made 700 xkcd strips into kindle wallpapers after quickly growing to dislike the defaults:


    1. Neil 51
      Thumb Up

      Nice one..

      Thanks for that, much better than the default images.

      One thing though - I saw on some forums people saying they experienced sluggishness with their Kindle if they had too many images in their folder. Have you noticed anything like this with 700 (or is it possible they were just running out of space)?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Battery Life

    Disabling the screensaver reduces the battery life down to under a week, I just had to do the ~resumeScreensaver to get it back on.

    Not sure why, but I think I'll wait for the official update

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sounds great...

    ... but this is one device I just don't want to hack.

    I suppose if you've got a few of them around, it's a good idea, but mine lives on my bedside table - switch on, read, switch off. I don't even notice the sleep image anymore.

    Still, I admire the hacker spirit - and it's definately something Amazon should've included by default!

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