​Deadline nears for Kindle owners to update or risk losing access

Kindle e-book readers gained legions of fans for their long-lasting batteries and easy navigation, but some of the devices' owners may be at risk for losing the plot.

Owners of older Kindles or those who haven't connected to the Internet via wireless access since Oct. 5 must update their devices before Tuesday, March 22, or else risk losing downloads and Kindle services, according to Amazon (AMZN). The updating process should be fairly simple as long as it's done before March 22, since Amazon says the updates will be pushed via Wi-Fi through Monday.

Even though Amazon sent out emails to customers to alert them to Tuesday's deadline, it is far from certain how many consumers read the notices. On top of that, many consumers appear to be confused about the updates, according to the growing number of questions listed on Amazon's Kindle help community forum. One Kindle owner even said the update was confusing enough to get her to switch to a rival e-reader.

"I give up. Sorry, but I am leaving Kindle on March 22 and getting a Nook. This update should not have such problems and issues. Has Amazon really looked at the amount of questions that users are asking?" she wrote.

Some Kindle owners are confused about whether their devices had already updated, or were stymied when the sought to update via Wi-Fi, with some reporting that nothing happened and expressing concern about whether they'd have access Tuesday.

If Kindle owners don't update by Tuesday, there are still ways to fix the devices, but it'll be more of a headache given that Amazon says users in that situation will have to manually install the latest software.

The devices that need to be updated include Kindles starting with the first generation, which came out in 2007, up to 2012's Kindle Paperwhite 5th generation. Kindles built from 2013 and later -- the 6th generation and 7th generation devices -- don't need updates, according to Amazon. (The full list of devices and updates can be found here.)

To update a Kindle, owners should connect the devices to Wi-Fi and then tap "menu" or the menu icon, then select "sync and check for items." Once the software update is competed, owners should get a letter titled "03-2016 successful update" on their devices, which Amazon says can be found by sorting for the most recent items in their library.

Sales of e-books slid last year, amid sharply increased prices for new releases.