Kindle Cloud Reader: What It Is and How to Use It

How to read a Kindle book online

Kindle Cloud Reader on a laptop screen

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Amazon's Kindle Cloud Reader is a web application that allows anyone with an Amazon account to access and read ebooks purchased on Amazon.

This makes it possible to read Amazon Kindle books without a Kindle device or the official Kindle mobile app. If you simply want to read a Kindle book on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone as quickly and conveniently as possible, all you have to do is open up your web browser, navigate to the main Kindle Cloud Reader page and sign in to your account to start reading.

The Benefits of Using Kindle Cloud Reader

Besides offering a quick and convenient way to read Kindle books, Kindle Cloud Reader offers many other benefits. Here are a few perks you can expect to get out of it when you use Kindle Cloud Reader regularly as a reading tool:

  • Books automatically added to your Kindle Cloud Reader web app every time you purchase a new one from Amazon (Kindle version only).
  • Clean, crisp, high-quality reading experience that looks and feels similar to reading a real book.
  • Offline mode for reading when you're traveling or in a location without an internet connection.
  • Synchronization of all your books and reading activity across your entire account, as well as the devices you access it from.
  • Extra tools to personalize your reading experience such as bookmarks, text highlighting, and notes corresponding to specific pages or sections.
  • Space saved in your home from not having to store physical books.
  • Money saved since Kindle books are often cheaper than their hardcover or paperback counterparts.
  • Reduced paper consumption by opting for digital books over physical ones.

How to Set Up Kindle Cloud Reader

Kindle Cloud Reader is used with your regular Amazon account. If you already have an existing Amazon account then there's no need to create a new one—unless you want to have a separate account exclusively for purchasing and reading Kindle books.

To create a new Amazon account, head to Amazon.com. If you're visiting from the desktop web, hover your cursor over the Account & Lists menu option in the top-right, then select Start here beneath the yellow Sign in button. Enter your details in the given fields to create your account. 

Start Here menu on Amazon
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If you're visiting from the mobile web on a smartphone or tablet, select the menu icon (indicated by three horizontal lines in top-left corner), then select Account > Create Account and enter your details.

Amazon will send you a text verification to complete your account setup.

How to Access Kindle Cloud Reader

Accessing Kindle Cloud Reader is incredibly easy. All you have to do is open your preferred web browser, head to read.amazon.com and enter your Amazon account login details.

If you have trouble accessing Kindle Cloud Reader, you may need to update or change your web browser. According to Amazon, Kindle Cloud Reader works on all major web browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

If you're signing in with an Amazon account where you've purchased Kindle books before, those books will be displayed in your Kindle Cloud Reader library. If this is your first time signing into Kindle Cloud Reader, you may be asked whether you want to enable offline reading, which will come in handy when you aren't connected to the internet.

Each book's cover, title, and author will be displayed in your library. The books that you opened most recently will be listed first.

How to Add Kindle Books to Kindle Cloud Reader 

If your Kindle Cloud Reader library is currently empty, then it's time to buy your first Kindle ebook.

  1. Select the Kindle Store button in the top right corner to see which books are popular or search for a specific title.

    Kindle Store in Kindle Cloud Reader
  2. When purchasing your first book, make sure the Kindle Edition option is selected.

    Kindle Selected in book format
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  3. Before you make your purchase, look for the Deliver to: option under the purchase button and use the dropdown menu to select Kindle Cloud Reader.

    Deliver To option on Amazon
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  4. Now you're ready to make your purchase. Your new Kindle book should appear in the Kindle Cloud Reader app shortly after your purchase is completed.

If you're an Amazon Prime user, you should also have access to Amazon Prime Reading, which allows you to read thousands of books for free.

How to Read Books With Kindle Cloud Reader

To start reading a Kindle book in your Kindle Cloud Reader library, just select a title to open it. If you decide to stop reading and leave at a certain page, Kindle Cloud Reader will automatically open at the page where you stopped reading the next time you open the book.

While reading, the top and bottom menus will disappear so that all you're left with is the book's contents, but you can move your cursor or tap your device near the top or bottom of the screen to make those menus reappear. On the top menu, you have a variety of options to help make your reading experience even better:

  • Go to menu (open book icon): View the cover of the book or go to the table of contents, the beginning, a specific page, or a specific location.
Go To Menu in Kindle Cloud Reader
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  • View settings (uppercase and lowercase letter A icon): Customize the font size, margins, color theme, number of reading columns, and reading location visibility.
Kindle Cloud Reader Settings
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  • Toggle bookmark (bookmark icon): Place a bookmark on any page.
Toggle Bookmark icon in Kindle Cloud Reader
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  • Show notes and marks (notepad icon): View all bookmarked pages, highlighted text, and notes added. You can highlight text or add a note by using your cursor to select your text. A Highlight and Note option will appear.
Show Notes and Marks in Kindle Cloud Reader
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  • Synchronize (circular arrows icon): Synchronize all your reading activity across your account so that when you access it on another device, everything is updated for you.
Synchronize button in Kindle Cloud Reader
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The bottom menu will show your location in the book and a percentage value of how much reading you've completed based on where you are. You can also drag your point along the location scale to easily scroll back and forth through your book.

To turn the pages, simply use the arrows that appear on each page or alternatively scroll as you would on any other browser—by using the trackpad on your laptop, the scrolling wheel on your mouse, or the touchpad on your mobile device.

How to Manage Your Kindle Cloud Reader Library

You can view and manage your library in a few different ways. You may want to take advantage of the settings to make the overall experience easier and more convenient.

First, notice that you have a Cloud tab and a Downloaded tab. If you have offline reading enabled, you'll be able to download books so that they appear in your Downloaded tab.

On the Cloud tab, you can right-click on any book and select Download & Pin Book. It will be added to your downloads and pinned there until you decide to remove it yourself.

Open Book and Download & Pin Book options in Kindle Cloud Reader
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Use the Grid View or List View buttons to see your books in two different ways. On the Grid View, you can use the Cover Size scale to the far right of the screen to make each title smaller or larger.

List View in Kindle Cloud Reader
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The Recent button allows you to sort your books by Recent, Author, or Title. Select the notepad button to see all your notes and highlights. Sync everything across your account by selecting the circular arrows button. Access your settings by selecting the gear button, and search for a book by selecting the magnifying glass button.

Recent button and other menu options in Kindle Cloud Reader
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How to Delete Books from Kindle Cloud Reader

As you acquire more books and your library continues to grow, you may wish to delete books that you no longer want to keep. This can help help keep your Kindle Cloud Reader library neat and tidy. Unfortunately, you can't delete books within the Kindle Cloud Reader itself.

  1. To delete books, you have to sign in to your account on Amazon.

  2. Hover your cursor over Accounts & Lists and select Your Content and Devices from the dropdown menu.

    Your Content and Devices in Account & Lists on Amazon
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  3. You'll be shown a list of all the books in your account. To delete any one of them, just select the checkbox next to it and choose Delete

    Delete button in Content tab on Amazon
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  4. Once you've deleted the books you don't want, they will disappear from Kindle Cloud Reader.

    Deleting a Kindle book cannot be undone. You will have to buy a title again if you decide you want it back.

What You Can't Do With Kindle Cloud Reader

Kindle Cloud Reader is basically a simplified version of the official Kindle app. One of the key benefits available on the Kindle app but not on Kindle Cloud Reader is the ability to create collections to categorize your books, which helps keep your library organized as it grows.

Collections can be created from within the Kindle app using the app's main dropdown menu or in your Amazon account under Account & Lists > Manage Your Content and Devices. Kindle Cloud Reader, unfortunately, does not support the collections feature, so you will not be able to view the collections you create through the Kindle app or in your Amazon account.

It would be nice if Kindle Cloud Reader supported collections, but don't worry—all of your books (including those you organized into collections) will still be listed in the Kindle Cloud Reader web app. They'll simply be cataloged together in your library as one comprehensive list.