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

How to read a Kindle book online

The Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader is a web application that you use with your Amazon account to access and read e-books purchased on Amazon. This makes it possible to read Amazon Kindle books without a Kindle device or the official Kindle mobile app. If you want to read a Kindle book on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone as quickly and conveniently as possible, open a web browser, navigate to the main Kindle Cloud Reader page, and sign in to your account.

The Benefits of Using Kindle Cloud Reader

Besides offering a quick and convenient way to read Kindle books, Kindle Cloud Reader offers 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 are automatically added to your Kindle Cloud Reader web app every time you purchase a new one from Amazon (Kindle version only).
  • A clean, crisp, and 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 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.
  • Save space in your home by 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 have an Amazon account, 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, go to Amazon.com. If you're visiting from the desktop web, hover your cursor over the Account & Lists menu option in the upper-right corner, then select Start here beneath the yellow Sign in button. Enter your details in the given fields to create your account.

The Start Here link on Amazon

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

Amazon sends you a text verification to complete the account setup.

How to Access Kindle Cloud Reader

To access Kindle Cloud Reader, open your preferred web browser, go 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 the 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 sign in with an Amazon account where you purchased Kindle books before, those books display 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 is handy when you aren't connected to the internet.

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

How to Add Kindle Books to Kindle Cloud Reader 

If your Kindle Cloud Reader library is currently empty, it's time to buy your first Kindle e-book.

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

    The Kindle Store button
  2. When purchasing your first book, make sure the Kindle Edition option is selected.

    The Kindle option for a book on Amazon
  3. Before you make a purchase, look for the Deliver to option under the purchase button and use the drop-down menu to select Kindle Cloud Reader.

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

If you use Amazon Prime, 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 read a Kindle book in your Kindle Cloud Reader library, select a title to open it. If you decide to stop reading and leave at a certain page, Kindle Cloud Reader automatically opens at the page where you stopped reading the next time you open the book.

While reading, the top and bottom menus disappear so that all you're left with is the book's contents. However, you can move the cursor or tap the device near the top or bottom of the screen to make those menus reappear.

Menu items in Kindle Cloud Reader

On the top menu, you have a variety of options to 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.
  • View settings (uppercase and lowercase letter A icon): Customize the font size, margins, color theme, number of reading columns, and reading location visibility.
  • Toggle bookmark (bookmark icon): Place a bookmark on any page.
  • 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 the cursor to select the text. A Highlight and Note option appear.
  • Synchronize (circular arrows icon): Synchronize your reading activity across your account so that when you access it on another device, everything is updated for you.

The bottom menu shows your location in the book and a percentage value of how much reading you completed based on where you are. You can also drag your point along the location scale to easily scroll back and forth through a book.

To turn the pages, use the arrows that appear on each page or scroll as you would on any other browser. Use the trackpad on a laptop, the scrolling wheel on a mouse, or the touchpad on a mobile device.

How to Manage Your Kindle Cloud Reader Library

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

There's a Cloud tab and a Downloaded tab. If offline reading is enabled, you can download books so that those books appear in the Downloaded tab.

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

The Cloud tab in Kindle Cloud Reader

Use the Grid View or List View buttons to see your books in two ways. On the Grid View, use the Cover Size scale on the right side of the screen to make each title smaller or larger.

The Grid and List View buttons in Kindle Cloud Reader

The Recent button allows you to sort books by Recent, Author, or Title. Select the notepad button to see 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.

The Recent button in Kindle Cloud Reader

How to Delete Books from Kindle Cloud Reader

As you acquire more books and your library grows, you may wish to delete books that you no longer want to keep. This can keep your Kindle Cloud Reader library neat and tidy. You can't delete books in the Kindle Cloud Reader.

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

  2. Hover the cursor over Accounts & Lists and select Your Content and Devices from the drop-down menu.

    The "Your Content and Devices" option on Amazon
  3. You're shown a list of the books in your account. To delete a book, select the check box next to the book and choose Delete.

    The selection box and Delete button for a book on Amazon
  4. When you've deleted the books you don't want, those books disappear from Kindle Cloud Reader.

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

What You Can't Do With Kindle Cloud Reader

Kindle Cloud Reader is 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 books, which keeps your library organized as it grows.

Collections can be created from within the Kindle app using the app's main drop-down menu or in your Amazon account under Account & Lists > Manage Your Content and Devices. Kindle Cloud Reader doesn't support the collections feature, so you can't view the collections you create through the Kindle app or in your Amazon account.

Even though the Kindle Cloud Reader doesn't support collections, your books (including those you organized into collections) are listed in the Kindle Cloud Reader web app. Those books are cataloged together in your library as one comprehensive list.