How to Use the Kindle App for Mac

Kindle books work on your Mac just fine

Kindle app on Mac laptop in a library

You don't need a physical Amazon-branded Kindle device to read digital books from Amazon. Thanks to Amazon's Kindle app for the Mac, it can become a Kindle. If you can't install apps on your Mac, there's a way to still get access to your Kindle books!

You can read your Kindle book collection in apps or a regular browser. Let's get reading.

Method 1: The Kindle App for Mac

Go to the Mac App Store and download the free Kindle reader. Once you open the Kindle app you'll need to enter all your Amazon information (it's a one-time process) in order to register your device (your Mac, iPad, etc). Make sure to register all your devices with the same Amazon account to ensure your books are synced across all your devices. 

Kindle for Mac app

Download the Books You Want To Read Now

Once you open the Kindle app, you will see the Library tab on the top left, which shows you the Sync button, All and Downloaded. The All tab shows you all of the Kindle books you have purchased through the Kindle store from your Amazon account. Click All, and find a book you want to read. When you click the book, a pop-out menu appears with options, including download.

You can give your book Collection tags, which can make it easier to sort and find your books as your library grows. To create a new collection press the + button and sort your books.

Reading Without an Internet Connection

If you are planning a trip, and expect to be in an area without a good internet connection, it’s a good idea to import a few books from the Cloud tab to your device before you leave, so that you will have a steady supply of reading material ready to go, pre-loaded on your device. This is especially handy to have when the flight attendant asks you to switch to airplane mode.

Purchasing New Books

There's no way to purchase books from the Kindle app, but you can explore titles with the Kindle search function. You can even read the first chapter for free. Once you’ve found a book you want to purchase, you’ll need to log into the Amazon Kindle store web page (in your web browser) to make your purchase.

After you've checked out, Amazon will ask you if you want to download the book to your Kindle device. If you don't see the book in your Kindle app, press the Sync icon to refresh and collect your book.

Reading options on Kindle app for Mac

Start Reading

To open the book from the Kindle library, simply tap on the book, and the pop-out menu lets you select Go to Last Page Read or Go to Beginning. Once your book is open tap the Aa icon at the top of the screen to see options for adjusting the font size and colors of the page.

What Happens When You Finish A Book?

Once you've finished a book (and good for you, by the way) and want to remove the book from your Mac, open the Downloaded tab, go to the Library tab, at the top left and go to the Downloaded section.

Find the book to remove, and click on it to see the pop-out menu. Select Remove from Device. Before you worry, removing a book from your Mac does not permanently delete the title from your Kindle Cloud library. The book will be stored on Amazon's cloud servers so that you can re-download it again. If you want to permanently delete a book from your Amazon cloud, use a web browser to go to Manage Your Content and Devices page. Here, you can permanently delete a book from your cloud library. If you do that and want to later read it again, you will need to re-purchase the title.

Method 2: The Kindle Cloud Reader

If you don't want to (or can't) install the Kindle app on your Mac install the Kindle app on your Mac, you can go to a web browser tab and visit the Kindle Cloud Reader. You will need an internet connection to access the Kindle Cloud, and you will be asked to enter your account information.

During the setup, Kindle will ask you if you would like to Enable Offline reading. Click yes if you would like to read on without an Internet connection. When you do this, Kindle will download the Cloud Reader web app directly to your computer that will allow you to access from your browser, even when you are not connected to the internet.

You must enable offline reading while you are connected to the internet first, before you can read offline.

Once you've entered all of your account details, all of the titles you have purchased through your Amazon account will be visible here.

To open a book, click the book cover in your Kindle library. If you would like to download a book to your computer so that you can read offline, right click the book, and a drop down menu will appear asking you to Open or Download a book. Select download and Kindle will save the book file to your Mac. While you will no longer need an internet connection to read the book, you will only be able to read the book through a Kindle device, app or the Kindle Cloud Reader.

Screenshot of Kindle Cloud reader library of books

Even when you are not connected to the internet, you can still open your internet browser, and type this link, and your Kindle library of downloaded books will appear in your browser. While reading offline, your Mac will remember the last page read, storing bookmarks and notes on your computer as you close and re-open your computer. However, the last page read, notes and bookmarks will not sync across all of your Kindle devices until you are connected to the internet and sync your library. In other words, when reading offline, Kindle will keep track of the last page read on your Mac, but will not sync the last page read until you are connected to the internet again.

Once you open the book, you'll see that the customization options, Aa, are right at the top of book's page. There are also tabs for taking notes, bookmarking and highlighting.