This new reader comes partly in response to Apple’s 30% sales tax requirement for iOS app publishers selling content-like e-books and magazine subscriptions via their apps. Due to this tax requirement, Amazon disabled its Kindle Store link in its reader, which now means that iOS users of the Kindle app need to take an extra step to access the Store. However, the Cloud Reader includes a direct link to the Store.
Accessing the Amazon Cloud Reader App
The Kindle Cloud Reader is currently optimized for the Safari and Chrome web browsers, and for iPad users.
You can access, through sign in, your entire Kindle library via the Cloud Reader, in the same way you do in the Kindle app. Notice also, the Kindle Store button on the upper-right side of the browser interface.
When you sign in, the Cloud Reader requests up to 50MB of disk space on your computer or iPad to store ‘K4Wbooks’. Fortunately, the Cloud Reader doesn’t automatically download all your e-books.
Interestingly, while you can download your purchased book on the Cloud Reader, it seems you can’t save sample versions of Kindle books to the Reader. But you can read them from within the store, though you are given the impression that they can be downloaded and archived.
This is unfortunate because not only can’t you read sample Kindle books offline, but you must re-search and open those books each time you want to review them.
Reading Kindle Books
For purchased Kindle titles, you can press and hold on a title and select to download it on your computer or iPad, which means it requires no Internet connection to read after it’s downloaded.
To read Kindle books, you simply click (or tap in the iPad) the left or right margins to navigate back and forth between pages. You can also enlarge text, bookmark pages, and change the background color of pages as you can in the Kindle e-reader app. This web app version also includes Whispersync features that syncs to the furthest read page in a Kindle book between each version of the Kindle app or device that you’re using.
However, for those of us who like to annotate our reading with a highlighter, that option is not available in the Cloud Reader. Highlights, bookmarks, and notes that you add in the regular Kindle app and Kindle device will show up, however, in Cloud Reader. The annotation tools and features are pretty rudimentary on the regular Kindle app and device, and not being able to make basic highlights in the Cloud version will be a major drawback for say students and other readers of non-fiction.
The only real advantage I see for using Kindle Cloud Reader is for reading Kindle books on a computer – and offline. While the web app allows you to more easily access the Kindle Store, it’s not to me a sufficient enough reason to switch from using the existing iOS apps or the Kindle for the Mac and PC versions, where you can also access your saved annotations.
For other MUO articles about Kindle related apps, start with these posts:
- The Kindle Reader For Mac Has Arrived [Mac]
- How To Use The Amazon Kindle Reader For The iPhone & iPod Touch
- Reading Ebooks on The iPad with iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac]
- Which Is The Better Reader – Kindle Vs iPad [Geeks Weigh In]
The Kindle Cloud Reader is certainly well designed, but in terms of features, it is undeveloped. Do you agree or disagree? Let us know what you think. Will you be using it or not?