The Amazon Cloud Reader – A Web App For Your Kindle Books

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amazon cloud reader appAmazon has recently released another version of its e-book reader called Kindle Cloud Reader. Unlike the iOS mobile Kindle app, the Cloud Reader is HTML 5 web-based in which Amazon members can access all of their Kindle library books via the web.

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.

amazon cloud reader app

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.

amazon cloud reader

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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.

amazon cloud reader

Sample 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.

amazon cloud reader

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.

amazon cloud reader app

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 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?

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Comments (4)
  • Noel

    I’m using Cloud Reader for the same reason as Krissie. The latest Kindle for PC simply will not download books to my PC running under W7 64-bit.

  • Krissie

    Right now, I’m using the Cloud Reader, because the latest Kindle update made it so my Kindle app won’t work properly now, it won’t sync any of my archived books unless I download them one by one, it freezes up constantly, and half the time when I try to sync, the icon for that disappears. Until they fix it, or I get my Kindle…not till Christmas, sadly…I’m sticking with the Cloud Reader, I can deal with not having my books from other sites or two of my Amazon books until then.

  • Charlesb

    I agree. While the Cloud Reader holds promise, for now there is no tangible benefit over the robust Kinder Reader for the PC. One could argue that the Cloud Reader version eliminates the need to store verbatim content locally. But the storage requirements are quite modest, even for a netbook. I get the impression Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader is targeted at iPad and other tablet users.

    • Bakari

      Yeah, I’m not sure where Amazon is going with this. However, I have found that Cloud Reader is good for previewing sample books when I’m on my computer, so I can see if I want to download the ebook to my iPad. Thanks for your feedback.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.