Android Entertainment iPhone and iPad

The Kindle App for Android and iPhone: As Good as a Real Kindle?

Christian Cawley Updated 15-05-2020

Forget carrying books around in your bag. Don’t worry about ereaders. You don’t need a Kindle when you have a smartphone in your pocket. Because the Kindle app works extremely well.

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With that in mind, here’s how to read books with the Kindle app for Android and iOS.

How Can You Use Kindle on Your Phone?

The Kindle ebook reading service has been around since 2007. Initially launched for dedicated ebook readers, access to the platform was then opened to PCs and smartphones. While Amazon launches a new Kindle ereader every year, you can also read Kindle books on other devices.

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Do you want to keep your favorite books and comics in your pocket for easy reading? The Kindle app makes it easy, and using Kindle on any iPhone or Android is simple…

Where Can You Get the Kindle App for Your Phone?

You’ll find the Kindle app for Android in the Play Store and Kindle for iOS in the App Store.

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Download: Kindle for Android | iOS

Before opening the Kindle app, ensure you have an Amazon account set up. Note that if you have already signed into an Amazon service on your phone, the credentials should be accessible to Kindle.

Finding Books for the Kindle App for Android and iOS

With the Kindle app loaded up on your phone, you should be able to access your existing library of titles.

Simply launch the app and sign in when prompted. To purchase a book, either open the Store or check the list of recommendations. You’ll typically see things based on your previous physical book purchases if you’re new to Kindle.

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Before purchasing a book, you can read the first chapter as a free sample to see if you’re going to like it. To do this, open the Store, browse for a book, then tap Download Sample to see if it suits you.

These screenshots from the iPhone version of the Kindle app show slightly different screens, demonstrating the book suggestion and library screens.

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Free content is also available through the Kindle store. Mostly this consists of public domain works, such as classics released many years ago, and now out of copyright. You might also sign up to BookBub, a daily newsletter recommending free ebooks and heavy discounts currently listed on the Kindle store.

Read Magazines, Newspapers, and Comics on Your Phone

The Kindle app for Android and iOS is not just for books. You can also use it to read magazines and newspapers.

This makes it the go-to app for reading material on your smartphone.

In the Kindle Store you will find a Search feature. Use this to search for magazines and newspapers. Note that in most cases you will need to purchase a subscription to read them on Kindle.

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You can also read comics on the Kindle app. Tap Store then scroll to the bottom of the list of categories. Tap More Categories > Comics and Graphic Novels. Here you will find a vast library of thousands of comics, graphic novels, and books about the industry.

Manga titles, plus books from DC, Marvel, and many other big publishers are available. You can either own comics or “borrow” them with Kindle Unlimited or Prime Reading.

Kindle Benefits for Amazon Prime Subscribers

Using a Kindle device or reading app as an Amazon Prime subscriber gives you a supercharged ereading experience. Note that different Amazon Prime subscriptions Which Amazon Prime Subscription Is Right for You? Potential subscribers formerly only had one option when it came to Amazon Prime. However, now, Amazon is offering three different subscription plans so you can pick the one that best suits your needs. Read More are available.

In 2020, Amazon launched Prime Reading, which is similar to Kindle Unlimited (see below). Both services let you “borrow” books; that is, download and have access to titles for a short time.

Titles on the Prime Reading list includes top-rated books which you can read for free. Some of these can be found in Amazon’s Top 20 list. To read a book with Prime Reading, browse to the Prime Reading section of the Kindle app (under Home).

Tap the book, then Read for $0.00 with Prime Reading. You’ll receive notification that the book will appear in your library once downloaded.

Get Books With Kindle Unlimited

If you don’t have an Amazon Prime subscription, don’t worry. Amazon also offers the Kindle Unlimited service.

Offering a huge range of books and magazines for $9.99/month, Kindle Unlimited lets you read pretty much anything you want. The range of titles available with Kindle Unlimited makes this good value for money. Better still, where available, Audible versions of your chosen books can be downloaded.

Imagine having an entire library of books in your pocket! Once added to your Kindle account, you’ll find Kindle Unlimited titles on your phone ready to read.

Useful Features to Enhance Reading in the Kindle App

The Kindle app for Android and iPhone isn’t all about buying and downloading books. Once you have actually started reading, the app offers a selection of features to improve the experience.

The Android Kindle app allows you to set the screen brightness, preferred screen orientation (landscape or portrait), font size, and background color. Line spacing, alignment, and page color can also be set.

With these options you can set your reading environment to make sure it’s just right for you. Just tap the center of the screen on your current book to display these options.

With the Kindle app, it’s possible to use the built-in dictionary to look up words as you’re reading. You can also use Google or Wikipedia to research a topic further. All you need to do is tap and hold a word to see the options available to you. Other options include making notes or even reporting an error.

Further settings let you toggle animated page turns, give you the option to turn pages with your phone’s volume buttons, and more.

If you have a Kindle or use the Kindle app for another device, you can sync reading across devices. This means you can read on your phone while commuting, then continue from the same page when you later switch to your Kindle device.

The Kindle app will sync bookmarks, furthest point read, highlights, and notes.

Forget the Kindle and Use the App Instead

Most smartphones have screens smaller than Kindle eReaders. So, while a Kindle will fit in your bag with ease, it will not necessarily fit in your pocket. Unlike your phone.

The argument for reading books with the Kindle app on Android or iPhone is clearly strong. Admittedly, the backlight might not be as kind on the eyes as the adjustable light of a dedicated Kindle ereader. However, despite this, reading an ebook on your phone is a great alternative to using a Kindle.

If you do own a Kindle, here’s how to use IFTTT to supercharge your Kindle How to Use IFTTT to Supercharge Your Kindle IFTTT is a fantastic service for automating all kinds of things. But it's not just for smart home automation and saving money. It can also help you supercharge your Kindle experience. Read More .

Related topics: Amazon Kindle, Ebooks, eReader, Product Comparison, Reading.

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  1. carey grayson
    December 15, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    I've used Kindle app on my android phone for years and have had no issues. It is easy to use and very versatile and a breeze to read. The only complaint is the small screen size of my phone, so I thought I would try a Kindle Paperwhite. Guess what? I freakin' hate it. It's clunky and slow and not at all what I expected. There is no smooth scrolling between pages, just an ugly, pixelated dissolve that transitions between pages. The user interface is also a piece of crap compared to my android. Besides the larger screen, I don't get the appeal.

  2. Jan MIshkin
    January 5, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I have found many books that I've bought on Amazon for the Kindle App do not allow me to bookmark a page. I use to have a real Kindle and never had this problem. Are there different formats for creating an eBook that may be preventing full functionality?
    Also, I have found that the App doesn't allow me to maneuver to say the Table of Contents and then back to where I was last reading?
    Has anyone else had such problems?

  3. Mitul
    October 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Kindle app is really awesome .. i just downloaded it.

  4. Sean de Bourcier
    October 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    I have tried the kindle app for my HTC One X , and whilst I found it good, I have settled on Aldiko reader. It's free, and has excellent access to free and paid books via its store. I also love the customisation options, such as day/night modes, font size and margin adjustments.

  5. Doc
    October 9, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I have a Cruz T301 Android tablet, and use Moon+ Reader Free to read my (DRM-free) ePub files. Supports a custom fonts folder, has lots of customizability; the only thing I'd add is the ability to do smart hyphenation & justified paragraphs at the same time.

  6. Chris Hoffman
    October 8, 2012 at 3:43 am

    The answer is e-ink, silly! Huge difference. I can't stand reading on LCD screens but I love my e-ink Kindle.

    However, if the question is "Why Buy a Kindle Fire When You Can Use the Kindle App on Your Nexus 7?", I agree.

  7. Ravuama Nayago
    October 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    installed and using Kindle on Android tablet...its great

  8. Arron Walker
    October 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I asked my mum this, and it's quite a simple reason; the screen. My mums kindle has a screen that can easily be read outside in the sun, tablets and laptops have reflective screens which appear dark in such conditions.

    Still wouldn't get one myself, but there is a market for them.

  9. Nagendra kumar Gummapu
    October 7, 2012 at 8:24 am

    is it available for blackberry???

    • April Eum
      October 8, 2012 at 2:57 am

      i suggest it's time to upgrade :D

  10. Richard Borkovec
    October 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I use the Kindle, Aldiko, and Google Play Books so I know I always have something to read the different types of ebook files. To me, I'd rather get a Nexus and put the Kindle App and Amazon App Store on it than buy a Kindle Fire HD.

  11. kelly
    October 6, 2012 at 7:04 am

    i've often wondered this very thing!

    the kindle has only recently become available in nz, and nz customers are limited to nz/uk books & prices, whereas w/my kindle app, i can browse the entire usa shop & pay usa prices. i'm a "real" book advocate, but the kindle app allows this ex-pat to get in a lot more reading than i've been financially allowed since moving here.

    usa folks may be interested in knowing that a *paperback* book in nz costs appx $27. we rarely get hardbacks; new books come oversized-paperback style, and cost around $40. i don't recall the kindle costs for books, except that it was substantially more than than usa prices. do i use my kindle app? you betcha! i sync it across 3 android devices (mobile, tablet, laptop).

    i'll also point out that the other big player in internet bookselling, B&Ns nook app, doesn't allow non-usa-residing customers to purchase books when outside the usa. yes, that *does* mean you have to be physically *in* the united states to purchase anything. once purchased, you can read anywhere (uh huh). B&N, just so you know, that's why my buying with you has dropped substantially in the last year.

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Region restrictions drive me nuts, too. It's like they don't actually want our money.

  12. gpvprasad
    October 6, 2012 at 4:21 am

    I already installed it.

  13. DB
    October 6, 2012 at 2:57 am

    interesting, loading it onto my rooted nook running cy7

  14. Anonymous
    October 6, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Have a Kindle but don't use it, It has an area of damage in the top left corner of the screen so it is no longer possible to use as I prefer. Currently use kindle app on a net-book but I don't like that either, I prefer a portrait format so I will be using on a tablet soon.

  15. John Wohlscheid
    October 6, 2012 at 1:37 am

    The Kindle app for iOS is my favorite app for my iPod. I've bought quite a few public domain books. I've also used it quite often to save web articles for later. You're better off getting an android device and using the Kindle app than buy a Kindle. You'll have more freedom to do non-reading stuff, like playing games.

  16. Lan Pham
    October 6, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Really? You are comparing this to Kindle? It's not about the software. It's not about the interface. This is about the whole device. Any tablet, any computer, any other device with a regular screen is not an e-paper. And there is no device that could be used whole month without recharging ;)

    • jeff
      October 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      +1

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 9, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Okay, the recharging point is really valid. But, I really appreciate the backlight on my Android so I can read in bed without waking the hubby up. :)

    • Daniel Mattsson-Boze
      June 20, 2017 at 4:20 am

      The other thing about the Kindle is that it can read any Kindle book to you without having to buy the audio version of the book. This is not available, as far as I can tell, in the Kindle app for Android.

  17. Kavita
    October 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    so true...saved a lot just now...

  18. Joel Lee
    October 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    I only use Kindle when I can't find .epub versions of the books I want to read. Kindle app isn't that great, but it's not bad, either. It does its job and that's all I really care about. Syncing with my Amazon account is convenient, though.

    I've never used a real Kindle to compare, so there's that.

  19. Anonymous
    October 5, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    I have questions:
    -What is the best screen size for book reading? I'm about to buy a 4 inch Android smartphone. Do I still need to buy a Kobo Mini (5 inches)

    -The other issue is the battery life. I'm the kind of guy that spends the whole day reading emails and using applications, so would a smartphone be able to support my activities all day long + book reading at night.

    • Joel Lee
      October 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      I spent 2-3 hours reading on my phone that had < 10% battery life and it still wasn't drained out. Most ebook reading apps won't be too taxing on battery. Also, my phone is a Samsung Captivate (4" size, 480x800 resolution) and I can read just fine. My ebook reading apps (FBReader and Kindle) both allow font size changes, so you could probably tweak it around. It's up to your personal preference: can you handle reading on a hand-sized device? If you can't handle a 4", I don't think 5" will be much better, so if you can't do 4" then you're better off with a tablet, I think.

    • mcsey
      October 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Put simply, no Joel. If you want to read a lot from your device, $69 for a Kindle is the best deal going. I read several hours a day off my Kindle and I have to plug it in for an hour or two once a week. e-ink beats all for reading from a device.

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      This is something you're never really going to know until you try it. Can you borrow a smartphone or a Kobo off someone to try them out?