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I have to admit that recently I’ve really started getting into e-books. I’ve tried a lot of different readers, but of course I always end up coming back to the Kindle Reader. I’ve tried using the desktop Kindle Reader app, and I’ve tried a variety of Android apps for reading Kindle books as well.
The only problem with both solutions is that in each case you’re tied down to a particular computer or a particular smartphone to use the reader. It’s really handy for reading e-books when you’re near either of those devices, but when you’re traveling and happen to be on some other computer, it’s not so convenient.
For those reasons, I was pretty excited to stumble across Amazon’s free Kindle Cloud Reader.
The Cloud Reader lets you access your entire Kindle library and read any of those books, or any new books you may want to download, from the convenience of any computer or device in the world, and all you need is an Internet connection. No install required.
Using the Kindle Cloud Reader
When you first launch the web-based app, it’ll ask you if you want to enable offline reading. If you do choose to allow this mode, it will install a browser plugin that lets you read your downloaded e-books even if you don’t have an Internet connection.
Obviously, that’s a feature that will only work on a specific computer, but it’s a nice feature to have installed on your home PC or laptop, where you’ll be reading your e-books most often. This will let you read e-books on your laptop even if you’re in a waiting room or anywhere else that doesn’t have any Internet access.
The moment that I logged into the Kindle Cloud Reader with my existing account, the application recognized my library and displayed it in my list of downloaded titles. As you can see, I’m not the only one in the family that uses this account (no, I didn’t read “Sophie’s World”.)
If you read your e-books anywhere else where you were logged into the account, the Cloud Reader will remember all of your bookmarks and notes. The major areas of the reader to know are the menu icons at the top, the “bookmark” feature on every page that you can enable or disable at any time, and of course the page-turning arrows.
The “book” icon in the menu lets you navigate to different areas of the e-b0ok that you’re currently reading. You can jump to the start at any time, or type in a specific page where you want to go. If there’s a table of contents in the e-book, that link will be enabled as well.
The “Book Extras” area is a neat page that has data fed in from the Shelfari Community. Here you’ll find all information that other readers in the community have added about the book. This can include characters in the book, a full plot summary, interesting quotes from the book, important places, and a lot more.
If you don’t like the font size, background shading or formatting, those can all be customized to a degree. You can’t change the font, but you can adjust the letter height and width to your preference. You can even change the color-scheme so that it’s white letters on a black background rather than black on white.
My favorite feature is the notation and bookmark feature. You can quickly view all of your notations and bookmarks for the current book you’re reading by clicking on the “Toggle Notes and Marks” icon. This lists all of your bookmarked pages, and any notes that you’ve jotted down as you were reading.
Taking notes is really easy and fast. All you have to do is highlight a section of text that you particularly like or want to remember and click on either “Highlight” or “Note”. Highlighting is obvious – you can literally highlight that block of text by choosing the “Highlight” option.
However, the “Note” option lets you add notations that apply to that block of text. You can quickly review those notes (and navigate to the page where you made it) by clicking “Go to Location” on the Notes and Marks menu.
Another really cool feature of Kindle Cloud Reader is that it is always synced with your account. Should you go off and read more of the book using your mobile phone or your computer and then later come back to the Cloud Reader to read more of the book, Cloud Reader will recognize that you read more of the book elsewhere, and will ask you if you want to pick up reading where you most recently left off.
It’s synced with everything else you’re doing on your Kindle account, it’s simple to use yet powerful and functional, and it will free you from having to read your e-books from a specific computer or device. That was reason enough for me to adopt using the Kindle Cloud Reader almost exclusively. I don’t even use the installed apps anymore.
Do you think the Kindle Cloud Reader can free up your e-book reading experience too? Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments section below.