Friday, January 21, 2011

Reading Kindle Books without a Kindle device (and in color!)

Many people like the Kindle because its E ink display is easy on the eyes (among other reasons.) But you don’t need one to read Kindle books, just a free reader app for the iPad, iPod, iPhone, PC, Mac, Blackberry, or Android phone. The screenshots below are from the Kindle Reader for the Mac, but the others should be similar, hopefully. Note: click on these images to enlarge if desired.
After downloading the app and launching it, it’s time to get something to read. Assuming the device is connected to the Internet, click on the upper right button: Shop in Kindle Store.

 On the computer, a new window opens in your browser inside the Kindle Store. To find children’s books, look on the left under Browse > Kindle eBooks, then click on Children’s eBooks. On the new page, under Browse can be found Baby–3; Ages 4–8; Ages 9–12 and  additional options. For this example, I clicked on Ages 4–8. Once on that page, it’s possible to search for something more specific.
Above, the word read was entered in the search box to get these titles. Trying different search terms is a great way to see the variety of titles that are available (or not.) Once you find a title, double-click on the jacket to get to the book’s Amazon page. On the right is the option to Try it Free. Click on the Send Sample Now button, and it should download to your Kindle Reader app. Sometimes the sample doesn’t seem to show up at first. In the top menu bar of the Kindle Reader app, try Tools > Sync and Check for New Items.
Once the ebook is in your Kindle Reader app, double click on it to open; click the arrow on the side to turn pages. Some ebooks don’t provide much in their sample, some have several pages. To enlarge the text or try out other display options, click on the Aa button (circled below.) To get back to your collection of titles, click on Home (far left button.) To buy the ebook click the Buy Now button which is usually at the end of the sample, or can be found on the jacket icon when its selected.
There are quite a few picture books in Kindle format. The Kindle device itself can only show black and white images. As you can see from the above screen shots, if the image files have color, they will be displayed in color on a computer or other color device. Due to the format, images are restricted to square or rectangular spots, not full bleed images as in most traditional picture books. Also, due to the reflow which allows text size to be changed, the images can get separated from the text. 

Happy reading!


  1. Yes, thanks Loreen! I love cross-platform options! e

  2. I had no idea the Kindle only displayed in black and white - seems very limiting for picture books. Thanks for all this information, Loreen!

  3. Thanks for all this information. Keep up the great writing !!

  4. This is sort of related, a way to download a Kindle book via Twitter: Buy Kindle Books with Twitter

  5. Although I just realized: What I'd really like is a Kindle for the Web that would let me read everything I'd paid for on any Web-connected device, no downloads. Just as simple as a piece of cake.