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How to Read Kindle Books Offline on a Chromebook

kindle cloud reader chrome

Kindle readers have long been able to read book purchases online, on tablets and on a PC or Mac for a while. But how does one go about reading Kindle books on a Chromebook?

Amazon positions Kindle as a platform-agnostic service, one that can be accessed from virtually any device. There are official first-party apps for iOS, Android, Windows 8 and, of course, its own Kindle Fire line of devices.

As such the e-tailing giant also offers a browser-based app called Kindle Cloud Reader (hosted at read.amazon.com) that works incredibly well on a Chromebook — including offline. 

Logging into the cloud app with your Kindle/Amazon account lets you to access, download and read purchased items in your library, view bookmarks, notes and more.

And thanks to Amazon’s Whispersync technology you can even pick up on your Chromebook where you left off on another device!

Install & Use Kindle Cloud Reader in Chrome OS

The app is a free hosted (URL) app available to install from the Chrome Web Store.

Kindle Cloud Reader on Chrome Web Store

Once installed you can choose how it runs: in a new tab, as a pinned tab or in a standalone window. Since this app works well offline I like running it separate from Chrome. To do the same:

  • Open Chrome App Launcher
  • Right-click on the app icon
  • Select ‘Open as window’ 

Next step is to go ahead and launch the app. You’ll first be asked to log in with your Amazon credentials, after which you’ll see the main home screen. By default this opens on the ‘cloud’ tab, showing you all of your purchased titles.

To read a book offline we need to ‘pin’ it:

  • Open Kindle Cloud Reader
  • Click the ‘Cloud’ button
  • Right-click on a book and select ‘Download & Pin Book’

The item will proceed to download. If it’s a particularly lengthy title this might take some time.

Once completed you can switch to the ‘Download’ section of the reader app and click on the cover to open it. Don’t expect to see the contents page if you’ve been reading it on another device; it opens on the page you were last on.

kindle reader

Moving through pages is as simple as hitting the up or down arrows on your keyboard (or clicking/tapping the pagination arrows on screen).

The reading experience, such as font size, background colour, columns and margins can be customised. In the reader view simply mouse over the screen to reveal the toolbar, click the ‘Aa‘ icon, and configure away.

Once you’ve finished reading (or to free up space) you can unpin the book to remove it from your device (but not your account).

Kindle Cloud reader may be an old-school web-app, but in supporting offline reading, Whispersync and the ability to run windowed, it brings a reading experience to Chrome OS that’s just as seamless as that on other devices.

  • I still wish something like this were available in the form of a packaged app. Generally, my “webapp works offline” experience has been anything but, and most things tend to be much dumber offline, whereas packaged apps work equally as well offline, minus the downloading/uploading ability.

    • Heimen Stoffels

      But in this case it doesn’t matter whether it’s dumbed down offline because the most important thing is that you can read the book and make annotations and stuff. Which is what Kindle Cloud Reader does well.

  • vacuumation

    When I go to the Chrome Web Store, this app says it’s from “read.amazon.UK” (emphasis mine) and in the opening of the description says we can “shop at Amazon.co.UK.”

    I’m based here in the U.S.A. so what’s up with that?

    • Frederic MANSON

      Could you give a look at your country settings?? If the default selected language is ENG UK then you must switch to ENG US. It’s a default parameter which is set to ENG UK. Maybe it’s the country setting.

      On my Chromebook, despite using ENG UK for the UI and a FR keyboard, this app is linked to the French Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader because I am living in France.

      • vacuumation

        It referred to the UK version of Amazon even before I downloaded it.

  • Frederic MANSON

    It’s the complementary app for my iPad Mini Kindle app. That way, I do not need to keep the two devices open in the same time. The day, it’s the Chromebook. The night, it’s the iPad.

    For the readers who want to do a backup of their purchased books: go to your Amazon Cloud Drive, open the folder “Send files”. Select your titles (extensions AZW & AZW3), click on MOVE and select your backup folder or create a new one. That’s all!!! All your books are saved. No more “fears” from the “naughty naughty Amazon which erase my books into my Kindle”, no man.

  • d2kx

    This has been avaible for years, even in my country (Germany).

    • Frederic MANSON

      Same for France, and it was my only available Kindle app for my old Mac bi G5. But now, as the “CLOUDS” are “IN”, they refresh some old news and apps!!!!

  • Dev’o’mac

    Unfortunatly compared to Kindle apps on other platforms the web app does not support personal documents. I read a lot of books purchased from 3rd party online bookstores because selection of books in Polish language on Amazon is close to zero. I can upload 3rd party books to my Kindle device or Kindle apps on my Nexus 7 or Mac but not to Chromebok.

    • João Victor Schiavo

      Have you tried Google Play Books?

      • Dev’o’mac

        Yes I have on a Nexus 7. But GPlay won’t run on a Kindle e-reader which is my main reading device. Reading on a Chromebook is a nice to have feature but I wouldn’t give up on ability to read on e-ink device :)

  • Kassie Cosgrove

    when attempting to read textbooks on this app it says I need to download the Kindle reading app that it is not compatible with the Cloud version of the app. When I try to do this it basically sends me through a loop on amazons website asking for my email to obtain the download link. Any thoughts on how to get this up and running? Thanks

  • Momus

    It does not work at all with mobi books that I already have in Downloads directory on my Chromebook!! It works only for books from Amazon :-(m

    Is there any way to read mobi/kindle format books on Chromebook , which don’t come from Amazon?

  • jude

    chrome does not appear to display any kindle content unless you are connected to the internet. Amazon’s instructions for enabling the kindle cloud reader for offline use in chrome reference a “prompt” that supposedly appears when you refresh the browser page that never appears. I do not ever see a “download” option. this is totally annoying! please help!

    • D. Johnson

      Jude, up above your post you must have missed this: “To read a book offline we need to ‘pin’ it:

      “Open Kindle Cloud Reader

      “Click the ‘Cloud’ button

      “Right-click on a book and select ‘Download & Pin Book’

      “The item will proceed to download. If it’s a particularly lengthy title this might take some time.

      Once completed you can switch to the ‘Download’ section of the reader app and click on “the cover to open it. Don’t expect to see the contents page if you’ve been reading it on another device; it opens on the page you were last opeon.”

      Hope this helps. Sometimes I get frustrated when trying new apps.

  • Honest John

    This totally does not work. My browser gets stuck trying to download the book to the Chromebook, which of course has no local memory. So it just freezes. This article is b.s.

    • Honest John

      scratch that. it just took forever. things appear to be moving forward. sorry

  • The History Man

    But where are these files stored by Kindle when downloaded. I have searched through both the downloads folder and my Google Drive folder and can’t see them. What I want to do is move files from my Kindle reader into a folder on the Chromebook where I can access them and read them. Until I find the location for the downloaded files I won’t be able to do that.

    • They’re stored as cache files within the main browser cache. As such they’re not accessible.

      • Inquiring Mind

        not exactly “not accessible”, but certainly not useful outside of the context of the browser and definitely not readable in an ebook reader of our choice (such as my wife’s kindle). Shouldn’t we have reasonably assumed that we purchased an e-book in ePUB or at least asw(3) or kf8 format (since it was not specified otherwise) and expect to get that rather than some obscure data in the cache of our browsers that might easily get erased inadvertently?

  • john jeon

    I’ve bought the book called ‘ principles of pathophysiology’ through kindle cloud app, but it says I can not read through kindle cloud app but only kindle app. I can not find any kindle app for chromebook. please is there anyone help me???

  • Michael Shoots

    This is outdated because Kindle Cloud Reader is considered incompatible for most Kindle books when using a Chromebook. The KCR works on WIndows but not on Chromebook. Big bummer. I’m just going to buy all my books from Google for now own.