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.
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.
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.