How to read Kindle books—without a Kindle
No, you don't need an e-reader to do it.
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With most people stuck inside for the time being, there’s never been a better time to start reading more (at least in my opinion). Once you’ve grown tired of binging Disney+ and Apple TV+, it will really be the best time to finally take a crack at your ‘TBR list’ (to-be-read list).
In order to make this happen, you’ll need books. If you don't have books at home that you’ve been meaning to read, and you don't want to spend a ton of money ordering them and then waiting weeks for them to ship, my suggestion is Kindle books—even if you don’t have a Kindle.
While at home, I’ve been downloading digital Kindle books so I can read the next pick on my list ASAP. So far I’ve tackled “The Martian”, “Conversations With Friends”, “Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore”, and “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” all on my Kindle while in quarantine. It’s been quite the time.
If you’re interested in buying a Kindle, our favorite one, the Kindle Paperwhite, currently isn’t in stock on Amazon, and won’t be until April 18th (womp, womp). Thankfully, you don't technically need a Kindle to read Kindle books, though. There’s a handy app for iOS and Android that allows you to read these e-books sans a Kindle device. The best part? It’s completely free.
How to read Kindle books without a Kindle
Even though I’m a proud owner of a Kindle, I still have the Kindle app downloaded onto my phone. That way I can read wherever I left off if my Kindle runs out of battery or if I don’t have it with me. If you want to join the ranks of the Kindless Kindle book readers, here's how to do so.
Download the Kindle application for your device. You can download it for your phone, tablet, and even your desktop computer. For a similar experience to the Kindle, I recommend reading on a tablet, which will allow for bigger fonts, pages, and portability. The Apple iPad happens to be the best tablet we’ve ever tested, if you’re in the market for one.
Once you’re all situated, you simply log in with the email associated with your Amazon account. This is the only way to assure that your Kindle books appear on the app.
While you can’t purchase books directly on the Kindle app, you can find the book of your choice from the Kindle Store and it will automatically download to the app after you select "Buy Now With 1-Click" button.
Open the Kindle app and get to reading. You can also easily alter the font size, type, and background color to create less strain on your eyes for when you’re reading on a smaller screen for an extended period of time.
How to save money on Kindle books
While Kindle books tend to already be cheaper than paper books, there are a few ways you can save even more on your digital library. Here are my favorite places to get discounts and free books.
If you’re an avid reader, a Kindle Unlimited subscription is your best bet for saving a ton on a bunch of books. For just $9.99 a month (basically the cost of a Kindle book), you can get access to more than a million different books, which makes it an affordable way to tackle your reading list. Plus, new users can try it for a month free, which is ideal for anyone sitting at home right now.
Aside from a robust library to choose from, you’ll also get access to popular magazines and thousands of audiobooks through Audible. It’s honestly my favorite way to read an entire fantasy series because instead of playing $10 or more for seven different books, you’ll just be paying this flat fee.
Kindle GoldBox deals
I currently have more than 30 unread books sitting in my Kindle library. Why so many? Because I bought them all on sale. Every single weekend (typically Sunday), Amazon runs a Deal of the Day on Kindle books, offering popular titles for two dollars to five dollars, which is a total steal. I tend to check these sales religiously and have found books on my TBR list like “Circe” and “Ready Player One”, as well as more unknown titles to me that I vetted through Goodreads before purchasing. Now, I have a full library to choose from all at an affordable price.
Your local library
The cheapest way to read Kindle books? Your library card. It’s a not-so-hidden secret that you can borrow ebooks from your local library, which completely blew my mind when I found out and has saved me a ton of money. The public libraries typically have a limited number of ebooks available, which means you’ll probably be waiting a while for popular titles (I’ve been on the waiting list for “The Dutch House" for months now). But I usually think of it as a special treat when you finally get the email alert that you’re off hold—or I just lose my patience and buy it myself.
What Kindle books to read
To get you ready to hit the books, I have a few recommendations based on personal favorites and the top charts of the Kindle Store to get you started on your TBR list.
“Normal People” by Sally Rooney: This was my favorite book of 2019. Rooney weaves together a seamless story of friendship and loves between heart wrenching pages of miscommunication and self doubt that I found hard to put down. ($11.99 on Kindle)
“Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman: Charming and funny, this my most recent book club pick. Eleanor’s narration in the story is enthralling as she struggles with appropriate social skills and learns about true friendship. ($9.99 on Kindle)
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens: This has been on my TBR list for months and has been topping the Kindle charts for months. It’s a coming-of-age story with a hint of murder that is recommend by Reese Witherspoon herself. ($14.99 on Kindle)
“Educated” by Tara Westover: Another pick from my book club, “Educated” is the powerful true story of a woman raised by a survivalist and her quest to attend school and become educated. It’s fascinating, incredibly well-written, and hard to put down. ($13.99 on Kindle)
“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides: This is one of my favorite thrillers that’s also topping the Kindle charts. A woman accused of murder goes silent and a psychotherapist is determined to find out what really happened. It’s a page turner with an unbelievable twist. ($13.99 on Kindle)
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.