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How to Read Kindle eBooks Without a Kindle

by Robert Seth on August 25, 2011

Picture of Amazon KindleThe Amazon Kindle is the bestselling eBook reader in the world.  It’s also the bestselling item on  But did you know that you don’t need a Kindle e-reader to read Kindle eBooks?

Before I tell you about this, let me explain a few things.  First of all, Kindles can read books in the Kindle, PDF, and a couple other formats.  They cannot read books in other eBook reader formats.  This is done intentionally in an attempt to prevent you from reading the competition’s eBooks.  Amazon does not want you buying Barnes and Noble eBooks.  They only want you to buy Amazon eBooks.

This is the same for Barnes and Noble and Apple and pretty much anybody that sells eBooks.  Their e-readers will read the standard PDF format and some other formats not specific to anyone else’s e-reader.  But nobody wants you buying the competition’s books

What I find amusing about this whole issue is the fact that you don’t even need an e-reader to read these eBooks.  Amazon tries so hard to keep you from buying the competition’s books.  They also try hard to keep you from reading your Kindle eBooks on anyone else’s e-reader.  They do this by publishing their eBooks in proprietary formats that only their devices can read.

But then what do they do?  They turn around and write an app (software program) called the Kindle App, that can run on any device except the competition.  This Kindle application can run your Kindle books on your computer, smart phone, tablet, iPad, or any other device; just as long as it’s not the competition’s device.

What does this mean to you?  It means that if you don’t want to buy a Kindle, or just don’t want to buy one now, you don’t have to.  You can buy all the eBooks you want from Amazon without laying out the cash for the Kindle.  This is very handy if you don’t like the current model of Kindle or you have some other device that will work already.

Personally, I’m waiting for a color Kindle.  Not like the Nook with the color LCD screen.  I mean one that uses color e-paper, just like the current Kindle uses black and white e-paper.  Color e-paper has been invented and works, it’s just not in production for low priced consumer models yet.  Anyway, back to the point at hand.

Now here’s another thing you might not have known.  Pretty much everybody else has an App too.  So if you have some Barnes and Noble eBooks, you don’t need a Nook to read them.  You can download the Barnes and Noble app and read those books anywhere you want.  Except of course, on the competition’s e-reader.

I have an iPad as my eBook reader.  Prior to buying it, I tested the Kindle and the Nook.  I purchased eBooks for both of them.  Now I have the Kindle and the Nook apps on my iPad so I can read all my eBooks regardless of where they came from.

Now here’s my last treat for you.  Did you know that you not only don’t need to spend money on a Kindle, there’s a good chance you don’t even need to spend any on the books!  I’m not suggesting theft, piracy, or anything illegal here.  The truth is, there are millions of free eBooks.

The last official count I was able to find was in 2008 when there were over 1.8 million free eBooks.   These were not all Kindle books but the total of all free eBooks available online.  There are many free eBooks available offline too.  Like at your public library.  Many e-readers have the ability to read the format used at public libraries.

According to Amazon, there are over 950,000 free kindle items just on their site.  This includes books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs.  That’s enough to keep you busy for a long time!  Many of the free eBooks on Amazon are publications in which the copyrights have run out.  This makes them public domain works which is why Amazon can give them away for free.

Another source of free, public domain books is Project Gutenberg.  They have over 36,000 free eBooks.  These are old classics that were originally published by reputable publishers.  Since the copyrights have run out, they have been able to scan the original books and offer them online.  They offer their books in many different formats so you can use just about any e-reader you want.  You can visit their website by clicking here.

Going back to Amazon for a moment, I should mention one more thing.  Amazon’s free eBooks are not just limited to public domain works.  They constantly have specials where they offer books by today’s authors for free.  For example, I wanted to purchase Steven Pressfield’s book “Do the Work.”

When I arrived at Amazon I was surprised to see that the Kindle Edition was actually free.  The hardcover edition was around $13.00.  As of this writing, they are both around $6.00.  So if you visit Amazon fairly often and watch closely, you could accumulate quite a library for not much money

So there you have it!  Now you can have an entire eBook library without having to spend a dime on an e-reader.  Or, in the case of this article, an entire Kindle library without having to own a Kindle

If you enjoyed this article or have additional information to add, please feel free to leave a comment.  If you’d like tips on using your computer better and making it run faster, click here to get instant access to our free video e-course on how to turbo-charge your computer.  In about an hour you’ll be able to tune up your computer like the pros and do it for free!  You can also share it with your friends and then YOU can be the expert!

Thanks for visiting!

Are you interested in not only reading eBooks, but writing them too?  Could your hobby or small business benefit from having an eBook or eBrochure in addition to the standard business card?  If so, we have some resources to help you do that.  You can start with our free report that will help you get past some of the most common barriers most writers experience when starting a writing project.  The free report is available by clicking here.

About Robert Seth

Robert Seth is a CPA in the Clark County, Washington area who has been serving individual and small business clients for the last 25 years. His business includes a growing number of remotely serviced customers throughout the United States. He’s also a writer and technology expert. He has a passion for improving the lives of others by helping them simplify the complicated stuff in their lives.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas Heward March 17, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Many Kindle Books I have purchased seem to have DRM on them so when I want to have them read aloud on my android device I must use a text to speech app that will copy a chapter or several pages and paste it into the app like “Read Aloud” and read aloud those pages. However about 80% of my Kindle books only allow me to copy and paste from 1 to 4 pages than a note comes up saying I cannot copy and paste beyond the amount I have chosen. (I already have a Kindle App on my Android). I have tried using Accessibility functions but they are often “crippling” in the cumbersome way they function and require multiple hard pushes on the screen to get a response and often found myself “locked out of my own android” trying to negotiate their reading of a Kindle Book without DRM interference or restrictions. My friend has an iphone and the accessibility functions work in less threatening manner. Does there exist a Voice Over App that will read my Kindle books on my Android that will not limit my reading to an Accessibility App or DRM constraints or will it be necessary for me to purchase a Kindle Fire Device or iPhone to read my Kindle Books aloud without DRM or Accessibility Functions hindering the entire process?


Robert Seth June 1, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your comment! I have not done much with trying to do what you’re trying to do. However, I suspect this difficulty is intentionally built into our devices in order to encourage us to buy the Audible versions of our Kindle books. Audible now interacts beautifully with Kindle. When you purchase a Kindle book, and the Audible version of that book with the same Amazon account, a player bar appears below each page of your Kindle book. All you have to do is click the play button below the page and it starts reading to you. This happens regardless of what device you read and listen on, as long as you’re using the Kindle app. It also highlights the words on the kindle book as it reads along, and keeps everything synced to the page you last read.

I know this is not helpful if there is no audible version of a book, or if you don’t want to spend the extra money. But it is a great feature and works very well. And avoids the headaches you mention in this post. If I come across another solution that works the way you’d like, I’ll add to this reply. Thanks again for your visit and comment!


Emma July 25, 2015 at 9:57 am

Hi Robert!
I am grateful for this posting and am about to finish up the Ebook I am writing for self help. Do you offer your CPA advise and consulting services to remote clients currently? I would love to talk about hiring you to help with the process of copywriting and distributing this book if you do that type of consulting.

Hope you are well!



Robert Seth July 25, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Hi Emma,

I’m glad you found the post helpful. I do offer my consulting services remotely. I will send you an email and we can talk about what you’d like to have done. Take care and thanks for visiting!


Ty March 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Great read! So glad to know this because I was so confused as weather I needed to buy a kindle or a nook. I recently purchased a tablet and thought there has to be a way for me to read books on here…and after reading this post, I know that there is. Thank you


Robert Seth March 21, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Hi Ty, I’m glad the post was helpful! Enjoy your tablet and please let me know if there’s something else you’d like me to write about.


branko February 12, 2014 at 7:58 am

I tried to get a kindle app? At Amazon and they have something Kindle Fire App? (no idea what that is). Where do I find a kindle app to download? How does this, app, work? I have never had any need for any apps so I have no idea how to use it on a PC?


Robert Seth February 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Hello Branko and thanks for your questions! If you go here you can download what you need to read Kindle books on your PC. If you have Windows 8 you’ll want to go to the Microsoft store on your computer and pick up the same thing. Just search for Kindle App and let it install when you find it. Let me know if you need more help. Take care, Robert


Arlene Gunter December 29, 2013 at 8:16 am

Thanks for the neat free information you have so thoughtfully provided. I did as you directed and downloaded both Nook and Kindle onto my laptop. My question is this: I can see and click onto a Kindle icon that appeared on my desktop, however, I have looked everywhere for a Nook ‘icon’.? I know it’s on both my pc and my laptop as it walked me thru registration. I cannot find an icon to actually go to. what am I missing, if anything?


Robert Seth December 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Hi Arlene, Thanks for visiting and for your comment! I suggest you click on the Start button, then to all programs, and look for Nook in the program list. You can also try just typing in “Nook” in the search box after clicking the Start button.


Kamalesh Pramanik May 8, 2013 at 9:08 am

It cleared all my doubts. And it is a great relief. Thank you so much.


izzy April 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Thanks for all the info but I have a question, I have 3 diiferent apps to read my books, one is CBD and Kobo, and the kindle app, which I like more than the others, Is there an app out there to have all my books in one place. I prefer the kindle app, because the CBD never places me back to same page–

Hopefully in the near future this would be possible


Robert Seth April 20, 2013 at 8:03 am

Hi Izzy,

Thanks for your question. The best one I have found is the Kindle App. It works on almost all devices and stays synced between them so you always come back to where you left off no matter which device you used last. The only one I found that it does not work on is the Nook. There are probably some other specific ereaders that it won’t work on, but for the most part, it works on more than any other.

Thanks for visiting!


Henrietta August 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm

I like the facts, they were more understanding, everyone want to keep their costomers eyes and patriotage to themselves. But I ordered a kindle fire. Nice and empressing. This may sound crazy. I wanted a reader for my Bibles,strong concordance, dictionary, and about (6) game. Study notes, journaling. But mostly lots of reading. I didn’t want to bring my big Bible to the lake. Just wanted something smaller, and nightlight build in. I can’t make up my mind. I want to read the bible no matter where I am. On line or off.


Wil August 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Very cool! I really enjoyed this post. I do have a Kindle and use it often. I miss the feel of a good book, but it’s so convenient.


Lizabet Nix August 26, 2011 at 9:59 am

Great information. I’ll pass along to those in my circle who love to read!


Pat August 26, 2011 at 8:16 am

Wow. great info for us not technies that don’t keep up to all this new stuff. Thankyou so much for taking the time to share.


Lori August 26, 2011 at 7:14 am

I <3 my Kindle. I also use the Kindle app on my iPad, iPhone and multiple computers!


AJ August 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Great Tips Robert! I’ve got the iPad and I use it to read all the time, and I do some Kindle books on it.


Thea August 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Great tips for those who don’t have a kindle. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I didn’t need one to read the e-books. But shortly after, I received one a few months ago as a gift and since then, I’ve become semi-obsessed with it lol. Great tips though!! I hope to join you and get an iPad soon 🙂


Olga Hermans August 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Yes Robert, I am going after the Steven Pressfield free version; thanks!


denny hagel August 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I love learning the little secrets that not too many are aware of! Thanks for sharing Robert!


Tamarah August 25, 2011 at 11:57 am

I just came across this App option yesterday while browsing Amazon. SO awesome. Maybe I should just say, Great minds think alike!


Paul Crowson August 25, 2011 at 11:51 am

Great post Robert…I didn’t know there were nearly a million Kindle items…that is amazing how that has grown…I have it on my MAC to get the books…


Anastasiya Day August 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

Great article Robert! Thank you so much for sharing your tips with us.


Vicky August 25, 2011 at 11:41 am

Wow! thanks for those hot tips. I always learn something form you Robert. 🙂


Solvita August 25, 2011 at 11:25 am

Hi Robert, here you go again with a great advise! Thanks for sharing 🙂


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