The ability to pick and choose our device and platforms of choice and mix and match is still largely aspirational rather than reality but there are often workarounds to get us what we want. One of those workarounds is buying Kindle books on the iPhone or iPad.
Amazon Kindle is the retail giant’s closed platform designed to boost sales of its Kindle hardware range. The iPhone and iPad is obviously Apple’s closed platform designed to make it billions of dollars a year without having to share any of that revenue with competitors. Which is why Kindle doesn’t officially play well with Apple.
Or does it?
You can actually buy Kindle books on the iPhone or iPad and read them too. It just isn’t as straightforward as it could be.
Buy Kindle books on the iPhone or iPad
The usual way to buy Kindle books is by using the Kindle app. On a compatible device, the Kindle app is linked to your Amazon account and makes buying a book simple. Sometimes too simple. You log into the app, find the book, select Buy Now and you’re done. The book arrives in your library and you can read it right away.
On devices where the Kindle app doesn’t work, such as iPhone or iPad, you have to do things slightly differently.
- Open Safari on your device and navigate to com.
- Log into your Amazon account.
- Select Departments under the Amazon logo and select Kindle E-readers & books.
- Select Share at the bottom of the screen and select Add to Home Screen.
- Select Add in the top right of the app page.
This places the Amazon Kindle Store to your Home Page for easy access. From there you can read books using the Kindle app.
Some older iPhones and iPads may show an error message instead. I have heard of people seeing ‘This item is not compatible for this device’ when trying to add the Kindle app to their phone. This is usually on older versions of iOS and is the usual part of the Apple upgrade path that ‘encourages’ you to keep up to date with everything.
If you see this error, try one of these other two methods. They both use Safari. The first uses Safari and the Kindle app while the second uses Kindle Cloud Reader. If the mobile store method doesn’t work, the Kindle Cloud Reader method certainly should.
Alternative ways to buy Kindle books on the iPhone or iPad
You can use the Kindle Store directly from within Safari to buy and then read a Kindle book.
- Open Safari on your iPhone or iPad.
- Navigate to the Kindle Mobile Store.
- Sign in with your Amazon account if prompted.
- Browse books and buy one if you like.
- Select Read now and the book should open in your Kindle app.
This method should work on any iPhone or iPad as you are just using Safari to buy something. As long as the Kindle App is installed, you can read your new book immediately.
There is also a third way. You could use Kindle Cloud Reader if you would prefer to not use the Kindle App on your device or it isn’t compatible. If you’re using an older device that won’t play nicely with the Kindle app, this method is sure to work as it is all online. The downside is that you will need an internet connection to read your book.
- Navigate to the Kindle Cloud Reader in Safari.
- Log into your Amazon account.
- Select the Kindle Store in the top right of the page.
- Browse for books as you normally would and buy whatever takes your fancy.
- You can read it directly in the Kindle Cloud Reader without downloading anything to your device.
iTunes does have its fair share of books in iBooks but not quite the depth and breadth of content that Amazon does. Thanks to tech companies’ habit of locking down elements of their offering for their own gain, you won’t get the full range of publishers on both platforms as one company locks them to their own exclusively. It’s a shame as this restricts consumer choice. However, when you know how to work around such restrictions, you can usually get what you want on the device that you want.
Do you know of any other ways to buy Kindle books on the iPhone or iPad? Got any other workarounds for if the Kindle app doesn’t work on a particular version of iOS? Tell us about it below if you do!