How to Read a Kindle eBook on your Laptop

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Some people would prefer to read eBooks on their laptop or desktop machines.

Many people never open the Kindle books they receive as gifts because they don’t know how, and they’re intimidated by the new and unknown. There must be thousands of books languishing unread in cyberspace.

I once had a modest library of three thousand books. The average book weighs a pound — my library, then, weighed a ton and a half. Moving required two trips — the backbreaking half was for the books. Now I travel often, sometimes for years at a stretch, and I travel light. Practicality dictates a shift from physical to virtual books. My Kindle Paperwhite in its protective leather case weighs twelve ounces and easily fits in carry-on luggage. Add three thousand books and it still weighs twelve ounces — it’s like the tiny circus tent that holds a thousand clowns.

Well, OK, the Kindle has enough memory for only a thousand books (half a ton in the physical world), but I can easily change the books I’m carrying by downloading from that portion of the Cloud that Amazon calls my library. (This doesn’t cost any money or strain any muscles.)

I’m suspicious of people’s obstinate refusal to touch an ebook. They say they want the physical book’s palpability — its weight, feel, and smell — yet I can’t help suspecting that ebook Luddites don’t read but decorate with their books. As for me, I value content over form, and of course I need the mobility. I remember a book’s ideas and drama for years beyond memory of the book’s look or redolence of old paper, dust, and glue. But fine, if you haven’t attacked your library with the KonMari method, enjoy your books.

Yet even the most orthodox bibliophiles might need to truck with an ebook. Some might just prefer to test the water before plunging into the sea of virtual books. For whatever reason, here’s how to open a Kindle book in your browser.

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Scottish lexicographer James Murray, primary editor at the Oxford English Dictionary, at work in the Scriptorium.

Opening a Kindle book very simple. You can of course use the Kindle app on your phone, but maybe you don’t want to read on your phone — memory is scarce, the print is tiny, or prolonged staring at the screen hurts your eyes — so here’s how you can read a Kindle eBook on your laptop or desktop.

Open a Browser Tab to Amazon

Open browser tab and go to Amazon.com. Place your mouse over the the button that says “Accounts & Lists” at the top right corner of the window. You don’t need to click: just roll the mouse over the button. The menu will appear automatically.

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Click on Content & Devices

In the “Your Account” menu, find “Your Content & Devices”, which is about two-thirds of the way down. Click on “Your Content & Devices.”

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Your Content & Devices

Now you will see a list of the content that you own through Amazon. My list occupies several pages, but you might have fewer items.

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Searching for the Title

If you do not see the title you need, enter the title in the search box at the top right, then push the SEARCH button.

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Now You Can See the Title

In this case, I’m searching for How Not To Die.

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The Book Menu

On the left side of the title you will see a button with three dots ( … ). Click on that button, and the book menu will appear.

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Opening the Book

On the book menu you will see “Read Now.” Click on “Read Now.”

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Behold! The Book!

Now you will see the book. Arrows on the left and right sides let you turn the page. (In this example, the cover is the first page, so there is no arrow since there is no page before the cover.)

You can also jump around in the book by clicking on the book icon in the top dark-gray menu bar. The book icon menu will let you go to the cover, to the table of contents, to the beginning of the text, to a specific page number, or to a specific location (which is similar to a page number but for ebooks, which have no fixed page numbers because you can resize the text).

When you are reading, the menu bar disappears. But if you move your mouse to the top of the page, the menu bar will reappear. On the right side of the menu bar there is a search box that will let you search within the book.

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Written by

writer / poet / explorer

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