Reading Kindle books on Linux, supporting a switch to Linux

By: (plus.google.com) +David Herron; Date: December 10, 2017

Tags: Linux »»»» macOS »»»» Kindle

Electronic books are a big thing, making it possible to own a vast library without the bookshelves. The Kindle marketplace is the largest e-book marketplace, and unfortunately Amazon does not support the industry-standard eBook format, EPUB3, and instead stays with its proprietary MOBI-based eBook format. Reading Kindle books, then, requires using a Kindle device or a Kindle application. And, of course, Amazon doesn't make a Kindle application for Linux. Since we are pondering a switch from macOS to Linux, how do we solve this problem?

This article is part of a series - see How to replace macOS with a fully open source Linux system

The generalized questions we need to solve are:

  • Reading eBooks on a Linux system (EPUB format is preferred)
  • Reading Kindle books on a Linux system

An obvious solution is to buy Kindle hardware, and read ones Kindle e-Books on Amazon's proprietary hardware. That's certainly a pragmatic choice, as is using an Android tablet or iPad. Amazon makes their Kindle application available for either, and the reading experience is pretty good. While that's pragmatic, it means keeping a foot in the door of proprietary closed systems that possibly invade your privacy.

Buying into the Kindle marketplace is asking for an invasion of privacy. Is Amazon sharing what you read with federal agents? In some cases, Amazon has reached into Kindles to delete content - in cases where it was determined a particular book was improperly published.

We don't to sound like alarmists, and instead we need to focus on the task rather than getting distracted.

Running the Kindle for PC application under Wine?

Wine is an excellent tool for running Windows applications on Linux or macOS systems. For example I need to read UML files created by Enterprise Architect, and the company behind that application have made sure it executes properly under Wine. Despite not owning a Windows machine, I can run Enterprise Architect on macOS and do anything with the UML files.

The same holds true for many other applications. Does Kindle for PC work under Wine?

To start, one goes to (www.amazon.com) https://www.amazon.com/kindleapps and then clicks on Download for PC

The downloaded file might have a name like: KindleForPC-installer-1.21.48017.exe

To try this out, I downloaded it on my macOS system and tried to run the installer. It crashed before the first window popped up.

Therefore it seems likely Kindle for PC is not executable under Wine. I've seen some blog posts suggesting older versions run okay under Wine. That may be the case but it's not clear how to get an older version.

Kindle Cloud Reader

This solution actually works, and is usable not just on Linux but Chromebooks, and any other computer. It's a virtual Kindle device in a web browser. With the Kindle Cloud Reader, you access all the Kindle content you've purchased and can read it via your web browser.

Go to :- (read.amazon.com) https://read.amazon.com/

Log in using your Amazon account. After approving some agreements and other administrative tasks, you're shown a listing of the Kindle books you've purchased. Click on one and you can start reading away.