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How to buy books on Kindle

A Kindle is the perfect gift for any voracious reader in your life, but how easy is it to navigate? Here's how to buy and add ebooks on Amazon's e-reader.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer on
A Kindle showing Chapter 1 held up against a nature background

As a writer, it's not surprising that I love to read. But as is the case for many others, it wasn't always like that. As a kid, I hated assigned reading with a passion; I refused to read any books that I didn't choose myself. The thought of reading was boring and time-consuming. Why read stories when you can watch them on TV? 

But as my passion for writing grew, so did my love of books. Reading a book felt like a private connection to the author, like being let in on a secret that unleashed imaginary journeys. Stephen King once said that reading "creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing," and that's what it felt like to me. 

A Kindle e-reader ended up being life-changing for me. Books are already portable, but ebooks are next-level portable: All your books are handy in one single, compact device. But how do you get the most out of your Kindle? Let's start with how you can buy books on the device.

Also: The best e-readers: Kindle, Kobo, and more

How to buy ebooks on Kindle

Step 1: Link your Kindle to your Amazon account

When you buy a new Kindle, you have the option to have it be already linked to your Amazon account when it's delivered. If you didn't choose this option at checkout, then log in to your Amazon account on your Kindle or create an account.

Step 2: Go to the Kindle store

A Kindle with its screen showing the Kindle store
Image: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The Kindle's homepage will show Your Library, which contains the books you've bought or borrowed, and the store with books to purchase. 

Step 3: Select a book to buy

A finger selecting a book in the onscreen Kindle store
Image: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The Kindle store lets you browse by genre and popularity, or it can find recommendations for you. 

Once you see an interesting book in the Kindle's digital library, you can see a summary, the number of pages, and other information about the book. You can also scroll down to read reviews and learn more about what others are saying about the book.

Step 4: Buy the book

A Kindle screen showing the Tap on Buy button
Image: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Once you've chosen a book, press the Buy for [$ price] on your Kindle to purchase it. This process will charge your Amazon account, so whatever payment method you use on Amazon will be applied to the purchase.

The Read Now button on the Kindle screen

The button changed from Buy for $8.99 to Read Now after purchase.

Image: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

After the payment is processed, the book will begin downloading on your Kindle and will become available in your Kindle library (the Kindle's homepage) in a few seconds.


Can I sample a book?

If you're not sure you're ready to buy a Kindle book, you can try a sample of it. Think of it as like reading some pages in a bookstore before committing to buy a book -- except you can do it from wherever you are with your Kindle or other device with the Kindle app.

A Kindle book sample tends to be either about 10% of the book or the first chapter or two. After you're done reading the sample, you can buy the book on your Kindle to download the rest of it.

Can I buy a book for my Kindle from my iPhone?

If you want to buy Kindle books from your iPhone, you'll have to do so via a web browser. Though you can have the Kindle and Amazon apps on your iPhone, buying books using those apps on an iPhone is unfortunately not supported. 

To buy Kindle books on your iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Go to a web browser (such as Safari, Google Chrome, or Firefox).
  2. Go to Amazon.com and log in.
  3. Find the Kindle book you want to buy.
  4. Select the Kindle format below the book title.
  5. Buy and check out.
  6. The Kindle book will be downloaded to the Kindle devices logged in to this Amazon account.

Where can I buy the cheapest Kindle books?

One of the benefits of buying the Kindle format of a book is that it's already cheaper than the hardcover version. But there are ways to find even better deals when searching for Kindle books. Amazon always features deals on its site, and you can find daily Kindle deals, monthly deals, and Kindle Exclusive deals.

Can you buy books in different languages on Kindle?

If it's in the Kindle virtual library, then it's available for purchase. There are plenty of translated books available in the Kindle store, and some books are available in multiple languages.

Simply search for the book you're interested in and see if it's available for purchase.

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