What You Can(not) Do With the Kindle (Apps)

A friend sent me an email earlier today and asked about personal documents, Kindle Cloud, the kindle apps, and how he could tie them together.The answer to his question is that he cannot, but he'd had trouble finding the info online. After looking it up (I had trouble finding it myself ) I thought  that it would be useful to write up a post which explains which of the Kindle's features are also available on the apps.

The apps are rather feature limited when compared to the Kindles. Most of the more interesting features  simply don't work and I don't expect Amazon to enable them.

Now that I think about it, it might be easier to list what you cannot do. The Kindle has enough neat features that often times I only notice when they are not available. Let me know if you think I missed one.

Formats Not Supported

You can use the apps to read _some_ of the content that you buy in the Kindle Store , but not all. Here's a list of what won't work as well as several exceptions.

  • Kindle Active Content
  • Audible audiobooks
  • MP3
  • Kindle Print Replica - Amazon's PDF  format only works on Kindle for PC/OSX. (On a related note, K4PC can also read a DRM-free PDF.)
  • Kindle A/V  - while you can read the text from an enhanced Kindle on any Kindle or app, the video and audio only work on iPad and iPod Touch.

This is actually not as simple as I thought it would be because Amazon have been rolling out features 1 at a time and only adding them to a single app. It's a little odd but I guess it works for them.

Features Not Supported

There are a bunch of really neat things that you can do with a Kindle but not with the apps. Amazon haven't implemented any of these features and I do not expect them to.

  •  Emailing personal docs
  • Pushing personal ebooks to the app from the Manage Your Kindle page
  • Kindle Cloud (archiving of personal ebooks and annotations)

Given that the above features all depend on software, not hardware, there's really nothing stopping Amazon from enabling them. But I don't expect them to do so because it doesn't make good business sense. Giving the Kindles better features than the apps is probably intended to encourage you to buy a Kindle.

BTW, while you cannot email docs to your app through Amazon, there's nothing stopping you from emailing an ebook to yourself or emailing personal docs to the @free.kindle.com email address on the account. Open the email on whichever device you happen to be using and you should be able to download and open the ebook in the Kindle app. This doesn't always  work though.

Did I miss any?

About Nate Hoffelder (11579 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

2 Comments on What You Can(not) Do With the Kindle (Apps)

  1. Yeah, the X-ray feature. There’s nothing to stop them putting that in the apps too. I think at some point the apps will have all these things, but not until the K hardware has a few more the apps won’t get for a while.

    I also thought it very weird that the Fire doesn’t do Kindle A/V. But I guess if it did, people would want the Android app to as well.

  2. Can you loan eBooks if you only have the Kindle App? I don’t have a actual Kindle but i do have the App on my iPad and Android phone. But i cannot find a way to loan books.

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