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How do I buy a Kindle book on my iPhone or iPad?

Amazon Kindle book app
Booked out: you can't buy Kindle eBooks from the Amazon app

You’re browsing the Amazon app on your iPhone, a cheap Kindle book takes your fancy, you click on it and search for the Buy button. And keep searching. And searching…

You could read War & Peace with a Will Self chaser in the time it would take you to find it, because it’s not there. Neither the main Amazon shopping app nor the Kindle app provides any means to buy books for instant literary gratification.

Why not? This is due to what’s widely labelled as the ‘Apple tax’. eBooks are one of the things that you’re not allowed to sell via Apple apps without paying a chunky commission (widely believed to be 30%) to Apple. So even though you can buy the Amazon app to buy edible knickers (‘lick well before eating’) or a mouse mat bearing the face of Paul Ross, you cannot buy the latest Zadie Smith novel because Amazon doesn’t want to split the proceeds with Apple. Which just so happens to sell eBooks itself, by the way…

How to buy Kindle books on Apple devices

There is a way around this problem, however, and it’s not a huge pain in the backside. Fire up the Safari browser (or Chrome, or any other browser of your choice), visit the Amazon website and buy the Kindle book from there. If you want to read it on your iPhone or iPad, just choose that device from the ‘Deliver to’ dropdown menu. Even if you forget to do that, it will still appear in your library in the Kindle app and can be downloaded from there.

Amazon website
Bought to book: select your iPhone or iPad in Deliver to…

Oh, and by the way, none of this applies to Amazon’s Android apps. Only Apple, it seems, wants to make life needlessly difficult for buyers of its expensive devices.

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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