A common complaint about Android apps in comparison to iOS apps is that Android apps are often missing features or seem “unfinished” and not as polished. While I’ve found that to be true in some cases, the Kindle app is a particularly grievous example.

While books in the Android version are easy to read, sync with the Cloud and are very pretty on my Nexus 7 screen, some basic features in the iPad app are mysteriously missing. Here are my biggest gripes:

1. You can’t open a book from an email or from Dropbox

With “Send to Kindle,” this isn’t as big a problem as it used to be, but it’s still an odd feature to be lacking. Android is usually superior to iOS on Share options, but Kindle for Android doesn’t appear as an option in email or in cloud storage apps. Send to Kindle is the only way I know to load a document into the app. Kindle for iOS allows both opening from Dropbox (and similar cloud services) and from an email. Curious.

2. Kindle for Android has ONE font option.

Yes, you read that correctly. One. Singular. Solo. Don’t believe me? Check out the following screen shot and compare it to a similar shot from the iOS version, which gives you six. Yes, six is sad compared to other e-reading apps, but it’s lots better than one. Fortunately, I like the single option, so it’s not a deal breaker for me. Other people prefer a sans serif font, however, and they are stuck.





































3. Book organization is well, non-existent

Lots of people wish for Kindle-style collections in the various apps, and none of them support them. Kindle for iOS, however, sorts the apps into Books and Docs, so you can separate Amazon files from personal documents. Kindle for Android just throws them all together in one list.






































Come on, Amazon. How hard can it be to have both versions of the app work and look the same?

Anyone else want to share differences you’ve noticed? Does the Android version irk you as much as it does me?


  1. To sideload a Kindle book to the Android app:

    1. Connect your device to your computer via USB
    2. In Windows Explorer, browse to your device’s directory structure and find the one labeled kindle
    3. Drag-and-drop your kindle book into that directory
    4. Eject your device and open Kindle for Android

  2. Kindle4Android has several features not found on its iOS cousin:
    – direct access to the Kindle Store
    – voice search in Library
    – full KF8 support (iOS does not yet support reflowable KF8)
    – Send To Kindle functionality is built in, and available from many Sharing options in other Android apps

    To get a file from Dropbox to Kindle app, there are a couple of easy ways, neither requires additional software, or hooking up to USB etc.:
    – Use Dropbox ‘Export this file’ option to Save to SD card, find the ‘kindle’ folder and Export it there
    – Send To Kindle also appears as one of the options for Dropbox Export. Using this you can send a .mobi or pdf file (or .txt or .html) to the send to kindle service, selecting your Android device as the destination (or some other Kindle linked to your account), and choosing whether it is stored in the cloud or not.

    Similarly, with Google Google Drive you can Send using Send To Kindle, or use a 3rd party tool such as ES File explorer to move the file to the ‘kindle’ folder after downloading it.

  3. One annoyance is that all ‘Downloaded items’ offer ‘Remove From Device’ regardless of whether they are stored in Kindle cloud storage or they are just local files. So you don’t know whether you are ‘removing’ or ‘deleting’.

    If they just added the categories Books/Docs/Newsstand that would be enough ‘organization’ for me. ‘Search’ is faster and more scalable than ‘Collections’, particularly with voice search, which works pretty well.

    Also, It’s time to deprecate the use of ‘Archived Items’ in favor of ‘Cloud’, which is the terminology used on more recent Kindles and of course the iOS app.

  4. Amazon’s Android Kindle client still feels lacking to me – kind of surprising since the Kindle itself runs modified Android. Compared to the rich feature set of FBReader or Aldiko, for instance, it’s very bare-bones. No font choices. Just three colour backgrounds compared to FBReader’s rich palette. I could go on. And on. And it’s unforgivably slow to load when it starts up. Come on, Amazon, with your market dominance, how hard can it be to get this right?

  5. Thanks for the corrections on opening Kindle apps from cloud storage in the Android version. But the fact that it wasn’t obvious to me (a long-time techie) still makes me think the point is valid. A new Android user might not discover that option, while it’s obvious in the iOS version.

    Paul, I’m not noticing the slowness on start-up. It loads quite snappily on my Nexus 7. I completely concur with the sparsity of features.

  6. Some Kindle for Android usability issues:

    * it’s impossible to select more than one word of text https://plus.google.com/115447412616529141867/posts/ibPqvwwdbKx
    * no access to the user’s wish list while buying at Kindle Store
    * an annoying bug I reported long ago was never fixed: cover thumbnails of recommended books fail to load in the home screen (it’s necessary to unregister, uninstall and reinstall the app to fix this, before it starts again)
    * slow to start even on cutting edge hardware (e.g. Nexus 4)

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