How To Actually Get the Kindle Reader To Work on your Linux Desktop (UPDATED)

UPDATE UPDATE: I no longer have that file, because it is not the most current one. However, people who want to read their Kindle books on their Linux machine need only to use the browser-based Kindle Cloud Reader. It's pretty nice.

There is a Kindle reader application for the PC (and the Mac and the iPod touch). But not Linux. Which makes us sad because without Linux, your Kindle wouldn't even turn on.

But despite this deeply insulting unforgivable slight by Steve Bozo or whatever his name is, diligent supergeeks have solved this problem temporarily. The problem is, as usual, the Intertubes are full of people who know diddley squat but don't seem to understand that, so you will find ample instructions to make the Kindle for PC work on your Linux computer, and you will have very little success.

Unless you know two secrets that I know.

Never mind what Lifehacker says, never mind what most of these other crazy people on the internet say. Do these two or three things and you'll probably get the Kindle reader working.

1) Install the latest, Beta version of Wine. Go to the wine site and find out how to do that. It is a little complicated, requires some messing around, but you can do it. I know you can. And never mind that it's the "beta" version. It's not like Wine was stable and trouble free or anything. Might as well go for broke.

2) Do NOT use the Kindle for PC installer provided by Amazon. That one is broken for Linux with wine. Use the older version. This is a 5.2 megabyte version that still seems to be available here. But keep in mind, this and other "older" versions that are stored away on the Internet, like at Tocows, have been updated by some moron or another who thought they were being helpful. If you end up not being able to find the 5.2 meg version, email me, I'll send you mine.

3) It may be necessary to run this as Windows 98 software. You may also want to increase the dpi to about 105 or 110.

If this does not work, do not get mad at me. Get mad at Steve Blotto and Amazon, because they are the ones who have let you down by not providing a Linux version of this totally simple easy to produce software. Their fault. In fact, you should complain to them. But in the mean time, this kludge will work. The fonts and scrolling and stuff on the application totally suck, but the reader itself .... once you have an eBook loaded, is pretty darn good.

You can't search the text, it would seem. Or at least, I have not figured out how to. If you have, let me know!!!

That is all. Good luck.

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jeff bezos is the name I think you're looking for. steves run the other two companies that you don't like...

It kind of works for me on Karmic, but I can't open the shopping cart to search for stuff. I'll play around with it. The install went smoothly.

That's why you should have bought a Sony Reader. :-)

Stacy, will a Sony reader read Kindle books?

Mike: Do you have an amazon Kindle account? In any event, I did not get the store to open either.

Wouldn't it be better to find an AZW to RTF/PDF/DOC converter? Kindle as hardware is interesting, kindle as an application is a waste.

I understand that AZW is a mobi file format and you probably just need to remove drm. If you are the purchaser and have a proper PID, it should be straightforward.

"Wouldn't it be better to find an AZW to RTF/PDF/DOC converter?"

It depends on what you want to do. At the moment, it seems that would be illegal. It is nothing like straight forward, by the way. I've heard. But in principle, you are correct.

I have an amazon account, and I "purchased" Moby Dick (free) using my web browser, then opened up the kindle reader on my desktop and was able to access the book and open it that way.

It seems to work pretty well for reading it that way.

Even more bizarre, their is a Google Android app, yet still no Kindle for Linux, it really beggars belief.
I mean who seem the more likely geeky crowd to read books, Linux Geeks, or Windows IsntStuffPretty ButtonClickingWizardMonkeys(c)

By Christian (not verified) on 09 Nov 2010 #permalink

Way late to the party, but as an avid reader of your blog I found it funny when i was looking into why the hell I couldn't get Kindle to work in WINE I ran into your posting. I had tried the '98 trick, no dice, then I saw I needed the beta.


Thanks! It took me a few tries (I confess, my inner mind rebelled at the very idea of running Windows apps on Linux), but once I actually followed your instructions to get the beta Wine version, it all fell into place nicely. Thanks also to "cc" for locating the older version.

after updating to Wine development release 1.3.10, released on Christmas Eve, I was able to install the latest version of Kindle (1.3.0 - 30884) using the standard 12mb installer and works with no problems :)

yep, wine 1.3.11 and the regular kindle installer works well with all the features that I like so much, (dictionary, highlighter, notes) working just dandy! a couple more ubuntu glitches to fix and I am showing windows the door (-:

It is 2011 and still no Linux love from Amazon. They seem to love every other platform but Linux. And maybe you're totally messed up running that Linux of yours on an ARM processor.

Excellent instructions; worked for me on Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick with wine 1.3 beta. My first go-around with wine 1.2 didn't work.

If anyone is on Ubuntu like I am, the software center has a great program called Calibre, that will read all formats of ebooks.

I was not aware that Calibre read Kindle encrypted ebooks. Does it really?

I did try Calibre a while back but there was something I didn't like about it. Can't remember what. Always willing to try again, though.

1) It brutalizes my files. I want to put my ebooks where I want to, I don't want Calibre to make its own copies and put them it its own system. Don't mind if that's an option, but I don't want it as the default.

2) It does not use standard file naming conventions. This makes me assume it was written for use on some other, inferior system, and makes me nervoius.

3) It does not read Kindle books. It opens the Kindle reader, if you've got one, and delivers you the book that way. Whcih is fine, but for people trying to read their kindle books on a Linux machine, this is not the solution.

By jove, it really works. I'm using the latest Ubuntu as of this writing (11.04). Went into the Software Center, installed the Wine Beta, followed one of the links to the old Kindle, opened the .tar file in the Archiver; double-clicked on the .exe and Kindle was running just a couple of minutes later. Worked a treat!

Thank you so much for this. The only thing that keeps the Internet worthwhile is people like you who know their stuff and are willing to share their knowledge.

tried this out and it was an amazing experience but kindle with windows was also good, I had problem for my own books converting Bob from helped out with device use and updates

By Jack Smith (not verified) on 10 Oct 2011 #permalink

Now that version has expired and we're stuck this error message.:
fixme:system:SetProcessDPIAware stub!

By John Hutcheson (not verified) on 30 Sep 2012 #permalink

I've not kept up with the new version because it does not matter any more. Kindle Cloud Reader allows you to read your kindle books on any platform that runs a web browser. Well, I've not tried it on my Wii yet, but it works great in Linux on Chrome and Firefox.

The cloud reader is fine for reading. It does not allow cut and paste, which is the reason people want either a version for linux (such as .deb) or emulation through wine.

Just install PlayOnLinux. (a kind of overlay for WINE that handles many configuration settings for you automatically) Then use POL to install the latest version of Kindle Reader for Windows. It can even download it for you if you like. After registering the reader, I had to restart it before it would properly access my library, but after that, everything works correctly.

I installed the current version of the Kindle reader with the current version of Wine. So maybe this post is obsolete.

Also, the onine reader works great on Linux. I am pretty sure you are correct.