We are a family of readers. I say this even though I didn’t pick up a book to read for pleasure for seven years after my children were born. I wish I’d known then, what I know now. Books would have continued to comfort me during a particularly stressful and kinetic time in my life.
Now that my life has slowed down a little, and my children are learning to read, books are back in my life, and I’m in love all over again.
I’ll admit I was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of electronic reading, but I wanted to keep my flip phone too, until I had that first smart phone in my hand. I have hundreds of Kindle books in my library now. I collected many of them free.
One day, I wanted to read the first book of the Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, which I knew my spouse had already purchased electronically. I wondered if there was a way that she could share the book with me. I discovered that not only is there a way to share one book, but a way to share your entire Kindle library with your family!
How To Set Up Your Kindle Library Household
You can have up to two adults, and as many as four children, on a shared library. Amazon doesn’t care which two adults, or which four children. Your “household” is entirely up to you. In order to share libraries, both you, and the adult person you are sharing with, must have Amazon accounts. This probably goes without saying, but many things about this process have been confusing for me, so I think it’s worth mentioning. To get started, click here for instructions.
Once you have set up your family account, you have control over which books are shared, and with whom. Go to your Amazon account drop down menu, scroll down until “Manage Your Content and Devices” is highlighted, and click to go there:
You will find many options to manage your device content and libraries. But where? This was one of my points confusion. If you click on the action box next to the book you want, you will see this menu box:
Do you see the “Manage Family Library” option? You can share, or restrict your book from being shared, with family members by clicking that menu option. But, here is something else I discovered, quite by accident. You can add audio to books you already own with Whispersync!
What Is Whispersync and how does it work?
Whispersync is the Amazon technology marrying Kindle books with Audible books. I have developed a love for audiobooks. I’d rather listen to books than watch movies lately. I would have kept “reading” through the last seven years if I had understood how wonderful it is to be able to listen to a book while folding six loads of laundry, scrubbing baby bottles, or even while falling asleep at night. I’ve been borrowing audiobooks from the library, but I also finally broke down and got an Audible.com account and downloaded my free audiobook. I didn’t give a fig that we already owned the electronic book, I wanted to listen to it, and Audible.com had it available to listen to.
It was then I discovered something truly wonderful! Because we own both the audio version of the book and the electronic version of the book, we can link them together and switch back and forth between listening and reading whenever we want, for no extra cost. Learn more by clicking here. You can also buy and add audio to Kindle books you already own by clicking this link.
If you are logged in to your Amazon account, you will see this nifty little tool automatically syncing the books you already own with links to buy the audio upgrades:
You Can Share Your Audiobooks!
Audible.com is great. They have audio titles I couldn’t find elsewhere, even at the library. But, right now there is no way to share your Audible titles with your family (perhaps they will fix this in the future given that Audible is an Amazon company.)
But, if you buy the Kindle book on Amazon, and upgrade it to audio, you can share the book, and the audio upgrade, with anyone in your family library. I discovered this only by experimentation. The audio track does have to be downloaded onto whichever device you are listening with, but it does not cost anything if you have paid for the upgrade and are sharing the title in your library.
Rather than use up my monthly credit buying the Outlander series on Audible.com, I am purchasing the Kindle books and upgrading to audio. It’s also a lot cheaper to do it this way. The bundle of all 8 Outlander books is currently available for about forty US dollars on Amazon. The audio upgrades cost less than four dollars each. I bought and upgraded the second book in the series for about nine dollars, and I can share it with my spouse, when she is ready to read it.
Please leave me comments or questions if you have them. I love to talk about books and electronic reading!