I am overall a fan of Amazon and Kindle Edition books. But I don’t own a Kindle and I don’t like installing third party software on my PC, so I often use the Amazon Cloud Reader. But, there are two annoying problems that the Cloud Reader has without knowing the “secret” solutions: Linking directly to a book and copying text to the clipboard. This morning I figured out how to do both of these things.
How to Link Directly to a Book in Amazon Cloud Reader
I use Zotero as my de facto bookmarking system, and I wanted to be able to have all my e-books and papers fairly seamlessly available within Zotero. To do this, I needed to be able to link directly to a book in the cloud reader. (Note: while I use Zotero, what I’m about to describe works just as well from bookmarks, favorites, etc.)
The link to any book is simply in the form of https://read.amazon.com/?asin=[ASIN Number]
So what is an ASIN number and how do you find it? ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number, and all you need to do to find it, is to go to Amazon’s Web Page for a Kindle Version of a Book, and look for it under Product Details. So for example if you go to the Amazon Page for the free article “What is Data Science?” you will find that it’s ASIN is B007R8BHAK under Product Details. So to link directly to the book, you just need to go to https://read.amazon.com/?asin=B007R8BHAK
If you haven’t purchased the book (or it isn’t free), then you will get a preview of the book with an option to buy it, but if it is already been purchased by you (and you are signed in, etc.) then you will be taken to the full book and the position you were last reading inside the book.
Copying Text to the Clipboard from Amazon Cloud Reader
While the first “secret” really wasn’t that much of a secret, figuring out how to copy and paste from Amazon Cloud Reader proved to be more difficult to figure out how to do.
Now before I share how to copy text from Cloud Reader, I want to post a disclaimer first: I’m not sure how this works with the terms and conditions of Amazon, although copyright law does allow for copying under certain circumstances, like copying small bits or making a personal backup. And the normal Amazon Kindle E-Reader software allows limited copying and pasting, so I don’t think what I’m about to say runs too afoul of Amazon. But with that being said, you might want to do your own legal research before doing the following, and please don’t go pirating books, as that is the quickest way for Amazon to decide to stop this “feature” from working.
Ok, now that I gave you the disclaimer and plea to not pirate, all you have to do to get Cloud Reader to copy text to the clipboard (which apparently works in FireFox and Chrome) is to get the Amazon Cloud Reader Extensions, which I first learned of from this Blog Post.