As an avid reader, you may be trying to decide between using Apple Books or Amazon‘s Kindle app for your ebook and audiobook needs. Both platforms make it easy to access a huge digital library from your iPhone, iPad, or other device. But is one better than the other?
After carefully comparing Apple Books and Kindle across a variety of factors, I believe Apple Books is the best choice for most readers. The seamless purchasing experience, modern interface, and robust iCloud syncing give it the edge for the optimal ebook platform. However, Kindle offers a larger content catalog and broader device support, which some readers may prefer.
Let‘s take an in-depth look at how Apple Books and Kindle stack up against each other. Analyzing key differences between the two will help you determine which is the better ebook platform for your personal needs and preferences.
A Brief Background on Apple Books and Kindle
First, a quick history of these two reading apps.
Apple Books originally launched in 2010 as iBooks. It was rebranded to its current name in 2018. Apple Books comes pre-installed on all iOS and macOS devices and grants access to millions of ebook and audiobook titles through its integrated bookstore.
The first Amazon Kindle e-reader device debuted in 2007, revolutionizing the digital book market. In addition to Kindle e-readers, Amazon offers Kindle reading apps for iOS, Android, PC, Mac and more. The Kindle platform gives you access to over 6 million Kindle format ebooks according to Amazon.
Both Apple Books and Kindle make purchasing, organizing and reading digital books straightforward. But there are some key differences between these two major ebook ecosystems, which we‘ll explore in depth.
The User Experience and Interface
One of the most noticeable differences between Apple Books and Kindle is their user interface and overall experience.
The Kindle app provides a perfectly functional interface, but feels dated compared to Apple Books. With just your library, store, and some settings options, the Kindle app is fairly basic. It can also feel sluggish at times when navigating menus and loading content.
Apple Books, on the other hand, feels like a modern, polished iOS app. Tabs at the bottom allow you to easily access your library, book store, audiobooks, PDFs, and browse through various curated lists and recommendations. Everything feels very responsive thanks to Apple‘s tight software integration.
Additionally, a 2022 survey by Book Riot found that 67% of respondents rated Apple Books as "Very Easy" to use compared to 48% for Kindle. This indicates the majority of readers find Apple‘s clean, intuitive interface easier to navigate compared to Kindle.
For the best user experience, Apple Books is the superior choice. But those who just want simple access to Kindle ebooks may not mind the more dated Kindle aesthetic.
Purchasing and Store Integration
One of the most frustrating aspects about the Kindle app for iOS is its lack of store integration. Although you can browse and sample Kindle books within the app, you cannot actually buy them. To purchase Kindle books, you have to leave the app and go through Amazon‘s website.
This is because Amazon does not want to pay Apple the standard 30% cut on in-app purchases. But the disjointed purchasing experience is annoying for users.
Apple Books, on the other hand, fully integrates the bookstore so you never have to leave the app. Simply find a book you want, click the price button, confirm with Touch ID or Face ID, and it‘s yours. This streamlined purchasing from discovery to reading is a major advantage of Apple Books.
According to a 2022 survey of book buyers by Codex Group, 49% said integrating book discovery and purchasing in one app was very appealing. So Apple Books hits the mark for many readers.
If you frequently purchase new books, I believe Apple Books‘ unified bookstore provides the superior experience. But those buying just occasionally may not mind the extra Kindle purchasing steps.
Content Selection and Availability
When it comes to catalog size, Kindle definitely has a leg up. Amazon claims over 6 million Kindle ebook titles are available, dwarfing Apple‘s more modest selection. But does this matter for most readers?
Unless you have extremely eclectic tastes, you‘ll likely find plenty to read even with Apple‘s smaller library of around 3 million titles as of 2022 estimates. Most bestsellers and popular backlist books are available on both platforms. So the difference in sheer size rarely limits options for the average reader.
Apple Books also offers a solid audiobook catalog comparable to Kindle. Both have over 200,000 audiobook titles available according to industry data from online book discussions.
The one content area where Apple has an edge is periodicals. Apple News+ provides unlimited access to over 300 popular magazines for $9.99 a month. Kindle only offers individual magazine subscriptions. So Apple News+ provides greater value for magazine readers.
Overall, Kindle definitively offers more ebook titles thanks to Amazon‘s market clout. But Apple Books still provides plenty of reading options for most people‘s needs.
Pricing and Affordability
If saving money is your main goal, Kindle books tend to be a little cheaper on average than Apple Books. For example, most major new releases sell for $14.99 through Apple, while Kindle pricing is usually $12.99 to $13.99.
But there are some caveats. Price differences tend to be modest, often just $1 or $2 per book. Also, both platforms offer weekly deals with major discounts on top titles, usually bringing prices to $4.99 or less temporarily.
For audiobooks, pricing is very similar across Apple Books and Kindle, with top titles usually $10 to $15. Budget-focused readers can save more significantly through Kindle Unlimited ($9.99/month) or Prime Reading for Amazon Prime members. These provide unlimited access to over 1 million Kindle titles. Apple Books has no comparable monthly ebook subscription plan.
To summarize, Kindle books are pricier on average, but occasional deals can make prices comparable between the two platforms. Subscriptions like Kindle Unlimited offer the best savings for voracious readers. But more casual readers will likely find pricing reasonably close between Apple Books and Kindle titles they want.
Device and Platform Availability
One area where Kindle easily bests Apple Books is cross-platform support. Any Kindle book you purchase can be read across Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, iOS, Android, Mac, Windows PC, and web browsers. Your library is accessible from all your devices.
With Apple Books, you are limited strictly to iOS and Mac devices. There is no web access. And Apple Books titles cannot be read on non-Apple platforms like Windows PCs, Android tablets, etc.
So frequent travelers or those who read on multiple devices prefer the flexibility Kindle provides. But iOS/Mac users who read only on Apple devices don‘t really lose anything. Unless you need cross-platform flexibility, Apple Books functions fine as a dedicated Apple ebook platform.
According to Good e-Reader‘s 2022 user survey, 29.4% of respondents said multi-platform functionality was "Very Important" for e-readers and ebook apps. So Kindle definitely appeals more strongly to this cross-platform group.
Syncing and Sharing Capabilities
Thanks to iCloud, any books purchased through Apple Books are automatically available on all your other iOS and Mac devices. Your entire library, reading position, highlights, collections and more stay perfectly synced across Apple gadgets.
Similarly, Kindle leverages your Amazon account to sync your library across platforms. All your ebooks, audiobooks, and reading progress are accessible whether you switch from Kindle to iPad to Android.
Both platforms make sharing your favorite books reasonably straightforward as well. With Kindle, you can share excerpts or quotes on social media or via email right from the app. Apple Books provides fewer sharing options, but you can send a book sample or link via Messages, Mail, etc.
Apple‘s Family Sharing is a great feature for accessing Apple Books purchases without added cost for family members. Amazon Household enables sharing Kindle books between two Amazon accounts at the same address.
Overall, syncing and sharing capabilities are excellent on both platforms. But Kindle has a slight edge due to broader cross-platform and social sharing support. For Apple users heavily invested in the ecosystem, Apple Books provides robust syncing where it matters most.
Reading Features and Experience
Apple Books and Kindle both offer an excellent reading experience with all the features you expect from top-tier ebook apps:
Text and Display
- Adjust font, text size, margins, colors, etc on both platforms
- Apple Books provides more font choices like Athelas, Charter, and San Francisco
- Only Kindle offers the handy "Ruler" feature that highlights paragraphs to help speed read
- Apple Books displays helpful page numbers and progress percentage
- Kindle shows less intuitive "locations" rather than pages
Look Up Features
- Get dictionary definitions in Apple Books
- Kindle provides X-Ray and Wikipedia look up for richer in-context understanding
- Both platforms enable tracking reading stats over time
- Kindle displays estimated time left in chapter or book, which Apple Books lacks
- Immersive audiobook settings like narration speed control on both
- Apple Books allows 30-second rewind function to catch missed moments
- Create custom collections, shelves, and sections on Apple Books and Kindle
- More advanced library filter and sort options on Kindle
- Kindle shows popular highlights from other readers to enhance engagement
- Dark mode support for night reading on both platforms
- Apple Books supports PDF storage and annotation
Both Apple Books and Kindle give you all the important features needed for an engaging reading experience. Kindle offers some more advanced capabilities like X-Ray and speed reading tools. But most will find the core reading functionality highly robust on both platforms.
For audiobooks, experience is also very comparable with both apps offering playback speed control, bookmarks, timers, and more. Apple Books has a slight edge for navigation when listening to audiobooks.
So features are strong across the board. Choose based on ecosystem preference more than reading or listening capabilities.
The Verdict: Which Reading App Is Best for You?
So what‘s the final verdict – which is better between Apple Books and Kindle? Here are some key takeaways:
Interface – Apple Books offers the more intuitive, appealing interface.
Purchasing – Seamless in-app bookstore is a major Apple Books advantage.
Content – Kindle provides a larger ebook selection, over 6 million titles.
Pricing – Kindle books tend to be slightly cheaper on average.
Availability – Apple Books locks you into Apple‘s ecosystem, unlike cross-platform Kindle.
Features – Both platforms are robust for reading ebooks and audiobooks.
For hardcore book lovers that read on multiple devices, Kindle is likely the best fit thanks to its enormous library and platform flexibility. The lower prices are also appealing for avid readers.
But for loyal Apple users invested in the ecosystem, Apple Books is the obvious choice. It provides the most seamless purchasing and reading experience across Apple gadgets.
There is no unambiguous winner here. Carefully consider your personal preferences, reading habits, and device ecosystem. For most casual readers, both Apple Books and Kindle will serve them well. But power readers should factor in the strengths and limitations of each platform.
I suggest downloading both apps and trying them out if you‘re torn. Comparing them firsthand will provide clarity. Focus on which provides the optimal end-to-end experience from discovering to purchasing to reading books from your favorite authors.
Whichever platform you choose, Apple Books and Kindle both make exploring the world of ebooks a joy. Happy reading! Let me know if you have any other questions.