Are you in a relationship with someone who has their own Amazon account? Link your accounts together and share purchased Kindle ebooks, audiobooks, and apps. You can add up to four child profiles, too.

Many people have shared their Amazon accounts with their partners and children just to have the same ebooks everywhere. Thankfully, this is no longer necessary. This is especially helpful if you’re in a relationship with someone who’s bought their own Kindle books — now you really can combine your libraries, just like you could with physical books.

What You Need to Know

This system requires each adult have their own Amazon account. It allows you to join together two different “adult” accounts and four different “children” profiles into a single household. You can then access each other’s purchased Kindle books, audio books, and even Amazon App Store apps on Amazon’s Kindle eReaders, Kindle Fires, and a variety of Kindle apps for other devices. Each adult has their own settings — bookmarks, notes, annotations, furthest page read, and other data. It’s just like if you had purchased the book separately for each account, as long as your accounts stay combined in a virtual household.

Note that this doesn’t apply to purchased music, videos, magazines, newspapers, games, software downloads, and other types of content from elsewhere on Amazon. It only works with purchased books, audiobooks, and apps from the Amazon App Store.

When you set this up, both adults agree to allow the other adult access to each other’s payment methods. If you’re actually in a relationship with someone, this hopefully won’t be a big deal. On the other hand, this means you don’t want to set up Family Library with someone you don’t trust.

Set Up Family Library

You’ll find Family Library setup on the settings screens on modern Kindle eReaders and Kindle Fire devices. However, you can also set this up entirely online, even if you don’t have a Kindle eReader or Kindle Fire device.

To get started, head to the Manage Your Content and Devices page on Amazon’s website. Sign in with your Amazon account and click Settings. Under “Households and Family Library,” click the “Invite an Adult” button.

Amazon will ask the second adult to enter their information on your computer. Have your partner sit down at your computer and log into their Amazon account. Sure, it’d be easy for Amazon to send them a quick email and ask if they want to be invited, but Amazon wants to ensure you’re an actual household.

After your partner signs in, you’ll have to agree to share your payment methods. This is required to enable the Family Library feature — otherwise you can just manage “child profiles” on Amazon devices together.

After you agree, you’ll be able to share which types of content you want to share with each other. This also shares future purchased content of that type.

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You’ve now linked your two adult accounts together. If you like, you can create up to four child profiles. These allow you to share content with your children using Amazon’s “Kindle FreeTime” feature. Your children won’t need their own Amazon accounts. You can then share that purchased content with the child profiles as you see fit, no matter which adult purchased it.

Access Your Shared Books

Now it’s time to access that shared content. Amazon has a full list of devices and apps that can access this shared content. This includes modern Kindle eReaders and Kindle Fire devices, as well as Kindle apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows 8, Mac, and the web. However, this option may not be enabled by default, so you’re not done yet.

You’ll see shared content from your partner’s library under the same Manage Your Content and Devices page we looked at earlier. They’ll be tagged “Shared With You.”

To actually see this content on a device, you may need to click the Your Devices header here and select each device. Check the “Show [Partner Name]’s content” box under Family library for each. No, we’re not really sure why this isn’t enabled by default for each device. Your partner will have to do this for their devices on their own account, too.

With this option enabled, your purchased books and other content will appear under the Cloud or Archived section in any of the devices or apps you enabled it on. They’ll be mixed in with the other books you have available for purchase. You can download and read the book just like you would any other book.

Apple’s iCloud Family Sharing and Steam’s Family Sharing work similarly, allowing you to share digital content like you would physical media.

If you want to separate your accounts again, either of the adults can leave the household from the Households and Family Library settings. This will prevent either adult’s account from joining a household with another adult for 180 days — Amazon really doesn’t want people abusing this feature!

Image Credit: mobilyazilar on Flickr

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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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