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How to Set Up Amazon’s Family Library

·Tech Critic

There’s big news in the ebook world. For the first time, you can share your Amazon ebooks, audiobooks, and apps with other family members. (See How ‘Family Sharing’ Can Save You a Ton of Money on Apple and Amazon for an overview.) Here’s how to set it up.

Be warned: A lot of this gets more complicated than it should be — the setup, the restrictions, the relationships between accounts, and so on. If you value your money, though, it’s worth the slog.

For Amazon’s version of the instructions, click here; note, however, that Amazon’s help page doesn’t include any illustrations, and the wording of buttons is wrong in a few spots. For my version of the instructions, read on.

RELATED: How to Set Up Apple Family Sharing

To begin, open a Web browser (on a phone, tablet, or computer).

You can also set things up on a Kindle if it’s a recent model, like a recent Kindle Fire (model 6, 7, 8.9, HD, or HDX) or a recent Kindle reader (in the Help systems of the seventh-generation Kindle, Voyage, or Paperwhite second generation).

Here are the Web instructions:

1. Click here; sign in with your Amazon name and password. You arrive at the cheerfully named Manage Your Content and Devices page, which lists all the Kindle books you’ve ever bought.

Amazon's Manage Your Content and Devices page
Amazon's Manage Your Content and Devices page

2. Click Settings. Under the Households and Family Library heading, click Invite Adult. This box pops up:

Invite an adult to create an Amazon household page
Invite an adult to create an Amazon household page

3. Fill in your partner’s Amazon-account email address and password; click Verify Account. If that was the right name and password, you’re now asked if you’re sure you want to share your credit card info and Amazon purchases.

4. Click Yes. (If you click No, then the only thing you’ll be able to share is the ability to manage your children’s profiles.) Now that you’ve created the link, you have to specify which ebooks, apps, and audiobooks you want to share.

Manage Your Content and Devices page
Manage Your Content and Devices page

5. Click the categories of purchases you want to share in each direction, and then click Finish. These options automatically share all your books, audiobooks, or apps.

If you prefer to share only some of them, then return here. On the Your Content tab, turn on whatever items you want to share. You can select a maximum of 10 checkboxes at a time. Click Add to Library. (If you don’t see that button, then click the Show Family Library link first.)

Amazon Family Library setup screen
Amazon Family Library setup screen

Now Amazon asks which person you want to share these books with. You’ll see your fellow adult account holder’s name — and, if you’ve added some kid profiles, you’ll see their names, too.

Amazon Family Library setup screen
Amazon Family Library setup screen

That’s the whole procedure. Now, in your partner’s Kindle library (on a Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Android device, the Mac or Windows reading app, or the Amazon website), the stuff you shared appears on a tab called either Cloud or Archived Items, ready to download and read.

Amazon Family Library setup screen
Amazon Family Library setup screen

The complete list of reading apps and gadgets that work with Family Library is right here.

By the way: Don’t try to get clever. You can’t use the Family Library feature to let lots of different people read your books for free. If you delete your partner from the “household” you’ve set up (so that a new person can read your books, for example), then neither you nor your partner is allowed to join a Family Sharing arrangement again for six months.

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