How to Make an iPhone Read a Kindle Book

I had a problem. I loved ‘reading’ audiobooks, but some books, for whatever reason, don’t make it to audiobook form. So, how to circumvent that issue? Well, there is a way.

You pay someone to sit next to you and read the book to you.

BUT, if you can’t afford THAT… there is ANOTHER way…

Your iPhone can read to you! And it can be done in 5 easy steps.

  1. Open Settings –> General –> Accessibility –> VoiceOver. Slide the Speaking Rate slider in the middle between the tortoise and the hare. (Start in the middle and come back and adjust as needed later). Do NOT turn on VoiceOver (yet). Click the back arrow in the upper left of the screen to go back to the Accessibility menu.
  2. Scroll down and open Accessibility Shortcut. Make sure that VoiceOver is checked. This allows you to turn on/off VoiceOver with a Triple Click of the Home button.
  3. Now, open your Kindle App and select the book you would like to read.
  4. Triple Click the Home button to turn on VoiceOver. You will hear Siri say, “VoiceOver on” If you don’t, that means your volume is probably turned down low.
  5. Now, your iPhone is ready to read to you. How you navigate through the Kindle App with VoiceOver on is not immediately intuitive. That is why you don’t want to turn on VoiceOver in step 1. To get Siri to read you the book, simply click on the book and swipe 2 fingers down on the screen. This provides you continuous reading. It will “turn the page” for you and read it aloud. A two finger press on the screen gets the continuous reading to stop.

Voila! There you have it. Now your iPhone can read to you any Kindle Book. Now, let’s be realistic, it’s not a GREAT listening experience. It’s not David Attenborough reading to you, but you do adjust to it.

A few tips:

  • Get used to the interface with VoiceOver. Basically, you press on what you want selected to highlight it and then double-press on it to select it.
  • You cannot shut off the screen, since it will not read passively to you. You must have the screen on, so mind your battery
  • Any email/iMessage/notification alert will interrupt VoiceOver. It gets annoying, so sometimes I turn on airplane mode to read uninterrupted.
  • If you have to navigate away from Kindle, I highly encourage you to triple-click the home button first, unless you will find yourself maddeningly frustrated trying to click on something intuitively.
  • If you happen to get a phone call from your wife telling you “Don’t forget to blow the leaves off the patio too!” while you are reading an audiobook, again the first thing to do would be to turn VoiceOver off, instead of trying to figure out HOW DO I JUST PICK UP THIS PHONE CALL?? Just calmly triple-click the home button and then everything is the same as you’re used to.
  • Heads Up: VoiceOver does not distinguish between headings and chapters titles with no punctuation at the end of it. So, unless there is a period or comma at the end of a line, it will mishmash all of those words together. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! =D