iPhone App: Kindle
= 5 stars
Kindle for iPhone makes Amazon’s eBook Kindle content available for reading on the iPhone. 240,000 books are currently available for purchase.
- I found the set up very straightforward. You download the free app to your iPhone, enter your Amazon account info, and then purchase / manage content through the Amazon website. Access to content is then handled on the iPhone through Amazon’s “Whispernet” service. I find the analogy similar to my experience with the Netflix / Roku box, where content management is done in a web browser.
- Text is surprisingly decent to read, even on the iPhone’s small screen (I’m already used to reading websites with much smaller text). A finger swipe left or right turns the page. Content can contain hyperlinks. The simplicity allows space to concentrate on the text and get right into reading.
- Tapping the screen calls up some basic options: font size, adding bookmarks which are then accessed via the open book icon, and a slider to quickly scroll through pages.
- The iPhone has a color screen as opposed to the Kindle’s greyscale. I assume any pictures will appear in full color – at least, the sample cover of the book I downloaded was in color.
- The small size of the iPhone screen might prove prohibitive for some.
- Newspapers and magazines available on the Kindle aren’t currently available for the iPhone. This is a big disappointment, as I’d love to read some newspapers on my morning commute, and believe newspapers on the iPhone could be a whole new revenue stream for that beleaguered industry.
- No landscape mode or choice of fonts.
I’m impressed by Kindle for the iPhone. In one move, they have just added millions of iPhone users to their Kindle user base to which they can now turn to publishers and use as justification for more Kindle content.
There will surely be some complaints from Kindle lovers that this Kindle app will cannibalize purchasers of Kindle devices proper. I’m not in this category. I haven’t been interested in the Kindle hardware (too expensive at $350). But through this app, I’ve already purchased content from Amazon that I wouldn’t have just a few days ago. And if in the future Amazon releases a Kindle “3″ that is even more compelling / cheaper, all the content I have read on the iPhone can be transferred to that device. So I see this Kindle app as basically a taster / demo of the Kindle concept, and should be a big positive. Even if people don’t buy a Kindle proper, they’ll make money off content sales.
Just as Netflix developed Watch Instantly to get people off of physical DVDs and into content delivered over the Internet, Amazon is making similar moves to prepare for a world where we don’t only have physical books but instead digital ones. This future seems inevitable, but it’s up in the air exactly which companies will be the gatekeepers. This Kindle app is yet another statement by Amazon that it wants to be there in a big way.
iTunes App Store Link: