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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Kindle Books on Linux

As of recently it is possible to run Kindle for PC application via Wine on Linux. I tested it on 64-bit install of Ubuntu 10.10 and put together this step-by-step instructions and a short review. Enjoy!

  1. You will need to install Wine Windows Emulator 1.3.* or higher. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this version is still in the unstable branch and can’t be installed through default Ubuntu software repositories.  Fortunately, installing the “unstable” branch is quite easy and it is not that unstable. Just type this command in your terminal window and it will all happen automatically. You will only need to accept the EULA for true-type fonts.

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install wine1.3

  2. Navigate to “Kindle for PC” page in your favorite browser and download the installer.
  3. Start the installer via Wine either by right-clicking on the downloaded file or by changing the folder to downloads in the terminal and typing

    wine ./KindleForPC-installer.exe

  4. The app will install and prompt for registration just like it does on Windows.
  5. You can now enjoy your Kindle books on your Linux machine ;)

Kindle on Linux UbuntuOverall the app runs and works nicely but with minor quirks. Books download, you can read books, highlight passages and annotate. I couldn’t get dictionary lookup to work. On one of the two machines that I’ve tested the application refused to download dictionary claiming that it is not in my archived items and on the other it froze the entire virtual machine when it attempted the download (could have been a VM issue). But aside from this quirk you can totally read Kindle books on your Linux box. You can also use Google and Wikipedia for definition lookup.

Amazon Launches Kindle for the Web Beta

kindle for the web screenshot

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) recently launched a Kindle for the Web application that allows the reader to preview the first chapter of a book for free.  The application is currently in Beta stage.  If you like to try before you buy you might like the ability to just quickly access the application and preview the book.

Kindle for the Web also allows the reader to share book samples with friends on the web or through social networks.  I think that in order for this feature to be fully utilized, Amazon needs to release the whole book, but I’m sure this feature will come soon with the full release.  Kindle for PC and Mac already allow this option, but just don’t allow the computer to computer mobility that a web browser would.  Installation is required for the Kindle for PC and Mac software and is not for the Web application.

Over the past week I spent a lot of time reading my Kindle, and really enjoyed the break from the glare of the computer screen.  For pleasure reading I definitely think the Kindle itself still has a good foothold.  The Kindle for the Web application will be great for short term reading or to grab samples to share with friends.

After checking out the interface for the application, I was pleased to find that it includes a font enlargement selection, and that all of the navigation and menu options are intuitive and easy to use.

On another note, Amazon has already announced plans to create an application for the new Blackberry Playbook tablet projected to come out in early 2011.  It looks like the tablet market is finally beginning to heat up and competition for the iPad is on the horizon.  I’m sure Amazon will be well equipped to provide Kindle applications for any future devices.

Mangle: Manga Meets the Kindle

For anyone interested in manga, there is a free, open source software available called Mangle.  Manga is a series of Japanese cartoons or comics that cover all genres such as action, comedy, romance, sports, science fiction, fantasy and others.  Manga has become a huge hit in Japan and worldwide.  Usually the comics are printed in black and white, but there are a few color versions floating around.

Mangle was created by Alex Yatskov several years ago for the older generation version of the Kindle.  This software works really well with the Kindle 3.  Click here for downloading instructions, and for images of software demonstrations.

The Kindle 3’s improved screen makes graphics much easier to read.  Graphics have been a common complaint among Kindle users, but that seems to be improving.  You can zoom in or out and rotate the images as desired.  Manga pages in the physical books are small, but there are a lot of them.  More pages take up space, so transferring them to a digital format solves that issue.

The other cool thing about providing manga in a digital format is that it attracts an audience who might not like to read regular books.  Some people just enjoy reading a story through graphics rather than words.  It would be awesome if this option could be provided on all of the Kindle platforms: PC, Mac, Android, iPhone and iPad.  When I think about it though, the black and white aspect of manga might just be a better fit for the Kindle device itself.

There is a good selection of manga available in the Kindle Books section on Amazon.  A lot of them seem to be either in the romance or horror category.   Anyone know of any particularly good novels they would recommend?  I have been introduced to the world of manga, but would like to hear about what great titles are out there to check out.

Amazon Announces Update for Kindle for PC Application

kindle for pcA day after Amazon’s May 10 announcement regarding plans to offer Kindle for Android, Amazon announced updates for its Kindle for PC application.  The article from eWeek suggests that Amazon’s recent actions might be in response to increased competition from the iPad, Nook, Sony E-reader and others.

Kindle for PC’s new features include the ability to edit notes and marks, change background color, adjust screen brightness control and includes a full screen reading mode.  Amazon’s Whispersync technology transfers notes, bookmarks and “last pages read” between a PC, smartphone and the Kindle.  By adding these adjustments to the application, Amazon has made it much more user friendly.

Jay Marine, Director of Amazon Kindle wrote: “Kindle for PC lets customers enjoy more than 540,000 books in the Kindle Store even if they don’t yet have a Kindle, and it’s the perfect companion application for the millions of Kindle and Kindle DX owners.” Amazon seems to be heading into the predicted direction of gearing their market towards software, despite solid Kindle device sales.

Amazon also recently announced plans for a new update to the Kindle and Kindle DX called Version 2.5.  In this version, users will be allowed to share passages with friends on Facebook and Twitter.  It will also include Collections, which categorizes books and documents on the Kindle into different sections based on the subject, and Popular Highlights, a passage from a book or document that the Kindle community finds the most interesting.  Content sharing is “the big thing” right now.  It will be an interesting trend to watch in terms how how the Kindle will work with it.

Kindle for PC

Amazon Kindle for PC

Amazon Kindle for PC

Last week Amazon has released Kindle for PC application for Windows. This application was first unveiled last month on Windows 7 launch event. As the competition in eBook/eReader market heats up this holiday season this is a second major move by Amazon in an effort to increase it’s already large market share.

Kindle for PC makes full versions of all of the 300,000 Kindle books available for reading on any Windows PC. I’ve downloaded and installed the application on both my desktop computer and netbook. The application is still in beta version so there’s definitely room for improvement.

Download size is just 5.3 megabytes. Installation is fast and easy. On the first start you are prompted for your Amazon.com credentials and then you get access to all of the Kindle books that you’ve purchased before.

Kindle For PC automatically registers itself with Amazon.com website in the same section as iPhone applications. I’m not sure what are the limits. I currently have 5 Kindle devices, 1 iPhone app and 2 Kindle for PC applications registered to my account and there seems to be no problem.

Application interface is definitely optimized for touchscreen operation. No doubt about it. You can get around just by poking your finger. Unfortunately this is the only thing you can do. One of the biggest complaints of Kindle users is the lack of folders or any other means to organize the book collection on the device. However on hardware Kindles you can search though your collection. This functionality is not there in Kindle for PC so if you own a lot of digital books finding the one you need may be tricky.

On the upside you get larger screen and color. I’ve tested several books that have color pictures in paper version and Kindle versions had color in them as well. Obviously the refresh time is better than eInk. The screen is back-lit which can be good or bad depending on your personal preferences. Personally I prefer reading books from eInk screen as it feels more natural but on the other hand I spend 10+ hours per day in front of back-lit LCD screens at work and my eyes aren’t burnt out yet. Navigation within the book works the same way as on hardware Kindle.

Image quality is seems to be web-grade. At the moment there is no way to zoom images. This functionality is supposed to be released later via update. I tried downloading “The Digital Photography Book, Volume 1” that is marked as “Optimized for larger screens” (same a “Optimized for Kindle DX”) and the file is the same size on K2i, Kindle DX and Kindle for PC.

However dictionary lookup and search are not available. You can see notes and highlights you’ve made on your hardware Kindle but you can’t make new ones. You can bookmark pages. WhisperSync synchronizes last read location between all your Kindle devices so it’s easy to pick up reading where you left off.

Kindle for PC takes advantage of the new features of Microsoft’s latest Windows 7 operating system such as multi-touch and jumplists. Jumplists are context menus that a tied to applications and shortcuts in taskbar that allow you to “jump” to some frequently used application features. Kindle for PC jumplist contains the list of most recently read book so that you can open then with a single click. The application registers kindle:// browser protocol that allows links on Amazon.com website to open with it.

Obviously there is a lot that can be improved in the application before beta tag is removed. Amazon promises following improvements in the near future:

  • Create notes and highlights
  • Search
  • Zoom and rotate images

Here is Kindle for PC application pros and cons in a nutshell:

Pros:

  • Free. It enables you to get $9.99 eBooks on any Windows PC
  • Color. It’s better than black-and-white if the book is graphically intensive.
  • Touch-friendly user interface.

Cons:

  • No way to organize your digital library or search though it.
  • Highlights and notes are read-0nly (should be available soon via update)
  • No way to copy-paste book text.
  • No Mac version (should be available within a couple of months)

When I purchased my first Kindle I did it because I wanted to get certain information from a book that wasn’t available online “here and now”. While I don’t envision myself reading complete books on a PC, it certainly makes getting information from books “here and now” easier. It is also a great way for people unfamiliar with eBooks to try them out without having to invest in a dedicated reader device.

Kindle for PC Application coming soon

Today, during the Windows 7 launch event, Amazon and Microsoft demonstrated “Kindle For PC”, desktop eBook reader application that will run on Windows XP/Vista/7. This application allows anyone with a PC and Internet connection to shop in Amazon eBook store that currently has 360,000+ books. The software is free to download and offers all of the functionality of Amazon Kindle device minus slow eInk refresh rate and lack of color, plus all of the multi-touch coolness of Windows 7 (Microsoft’s latest operating system). It can download books, synchronize reading positions, notes and bookmarks. In one of the videos it looked like the cover was in color and of better image quality than what is sent to Kindle devices over Whispernet.

I wonder if magazine and newspaper subscriptions would be available…

Here are several hands on videos about the application:

As competition is heating up in the eReader/eBook market, Amazon and other companies are trying every possible way to stay competitive. I believe that Amazon could have released this app years ago. After all there is no rocket science in it – it’s just a eBook reader. Something that existed for years by companies such as Microsoft, Sony, B&N. However this didn’t happen. Partially because it was hard to convince publishers to put their valuable content on something as easily hackable as home PC, but mostly because there was little point to it. Computer screens are not meant for book reading. However this holiday season anything goes if it helps you stay competitive.

I don’t think that people would actually read a lot on this desktop app, even with modern tablets and netbooks. However the app will act as free advertising. People will download it, get a couple of books. They might like the concept of eBook and Amazon book store but not reading from the computer screen in particular. Some of them will end up buying a Kindle, especially since you can now get one as cheap as $149.00.

For me personally, I don’t see much use for PC eReader other than finding relevant data and I want to reference or quote quickly. It would be nice if the app supported at least limited amount of copy-paste (unlike the Sony app) but I wouldn’t bet on it.

The app is due to be released in November. Apple Mac OS version will follow several months later.

With eBooks finding their way from dedicated reading devices to multipurpose computers, the next logical step would be an online eBook reader. And I bet at least one company will come up with one in 2010.

Meanwhile this move is almost free for Amazon since desktop application doesn’t incur high cost of wireless access (users have to provide the Internet) which is substantial for Amazon. It also signifies an alliance between Amazon and Microsoft and it’s pretty obvious that they are allied against Google. Since Microsoft is trying to compete with Google in web search for years and Google is about enter eBook business.

BTW I’ve just installed Windows 7 myself and it does totally rock!