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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 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!

iPhone Kindle Application Updated

Today Amazon has released 1.1 update for the iPhone Kindle Application. There are several new features and they are all good:

  • Landscape reading is now supported. All you need to do is tilt your iPhone. If you don’t want orientation to change automatically – just tap the lock icon in the corner and autorotate will be off.
Kindle iPhone Landscape Reading

Kindle iPhone Landscape Reading

  • 3 different color schemes are now supported to make reading on iPhone’s back-lit screen a bit easier on the eyes: original black-on-white, white-on-black and sepia that looks like an old book
Kindle For iPhone Color Schemes

Kindle For iPhone Color Schemes

  • Images can now be zoomed and panned using iPhone’s multi-touch interface.
Kindle For iPhone Image Zoom

Kindle For iPhone Image Zoom

  • Amazon has launched iPhone-optimized version of Kindle Store and integrated it into the app so now journey from Kindle for iPhone to Amazon.com and back again is comfortable and streamlined. It starts with pressing “Get Books” button in application home screen and ends back in the application with the book already downloaded. The only problem I noticed is that buttons on the website were very slow to respond to my taps. Could be just quirks of my particular iPhone or Internet connection.
iPhone Kindle Store

iPhone Kindle Store

It looks like Amazon is taking eBooks on iPhone market quite seriously. They are also trying to lock in as many customers as possible while there are still relatively few eBook readers on the market.

If you already have the app installed – you just need to update it via the app store, if you don’t – you can install it there for Free.

Of course same application would also run on iPod Touch.