By Jim Karpen on Wed, 03/04/2009
The big news today is that Amazon has released a free app for reading the 240,00 ebooks sold in its Kindle ebook store. Kindle for iPhone already had hundreds of reviews by mid-day, with most of them giving four or five stars. One of the nicest features is that when you buy a book, it remembers where you left off reading. You can start reading a book on a Kindle, then later when you're out and about, continue reading it on your iPhone. Some of the features include the ability to make the text larger. And unlike the Kindle, if the book is in color, the color version will appear on your iPhone (whereas the Kindle is limited to grayscale).
But there are lots of things that users would like to see added. First off, unlike the Kindle, which allows you to buy books directly, on the iPhone you have to use a browser to purchase your books. Also missing is the ability to search. Plus, you can only use the app to read books — no newspapers and magazines, which are also available on the Kindle. And one sore point for many readers is that there's no landscape mode.
CNet has a helpful article comparing the Kindle 2 with the Kindle for iPhone app.
So far I really like this app. The process of getting ebooks on your iPhone is nearly as seamless as getting content from the iTunes store. You can download first chapters of books for free, which is a great way to sample books and decide if you want to pay $10 and download the whole thing.
You simply go to the Kindle store on Amazon, purchase a book or download a sample chapter, and then the book downloads to your iPhone. You may need to tap the refresh button.