Kindle for iPhone: Available Now

image Available now on your nearest iPhone (and if you don’t have one, just grab someone’s. They won’t mind. Really.): Kindle for iPhone. For the time being it’s a free app from the App Store, and it uses your existing account with Amazon to download books.

The Kindle for iPhone app will allow you to download the books you already own and reread. And with the Whispersync feature, you can switch back and forth between your Kindle and your Kindle for iPhone, and each will keep track of where you’ve stopped reading.

My first impression is that this is one of the first examples of practical application of reading ebooks on multiple devices. For example, if someone were to start a book on the train ride into work, then go to a meeting that was maybe, perhaps, a little boring, she could read a bit on the iPhone, then switch back to the Kindle for the train ride home. Spiffy!

I just downloaded the app to my phone while I booted up the computer, and already, my purchased books that I “archived” – aka moved off the Kindle for storage at Amazon – are available. It doesn’t seem to have all of the files I’ve emailed to the Kindle, so I have to figure out how to make that work together.

You do have to ask the iPhone/Kindle and Kindle II to sync your location. The progress of your reading isn’t automatically tracked, it seems. The page turning is a slide from right to left, and as usual seems to take a healthy bite out of the battery life.

According to the CNET review, you can’t buy titles from within the app – hur?! – and instead have to use the browser to navigate to Amazon.com and purchase the Kindle edition. Only then will it be among your “archived books.” Moreover, no newspapers or magazines, folks. Which, also, “Hur?!” CNET writer Nicole Lee also mentions a flaw in the seductive possibility of color images for ebook reading: comics. Alas, the zoom, you cannot has it on the iPhone for Kindle.

I am floored by the options I have in terms of ebook readers plus auxiliary options, from Sony plus Calibre to Kindle II plus iPhone for Kindle, or Stanza as a Standz alone app for all-around ebook reading (and if that’s your option, I hope you can generate your own electricity to recharge the battery because it’s a slurper).

The iPhone/Kindle connection, though, does seem to demonstrate an acknowledgment (thank you!) that people who read ebooks do not just read them on one device, and might like having the option to switch from one to the other. As Barb Ferrer says, this makes my Jesus Vs. Spiderman evaluation of the Kindle/Sony options a little more tricky. With this many options, I might have to call it Jesus vs. Spiderman vs. Santa vs. the Alien.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Sara Rosso says:

    Sarah, I think it’s worth mentioning there’s no word for DRM-Mobipocket files on the iPhone since Amazon owns Mobipocket – so are they killing the .prc format in favor of the Kindle one?

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    Very good question. And I don’t have the ability right now to try to convert a .prc to a .mobi, then send it to the Kindle, then “Archive” it and try to download to the iPhone. It seems from my experiments that the content available is only what you purchase from Amazon. Since I email files to the Kindle to read, that it not optimal for my usage at all. Since I read a lot of .doc files, as well as PDF files, things that are email-converted are as important to me to access as the things I buy from Amazon.

    But in terms of driving sales, Amazon continues to streamline the process such that anyone who wants to dip their bifocals in the deep water of ebooks will have an easy point-of-access when looking at the Kindle and the iPhone for Kindle app. Buy a book from Amazon in Kindle format. Look at it everywhere you want on a choice of two devices. For folks who don’t want to do the funky chicken to convert and manage their files, and merely want ease of reading, this is rather spiffy.

    My question is, do people who are drawn to ebooks already possess a technical curiosity and faculties such that they WOULD want complete file management control and would want to shop and compare prices and read on the iPhone books and reading materials from a variety of sources? Is the ideal Amazon customer real, or are ebook readers already tech-savvy enough to question the monolithic approach to ebooks that Amazon has implemented? Just because I can envision Amazon’s target consumer/reader, in other words, doesn’t mean that the reader exists in reality.

  3. 3
    Teresa says:

    As far as the newspaper/magazine availability, I’ll bet that changes soon.

    I happen to live in one of the few “whispernet” free zones. We just don’t have Sprint service in Montana (actually don’t have ATT either, so no iPhone for me). I have to download everything to my computer and transfer to the Kindle. For the first few months I had my Kindle, Amazon did not make newspapers and magazines available that way. Now, I can download newspapers and magazines through my computer. I expect consumer demand made them change.

    Of course, I don’t download many newspapers and magazines that way. The main reason I don’t is that I miss the pictures. Of course, the iPhone could display pictures nicely . . .

  4. 4
    Meezergrrrl says:

    Woo Hoo!!! I’m all over this one. I love my iPod Touch. I’ve been on the fence about a Kindle for quite some time now.  This may be the chocolate peanut butter combo I’ve been looking for…

  5. 5
    SB Sarah says:

    Teresa: If you don’t mind my asking, is the Sprint absence all over Montana? Or just where you are?

    The iPhone does display pictures, but according to the CNET review, they aren’t as zoom-able as other images one usually encounters.

  6. 6
    Coco says:

    I think I already know the answer to this but, out of some absurd hope, this wouldn’t be applicable to the UK too would it?

  7. 7
    Bonnie says:

    This is so cool!  But, when I try to register, I get “No Internet
    Connection”.  WTF???

    Anybody?

  8. 8

    Ooo. I think I just felt the odds of my getting an iPhone going up.

  9. 9
    Bonnie says:

    God, I am lame.  But I figured it out. 

    This is the best thing ever!!

  10. 10
    Teresa says:

    As far as I know there is no Sprint access in Montana. I think somewhere in the FAQ for Kindle it says something along the lines of Sprint is available nearly everywhere except for Montana.

  11. 11
    Sara Rosso says:

    @Sarah you should definitely write another post on that: Is the ideal Amazon customer real, or are ebook readers already tech-savvy enough to question the monolithic approach to ebooks that Amazon has implemented?

    I think Amazon is hoping to get enough people on the “convenience” factor that they don’t start questioning : and what if (Sony/Apple/etc) comes out with a better device? Then what about my library? What about authors/pubs that don’t have license agreements with Kindle?

    I have almost 200 eReader books that I can read on my iTouch, 47 Mobipocket books I can’t read anywhere but the PC (thx Amazon), and 2 Microsoft Lit that I am trying to forget.

    Then there’s the international question: I’m buying books from Italy since I’m American, but what about the rest of the world? Is Amazon going to force their format and then try to control international electronic book formatting and release?

    /rant. Sorry :) I’d love to start mobilizing us romance readers about this. I do believe we have some power.

  12. 12
    Erica says:

    Sarah thanks for this.  Considering that I left my Kindle at the office last night, and was in the middle of reading “His Lady Mistress”, this would have been a great help to me.  At least until I got my Kindle back.

  13. 13
    Miri says:

    Oh it’s awesome!
    loading the app- no problem
    buying a book- no problem
    reading the book- it’s has zoomable text-yay!
    Plus you can still read your book when airplane mode is on, very good news as i’m going on an epic flight to Europe this summer and plan to stockup on reading before.  No bulky/heavy books just my little iphone. and as many books and episodes of Dead Like Me as I can cram in! Woot!

  14. 14

    Very cool, indeed.
    I’ve DL’d and sampled it for myself. Interesting. :)

  15. 15
    Sandia says:

    I just downloaded it and now I’m playing around with the sync function between my Kindle and phone.  I love it.

    I am a lazy tech user, the more streamlined the content provider makes it for me, the more likely I’ll continue to use it.  I really love the way it’s so easy for me to purchase content for the Kindle – now iPhone.  I don’t mind about the DRM at all.

  16. 16
    Shanna says:

    I was disappointed that you can’t use the Amazon iPhone app to buy kindle books. I do appreciate having another option for buying ebooks though.

  17. 17
    Suze says:

    This very topic is mentioned (in passing) in a column about an article at Publisher’s Weekly, in which:

    Thomas Nelson announced today the launch of NelsonFree, a program that allows readers to receive content in multiple formats—physical book, audiobook and e-book—without making multiple purchases. With NelsonFree, the price of the hardcover book includes both the audio download and the e-book.

    Maybe it’s because I’m low on blood sugar, but I’m thinking BOOYAH!  We’re on the right track!

  18. 18
    ev says:

    Is the ideal Amazon customer real, or are ebook readers already tech-savvy enough to question the monolithic approach to ebooks that Amazon has implemented?

    moi? snort.

  19. 19
    ev says:

    Does the app work if you don’t own a kindle?

  20. 20
    Bonnie says:

    Does the app work if you don’t own a kindle?

    Yep.

  21. 21
    ev says:

    Does the app work if you don’t own a kindle?
    Yep.

    Oh great something else to dl and update before I leave on the trip. argh.

  22. 22

    Now what I want is a Mobipocket app for the iPhone/iTouch.  I buy Mobipocket ebooks for my little PDA reader, but can’t transfer them to my daughter’s iTouch.

    I don’t want to buy a big ereader like the Sony or Kindle, but I am tempted by an iTouch.  But not if I have to re-buy all my books, gah!

    So if now you can read Kindle books on the iPhone surely a Mobipocket iPhone app can’t be far away?  Surely?

  23. 23
    Rebecca says:

    I looked for this app last night, thinking “well, maybe it’ll be available on iTunes in Canada, even though we can’t get Kindles, as a way of introducing it to the market.”  Nope.  Not available outside the US.

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