Kindle iPhone/iPod Touch app

Last week when reviewing the Stanza iPhone/iPod Touch book reading app I had mentioned that I hoped that at some point Amazon would open up there store to sell their Kindle format books for hardware other than just the Kindle.  I was happily surprised to find out last night that they added a Kindle app to the iTunes app store for the iPhone/iPod Touch.

It is a free download from the iTunes apps store and once you get it you can open it on the iPhone/iPod Touch and enter your Amazon user name and account.  This is required before you attempt to buy a Kindle format book at Amazon since they need to have a registered device first.

As of now you can not buy books from the Amazon Kindle store directly via the Kindle app.  You can do this via Safari on the iPhone/iPod Touch – but the pages are not really formatted for the iPhone/iPod Touch.  The easiest way is on you main computer to go to the Amazon Kindle store and buy the book you want from there.  After you do the next time you open the Kindle app the book will be displayed.  If you already owned a Kindle all of the books you previously bought will be available.  In fact via what they call whispersync the books are synced as far as bookmarks go so that you could easily go from one device to another.  I expect in the future the Kindle app will allow you to browse books at Amazon just like the iTunes app.  Just like the Kindle you can also download the first chapter of any Kindle book for free.  That is pretty cool, though I don’t know if it is something I would ever do.  I maintain a large wish list in Bookpedia already without having to find new things to add.  Though it could come in handy.

As to the book reading experience itself.  Well as a reader the Kindle app has a ways to go.  I guess I have been experience by the good experience I had with the Stanza app.  As of now the Kindle app is portrait mode only and will not flip to landscape – which is my preference.  To change pages you simply swipe your finger on the page, which is easy enough.  Formatting options are very basic – you can only adjust text size and not text color or background.  So it is a basic reader. That being said it is still quite usable and if you are comfortable reading a book on the iPhone/iPod Touch it gets the job done.

I really hope that they put some effort in this app in the future to make it better and to give you some more options.

As I have written before Amazon has the clout to be able to get publisher provide their books in Kindle format and so we can expect many more books added to the quarter million available.  What Amazon really gets right is pricing, especially on new books.  Most new books are $9.99 which is much lower than the hardcover version.  That price makes me much more likely to buy a book when it comes out instead of waiting till it is in paperback format.  The pricing on older books is lower than paperbacks, but not to the same degree as the hardcover price difference.

I think this is a great move on Amazon’s part especially if they do the same for other smart phones such as the Blackberry.  Now I had already wanted to buy a Kindle 2.  But already having a library of Kindle books by buying them for the iPhone/iPod Touch will more than likely spur to get one even more.  The ability to share your books and bookmarks is great.  I don’t consider the Kindle all that portable in that it is not just something you can throw into you coat or back pocket.  I can easily see using the Kindle 2 a main reading machine, but when out and about and having some time for reading I can switch to my iPod Touch.  I really love to read and the ability to download a book when I want is perfect.

Now for Kindle owners who have newspaper or magazine subscriptions, these will not appear on the Kindle app.  For myself though I am not interested in newspaper/magazine subscriptions for the Kindle anyway since I get my news content from the web.