Kindle for iPhone/iPod touch

I bought the Kindle when it first came out but ended up selling it to my friend who read more books than I did and traveled far more often.  I discovered that I prefer to listen to books on my iPod rather than read them on paper or the Kindle.  My Kindle found a good home with Linda.  It’s been to Paris, all over the U.S. and Mexico, and its getting a lot more use.

However, when Amazon announced that it was releasing the free Kindle for iPhone today I jumped at the chance to try it on my iPod touch.  It took all of a minute to find, install and connect to my old Kindle library at Amazon.  There were a handful of books I bought, and a few Linda had bought while testing my Kindle, and it took much less than a minute to copy one to my touch to read.  Everything was completely simple, intuitive and perfect.  Reading is about like reading with my eReader program.

Kindle reading on the iPod touch is very nice.  The font sizing is adjustable, and the text is very sharp and dark.  The screen page real estate is much smaller than the Kindle, but not bad.  Both the Kindle and the touch have a narrow viewing area, which means the eyes have an easy time scanning back and forth.  With the Apple device you must page more often.  I’m happy enough.  Who knows, maybe I’ll start eyeball reading more often.

Since I sold the Kindle there have been times when I wished I still had one when browsing Amazon and seeing a book I wanted that’s much cheaper than a hard copy.  Especially for instant accessibility.  Although I prefer to listen to audio books, there are times when I have to read with my eyes.  I’m in two book clubs and often the monthly selections for discussion are not available on audio.  More often than not, they aren’t available for the Kindle either, but when ordering these old classic science fiction novels on Amazon, I keep seeing that notice that encourages authors to provide a Kindle edition.

Lucky for me Audible.com is actually reprinting tons of classic SF.  It’s strange waiting to see which high tech technology old science fiction will show up on first.  I’m currently listening to The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov after finishing an audio edition of The Green Hills of Earth by Heinlein.  But I considered it a bummer that Babel-17 by Delany was only available in a dead tree edition.

I especially prefer ebook reading when the book I want to read is large and heavy to hold, like The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited 4th edition, a biography of the great 1960s rock group by Johnny Rogan.  The damn tome is as big as War and Peace.  I have to fold a pillow in my lap to hold it up.  An ebook version to read would be wonderful.

The Kindle for iPhone app is a killer idea from Amazon.  No, they won’t sell another Kindle 2.0 for each new user, but they will get more converts to ebook reading.  Plus, if you’re a Kindle user who wants to read in bed without a nightlight, just load your book on an iPhone/touch.

There is no ordering books from Amazon through the Apple device, unless you use the tiny Safari.  What Amazon expects you to do is shop while on your big computer.  Books you buy for your Kindle library will show up on the little device and are easily transferred.  I hope they make Kindle readers for desktops, laptops, netbooks, notebooks, PDAs and smart phones.  I also hope Amazon license’s the software technology so other ebook makers can join the Kindle revolution.

Sadly, there seems to be no feature for reading on your Kindle for iPhone app the kinds of documents (.doc, .pdf) that you can send to your real Kindle.  I only see books that I bought at Amazon and archived in my Kindle library.   I was able to send books I bought for my Fictionwise.com library to my old Kindle, but I can’t do that now.  I can get those Fictionwise books through my eReader.

Who knows, I might learn to like reading again and buy another Kindle.  I was mighty tempted by that text to speech feature.

JWH – 3/4/9