If you’re an avid reader of books and an iPhone and iPod touch user, you owe it to yourself to download Amazon’s free Kindle reader for your iPhone.
The biggest advantage in my view in using the Kindle reader is that you can download sample chapters of a books from the site for free. Being able to preview the first few chapters of a downloaded e-book will helps with making decisions about possible purchases. It’s like sampling songs on iTunes or other music sites.
Kindle App vs. Kindle
Downloading sample copies of course requires that you set up a free account on Amazon. After downloading the Kindle Reader for iPhone from the iTunes Store you will find that the free e-reader does pretty much everything the the $259.00 Kindle version does. In fact, there are a few advantages of using the free Kindle app over the hardware Kindle.
First off, the Kindle app is more portable, because it is on your iPhone or Touch (I’m pretty sure there will soon be a Kindle for the Android.) The Kindle app is illuminated by the well lit screen of the iPhone, which makes it perfect for reading in low light settings. Lastly, I would say that the Kindle app is a little easier and faster to navigate. Its only shortcoming is that the screen size of the iPhone may be too small for reading at long stretches of time.
Downloading Free Samples
To get access to e-books on Amazon.com, you can visit the site’s Kindle Store, which of course is categorized by book genre and other other media, such as newspapers, magazines, and blogs. With your account set up , you click the “Send sample now” button to have your selected e-book sent to your registered mobile device. Books typically download in less than a minute.
Downloaded e-books to the Kindle app can be listed and viewed in three ways: by author, by title or by recently read or opened. If you’re an avid reader, the list can get pretty long, but you can always put e-books on your Amazon wishlist, for later review. You can click the Edit button to delete any books from your list. However, when you “delete” purchased e-books from from the reader, they get archived on a second page of the reader. All your books are maintained and can be re-downloaded from your Amazon account. So basically all your purchased books remain “in the cloud,” on Amazon’s server, which means you can re-download them anytime.
Reading E-books On The Kindle App
Clicking on an e-book in the list opens it up. You tap on the right side of the iPhone screen to move to the next page, and tap the left side to move to the previous page. “Page turning” on the iPhone Kindle is much smoother than the hardware Kindle.
You can set the font type and size of the text by clicking the bottom of the screen. The font settings are a part of a menu of three other items. The plus icon is used for bookmarking a page. When it’s clicked, the page will be dog-eared on the upper-right of the page. The book icon in the menu presents links to the book’s cover, table of content, the first page, and a tab for locating a particular page of a book.
You will also find in this area a list of the bookmarks, highlights and notes that you made while reading. The fourth item of the menu is a button that uses Whispersync technology for syncing data (last page read and annotations) to the hardware Kindle 2, if you use one. This feature will also be available for desktop versions of the Kindle e-reader.
If you read books for information rather than just for pleasure, the Kindle app provides a fairly easy to use highlighting and note-taking tools. In fact, because of the touch screen technology of the iPhone and touch, I find these annotations of the application more efficient to use than with the hardware Kindle.
Pressing down and holding your finger on a word in a page will give you two options, either to highlight a passage or make a note. You drag the blue pointers over the content that you want to highlight. If you drag the pointers too far, simply click outside of the blue area and start over. When you click the resulting highlight button, it will highlight your passage in yellow. Adding a note is done the same way as highlighting, except that when you click the note button, you will be presented with a text window for typing in your notes. Both your notes and your highlights can reviewed by clicking and bringing up the small menu described above.
Finally, with the last update of the Kindle app, you can now lock pages of your book into portrait or landscape position, which helps makes for reading e-books from different angles.
While there are some drawbacks to purchasing e-books, such as not being able to share your books with others, building an e-book library is more environmentally efficient than traditional paper books. The Kindle app can hold several hundred books, which makes archiving and accessing them a hundred times easier than managing bookshelves of hardback and paperbacks.
Are you a Kindle reader for iPhone user? What’s been your experience? Do you think e-books will eventually replace paper books?