Being the voracious reader that I am, a library was always a small hillock to conquer. Thanks to the eBook revolution that has swept over us now, we now have peaks to scale. One of them just happens to go by the name of a jungle – Amazon. Or to be more specific, the Kindle Store. The Kindle Store is heaven sent for us bookworms. I am not even talking about paying a dime here because there are absolutely legal ways to download free books from the Kindle Store.
Did you know that there are more than 50 websites that tell you all about the availability of free books on Kindle? From the known Project Gutenberg to the well recommended Hundred Zeros and Pixel of Ink. Then there’s the horse’s mouth too which tells you all about the Top 100 free books on Kindle. Subscribe to their feeds to stay in the know.
But I don’t want to buy a Kindle
You don’t have to. It’s Christmas and someone might gift you one. I am kidding, because with the range of free reading apps from Kindle, you don’t really have to make anyone plonk down $100 or more. The free Kindle reading apps cover the gamut – from smartphones and computers to tablets. My friend Ryan should you how to use the Kindle Cloud Reader which is entirely on the browser. Just a few months back, Yaara gave you a quick peek into ways to enjoy books without an eReader. She hinted at the Kindle desktop app for Windows and Mac. It’s the free Kindle reading app for Windows (available for both 7 and 8) that I will be looking at here.
Get started with a free Amazon account
After quickly installing the 32 MB sized download package, all you need is register the eReader with your Amazon account. Even if you don’t have one, you can create a new one straight from the first screen.
In a flash, Kindle for PC will sync all your purchased or freely downloaded books. You may use any Kindle reading app across the devices you own; your books and collections are all kept synchronized. Amazon Kindle uses Whispersync technology to automatically sync your books across apps and this gives you a seamless reading experience as you jump from the Kindle reader to the PC or to the Android smartphone.
Reading with Kindle for PC
Kindle for PC mirrors most of the features you will find on any other version of the Kindle. On first use you may have to download the books and other elements like the dictionary, but it all happens in a jiffy. If you have loads of books, it’s always better to arrange them in collections. As you can see in the screen below, organizing collections is a simple matter of right clicking the book thumbnail and creating a new collection or adding to an existing one.
You can jump to a bookmarked page, or a specific location from the options on the right-click menu. The right-click menu also gives you the shortcut to view any notes you might have saved for reference. Remember, all bookmarks, annotations, and notes are also synced across all your installs of Kindle thanks to Whispersync. The last page read is automatically saved and synced. You can also refer to the page numbers that correspond to a book’s print edition page numbers to easily cite passages.
Adding highlights and notes is something we usually do during the course of our reading. It’s very smooth – click on a passage to add highlights, and also if you wish to append a note.
All you notes, highlights, and also bookmarks are viewable on the left pane. A note icon is also visible on the text body which you can click to expand the note.
A right-click on a relevant work can also bring up the dictionary meaning, and a few other tools like a link to Shelfari and reference information on the book. It could include extras like character sketches, quotes, Dewey classification, reading level of the book and other supplemental material. You can also use the Wikipedia link to get a quick page of information.
These extra tools do not interrupt your flow and help to give you more context around your reading.
Personalize your book
The Kindle App for PC allows you to personalize your reading experience. For instance, I generally prefer to read my books in the full-screen view. Sometimes I switch on multi-column to do a bit of speed reading or if the material really demands it.
The Options window allows for a few customizations as you can see in the screenshot. What’s always nice to play around with are the three color modes available.
You can’t cuddle up with a book but…
You can do so much more apart from cuddling up under the blanket with a good book. The Kindle for PC application gives you an unified interface for all your books. If you are nitpicky, you can arrange them in collections and use notes to record useful information. Best of all, it is synced across all your devices, so reading a book on your Android wouldn’t require you to thumb through the last read page. Kindle for PC has found a place on our Best Windows Software page. Has it, or will it find a place on your PC?