Back in December, I wrote an MUO how-to article on Kindle for the iPhone, and for the most part the Kindle for the Mac is basically similar for the readers of the other two devices; however, the beta version of the desktop version has a few important missing features.
Kindle Reader for Mac is available for free download, but of course you need an Amazon account. Like with the Kindle e-reader and Kindle for the iPhone, you can download free, paid, and sample versions of e-books from the Kindle Store.
The user interface of the Kindle for the Mac is pretty simple and rudimentary. It contains basically three parts: the Home section which contains all your e-book downloads; the Archive section which holds any purchased e-books you have archived (note: you can only archive purchased and free e-books. You can’t archive sample versions) and lastly, there’s a section to view all your notes and annotations, but more about that shortly.
The Home section provides a thumbnail view of your downloaded e-books, which can be sorted by Most Recently Read, Title or Author. Unfortunately you can”˜t organize by genre category or publication date. Furthermore, the Kindle interface doesn’t compare well, design wise, with Apple”˜s iBooks. And unfortunately, you can’t search or shop for e-books in the reader itself. Clicking on the Shop in Kindle Store takes you to the Amazon website.
Reading pages of e-books is pretty straight forward. You turn pages by clicking back and forth rather than scrolling up and down as you do with most website pages. You can use the scroll wheel of your mouse, or use the keyboard’s arrow keys to turn pages of your e-book.
You can adjust font size as you do with the Kindle Reader and Kindle for the iPhone. However, there’s no night reading (black background and white fonts) feature as there are on the other two devices.
There’s also a control for navigating directly to the cover, table of contents and the specific page of an e-book. Kindle for the Mac also features the Whispersync technology that automatically synchronizes your bookmarks and reading location between devices registered to the same Amazon.com account.
You can also manually click the Sync button to download new items from your Amazon account or update the furthest page you have read if you’re further ahead on your other device of the Kindle reader.
A slew of keyboard shortcuts are listed here on Amazon.com’s help page.
Show Notes & Marks
I especially like the notes and marks feature because I like annotating non-fiction books that I read. Unfortunately, however, the current version of Kindle for the Mac does not allow for annotations, only bookmarking. It can only download existing annotations that you make in the two other devices. You also cannot save or print your notes, highlights or bookmarks. This is seriously odd, but I suspect an update for these features will be put into later versions.
In Living Color
Though the Kindle for the Mac may be lacking in a few areas, unlike using it in the other two devices, you can actually read books in full color on the Mac version. This is great for reading children’s books, cookbooks, travel books and textbooks.
Overall, it’s great to finally have the Kindle for the Mac if you’re a serious Kindle user. While reading books on a desktop or laptop computer may not be the most leisurely form of reading, it can be useful for say more technical reading related to research and computer technology. However, not being able to make annotations in the reader is a serious missing feature.
Finally, Amazon has also said that it will be making the Kindle reader available for the iPad, which may provide a wider selection of books and competitive prices in the e-book market for iPad users.
So what e-reader will you most likely use most as a Mac user? Let us know how the Kindle for the Mac looks on your iMac or MacBook.
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