Like a secret agent sneaking stealthily behind enemy lines and executing a successful sting operation, eBooks have found their way into the hands of consumers thus hijacking the position formally held by the printed word. Twenty-first century technology such as the iPhone, the iPod, the Kindle, and the new iPad has made it possible for users to have their library everywhere they go.
While there are many eBook readers available on the market, Amazon’s Kindle has become a forerunner in the new electronic reading market. The current model retails for $259USD. eBooks for the Kindle from Amazon average for $9.99USD. Books can be purchased via the Kindle online store on the Kindle device itself or from Amazon.com via a browser.
For the iPhone and iPod Too!
Now, Amazon, in an amazingly clever move, has made the Kindle software available to iPhone and iPod Touch users via the Kindle app available at the Apple online App Store within iTunes. And the best part is the Kindle app is absolutely free! So you can begin to buy and enjoy Kindle eBooks from Amazon without purchasing any additional hardware.
And it is simple to use as well. Once you have downloaded the app, launch it on your iPhone or iPod Touch (henceforth in this article I will use the term “iPhone” to refer to both of these devices since the app functions the same on both). The first thing that must take place is it must be registered with your Amazon account. Simply enter your Amazon-registered email address and also the associated password. Now any eBooks you purchase from the Kindle store from the Amazon website will be automatically sent to your iPhone’s Kindle app. And when you purchase books on your iPhone they will be recorded in your Amazon media library.
A Few of the Features
The simplicity of the Kindle app is exactly what you would expect from a world iPhone app. All of the features are in plain view, easily accessible and, above all, useful.
The main screen of the Kindle app displays a list of eBooks that have been purchased and synchronized with Kindle. These titles can be sorted in one of three ways using three buttons across the bottom of the screen: Recent (the most recently read title), Title (alphabetized by title), or Author (alphabetized by author). Along the top of the main screen are the Edit and Get Books buttons. Edit allows the user to remove works from the device (keep in mind that titles that are removed still remain in your Amazon Kindle library and can be re-added at any time; you do not lose ownership simply by removing them from the device). Get Books launches the mobile Kindle store within your iPhone’s safari browser where searching and purchasing can be done. The bottom of the main screen consists of a refresh button which synchronizes Kindle and the “information” button where you can register/de-register your iPhone.
Once you select a title, the text is displayed in a nondescript form with simple text on a plain background. To “turn the page” just swipe your finger across the iPhone’s screen from right to left (just as if turning the page of a physical book). To go back, swipe your finger from left to right. It is terribly intuitive.
A slider at the very bottom of the reading screen allows you to “scrub” through the book and stop at any page along the way or skip to the very end (though why would you do that?). There is also a “book” icon that allows you to view the cover, table of contents, beginning of the book, or to type in a specific page location.
Two alpha characters make up the icon that allows the user to control how the text of the eBook appears. Make the text larger or smaller or invert the white/black color scheme or even change the background to sepia. Whatever is best for your eyes!
And of course any time you quit reading and later go back to the same title, Kindle will bring you right back to the page you left off with so you can continue reading.
It is possible to share titles you own with your friends or family who also have Kindle for iPhone or a Kindle device.
First you must register both devices with the same Amazon account (using the same email and password). They are now both linked to the same account.
Now log in to you that same Amazon account via a browser and select “Your Account” from the top right of the Amazon screen. Scroll down to the Digital Content section and select “Manage Your Kindle.” Scroll to the bottom to “Your Orders.” You will see a list of all eBooks you have purchased. For any given title there is a drop down menu that allows you to select any Kindle-enabled device registered with your account.
Once you have selected the device you want to send the title to, then go launch Kindle on that device and click the refresh button at the bottom left of the main screen. The title will then be sent to your device (assuming that you have access to 3G or WiFi at that time).
The Kindle is one of the best ways to enjoy your favorite books. The iPhone (as well as the Kindle device) is small, fits in your hand, and highly portable allowing you to take it anywhere and pull it out for a quick read or a long trip. And Amazon has made the entire experience truly affordable and truly simple so that anyone with an iPhone can start enjoying books right away. Free download of the Kindle app and ten bucks or less and voila, you have your favorite eBooks right on your iPhone. Good luck!