Today, during the Windows 7 launch event, Amazon and Microsoft demonstrated “Kindle For PC”, desktop eBook reader application that will run on Windows XP/Vista/7. This application allows anyone with a PC and Internet connection to shop in Amazon eBook store that currently has 360,000+ books. The software is free to download and offers all of the functionality of Amazon Kindle device minus slow eInk refresh rate and lack of color, plus all of the multi-touch coolness of Windows 7 (Microsoft’s latest operating system). It can download books, synchronize reading positions, notes and bookmarks. In one of the videos it looked like the cover was in color and of better image quality than what is sent to Kindle devices over Whispernet.
I wonder if magazine and newspaper subscriptions would be available…
Here are several hands on videos about the application:
As competition is heating up in the eReader/eBook market, Amazon and other companies are trying every possible way to stay competitive. I believe that Amazon could have released this app years ago. After all there is no rocket science in it – it’s just a eBook reader. Something that existed for years by companies such as Microsoft, Sony, B&N. However this didn’t happen. Partially because it was hard to convince publishers to put their valuable content on something as easily hackable as home PC, but mostly because there was little point to it. Computer screens are not meant for book reading. However this holiday season anything goes if it helps you stay competitive.
I don’t think that people would actually read a lot on this desktop app, even with modern tablets and netbooks. However the app will act as free advertising. People will download it, get a couple of books. They might like the concept of eBook and Amazon book store but not reading from the computer screen in particular. Some of them will end up buying a Kindle, especially since you can now get one as cheap as $149.00.
For me personally, I don’t see much use for PC eReader other than finding relevant data and I want to reference or quote quickly. It would be nice if the app supported at least limited amount of copy-paste (unlike the Sony app) but I wouldn’t bet on it.
The app is due to be released in November. Apple Mac OS version will follow several months later.
With eBooks finding their way from dedicated reading devices to multipurpose computers, the next logical step would be an online eBook reader. And I bet at least one company will come up with one in 2010.
Meanwhile this move is almost free for Amazon since desktop application doesn’t incur high cost of wireless access (users have to provide the Internet) which is substantial for Amazon. It also signifies an alliance between Amazon and Microsoft and it’s pretty obvious that they are allied against Google. Since Microsoft is trying to compete with Google in web search for years and Google is about enter eBook business.
BTW I’ve just installed Windows 7 myself and it does totally rock!