Kindle For iPhone and iPod Touch

As if recent release of Kindle 2 wasn’t enough… Kindle for iPhone application was just released to iTunes marketplace and is available for download! What it does is it brings most of the Amazon Kindle functionality to iPhone or iPod Touch. The application is free to download and can be installed either via iTunes (click here if you have iTunes already installed) or directly through App Store…


Once the application is installed – you need to enter your username and password and within seconds you have all the books that you’ve purchased before for your Kindle available in “Archived Items”…


Couple more taps on the touchscreen and you can start reading away.


Ok and now when the hype is gone lets be a bit more specific. The new app can do:

  • Download and display all textual books that are available in the Kindle Store.
  • Synchronize bookmarks, annotations, reading positions etc via the WhisperSync.
  • Add new bookmarks.
  • Text is displayed very clearly and is readable even at the smallest font size (it fact when smallest font size is contains almost as much text as my Kindle which I have set to second smallest font.
  • Once application is registered iPhone immediately becomes selectable in the combo-boxes on the so you can send purchased books to the device.

And now on what it can’t do:

  • It looks like periodicals a missing. At least WSJ that I’m subscribed to didn’t show up anywhere in the application.
  • There is no text-to-speech
  • Regrettably there is no special interface to buy more books. It has to be done via PC or iPhone Safari browser which is doable but not the most comfortable experience you would have. Unfortunately using Amazon Mobile application (also free) is not an option since it only allows adding Kindle books to wish-list. Hopefully Amazon will update it soon enough.
  • There doesn’t seem to be any dictionary functionality.

To sum it up: Way cool, with a room for improvement. While it would seem that releasing such an application would hurt Kindle sales, personally I thing that it would not and overall it would be benefical to And here is why:

  • While the text is clear and readable, reading from iPhone is not the best experience.
  • iPhone is much less autonomous than Kindle because it’s not meant to run long on a single charge but more importantly because when you are reading an eBook a back-lit display is drawing a lot of power from the battery. There is no way you can read 20,000 pages on a single charge and this was a major selling point to me and many other Kindle owners.
  • So in no way iPhone will be able to even come close to replacing Kindle.
  • On the other hand iPhone is a great opportunity because it is an undisputed leader by number of e-commerce transactions that are initiated and completed using it. This is because it provides excellent mobile browsing experience. You can actually navigate the web and shop with it comfortably.
  • There were 10M+ iPhones sold during 2008 alone. Releasing this application gives Amazon better access to this audience. And by defintion this audience likes to consume information and spend money on gadgets. So I imagine quite a few would first buy a couple of books to their iPhone to do some quick lookup or to read something during some long commute and eventually would buy Amazon Kindle to have a better reading experience with these books.

Another reason I happy about this realease is that in the modern world of proprietary mutually incompatible and overly restrictive DRM systems that hurt honest users much more than pirates having a seemless easy way to access useful copyrighted and legally purchased content across several platforms from two different manufactureres is a step in the right direction.


17 thoughts on “Kindle For iPhone and iPod Touch”

  1. Great review and screenshots! Thanks for putting them up there. Quick question: I have a handful of books that I converted to .azw books myself and have been adding to my kindle via usb. Can I put these on the iPhone and read? Or will this new app just read stuff bought via Amazon?

    Thanks again for posting this!

  2. are there any plans to release kindle software as a standalone pc application.

    basically not everyone can afford an ipod or kindle, ~$300, many people out there have a pc or have access to one and would like to read amazon’s ebooks.

    even better why not have the books readable from a browser application. they could login to their secure website, purchase books, kept on amazon servers and can access them via browser.

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  5. I think Amazon is on to something here. I had no plans (and still don’t) to purchase a Kindle, but I do have an iPhone. I downloaded the iPhone app yesterday and already have purchased two Kindle books.

    So, in spite of not gaining me as a Kindle H/W customer (yet?), Amazon has added to its media purchasing base by releasing this application to this iPhone user.

    Besides the enhancement to make iPhone purchases easier, I think they also need to deal with unreadable diagrams in the books (perhaps a problem for the Kindle too?).

  6. Looks like this is the plan – tap into lucrative multi-million user market of iPhone owners. Also it’s quite possible that after reading on the iPhone for some time you’ll want a bigger screen and end up buying Kindle hardware as well :)

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  9. Yes, you can bind up to 6 devices to since amazon accound and be able to read same books on all of them.

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  11. This is a GREAT app. Having book on the iphone/touch is great for commuting. no longer carrying anything, just the phone/touch in your pocket ready to go, with great clarity and ease of use. Awesome

  12. It’s kinda dumb to put a kindle program on ipod and not give text to speech. I was going buy an ipod touch just for the text to speech, but forget it. I mean come on, ipods are predominately made to be listened to, hahaha, next Apple’s going to make a coffee maker that doesn’t heat water.

  13. How do i get my kindle books on the ipod touch to do text to speech? It is possible? thanks BB

  14. It is awful that the ipod touch Kindle app doesn’t have text to speech. Text to speech would be most useful while on the go. I have chronic migraine headaches and can’t read sometimes for days but would love to listen to my books. I cannot carry the new Kindle around, it is way too big for a mobile listening device. Unless I start carrying a large pocketbook or backpack around just for my Kindle which would be cumbersome. The text to speech will not replace audiobooks, it isn’t good enough, but it is helpful for those who like to read but sometimes can’t for whatever reason–headaches, blindness, mobility, etc.

  15. I am an audio book junkie, (I know, I know) I wanted to see what the text to speech is like. Probably awful compared to a professional reader, which is difficult for most to listen to, but when I see it does not do this, its almost a deal breaker. I was curious if I could get books I want to read, not in audio format, read to me by the kindle. But all is not lost, I love being able to read in bed without bothering my spouse and the iTouch is great for that. So I will give old fashioned reading again. One thing I hate about audio books is that I cannot pass them on easily or at all. Maybe to my wife but even that is a hassle, and forget about sharing with a friend, unless you want to waste your Saturday hacking with a bunch of conversion tools. with audio books you cannot quote, highlight or print excerpts. So books I really really like I will buy them twice, once in audio and once in kindle so I can share or use quotes, but that is not a sustainable model.

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