Kindle for PC Application coming soon

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!

9 thoughts on “Kindle for PC Application coming soon”

  1. > For me personally, I don’t see much use for PC eReader

    ie. no one else would either. Dude, I’ve read nearly 100 books on a laptop, my last one being Bleak House. I know someone who reads nearly a book a day on a PC. There are dozens of methods – from plain text to B&N application to Internet Archive flip book to PDF’s etc.. Kindle is just one more digital method with its own sets of strengths and weaknesses. I realize this is a Kindle blog but your kind of absolutism – which is so blatantly wrong – I guarantee you, Amazon will sell more digital books for the PC than for Kindles (assuming the app is free). People DO read books on computer screens in very large numbers.

  2. While I admit that I may be a little biased I’d still disagree about books for PC outselling Kindle books. Unfortunately it’s unlikely that Amazon would ever publish such data so we’ll never know.

  3. I have the original Rocket eBook. I have over 75 titles on it.

    I have a Dell Axim x50v (VGA PDA) with over 750 Microsoft Reader titles. I’ve moved most of my Rocket eBook titles to it.

    I’ve since downloaded all my Baen titles to MobiPocket format for my Kindle 2.

    I still read books on my PDA. The reader you have with you is the one you’ll use. You can also read in the dark.

    The Compaq TC1100 will run XP. You could remove it from its keyboard and have a nice light eBook reader. Maybe the market price of used TC1100s will increase.

    What I would really like most is a color LCD based reader the size of my Kindle 2. It could be a little heavier, if it had a good gripping surface. The LCD should be biased for portrait orientation, not landscape like most laptops and tablet PCs.

  4. I’ve read books on a PC screen on occasion, out of necessity mostly, and because I didn’t want to print it. However, after using readers based on eInk, I strongly prefer to read on such a device (be it a kindle or sony reader) than to read on a backlighted LCD screen.

    When you read for a while on a eInk device you realize how much more comfortable it is than to read on a computer screen, I think mostly because of two factors: 1) the eInk surface does not emit light and 2) it is not refreshed constantly, it just stays put. This is much easier on your sight.

    So if I have a Kindle, why would I want to read ebooks on a PC? Well, I know I wouldn’t.

  5. You’d be surprised how many people prefer reading ebooks on computers, especially netbooks. Some studies, which are probably not very precise, show more people use computers than e-readers to read e-books. The price of e-readers is only one factor. Many simply like their computers better. I bought an e-reader recently, and gave it away to go back to my netbook.

    While the bright screen is often considered a fatigue-producer, many people quietly disagree. Some, especially readers with older eyes, find the gray-on-gray of e-readers hard to tolerate. Enlarging fonts creates other problems like constant page-turning, and external light sources are needed for some readers. Away from home, netbooks provide enough battery life for fairly long plane flights- longer than I can stand to read at one time, and I can always switch back to computer activities when I get tired of reading.

    The best thing about this technology for me is that I will be able to buy some books from Kindle, without having to buy ALL of my books from Kindle. Some Kindle is better than no Kindle. Or all Kindle.

  6. @Delle

    what makes you think that if you have a kindle you must by all your books from amazon? that is not the case.

    if you look at the article ‘a million kindle books’, only about a third of the books in that count are from amazon.

  7. A PC or Mac kindle reader app would be useful for reference works, programming manuals, that sort of thing. With a programming book in particular, one might get the kindle version to read it portably, but later if you want to refer to it while working on something it would be more convenient on the computer screen, especially if you can copy & paste, and especially since the computer version won’t go to sleep every few minutes.

  8. I love this idea. I have a Kindle 2 now and have a couple reference books on it and some of the pictures are very hard to read even when zoomed in. This will be great for instructional type books like, Windows 7 Secrets or any type of book that requires you to reference something on the pc while you are reading it. Any of the “Learn Photoshop” type books come to mind. Especially if you have a dual monitor set up like I have. Book on one monitor and photosop on the other. I can’t wait for this.

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