Members of the Couch Potato Club take note! The ebook reader wars are heating up, which is only good news for fans of public domain ebooks. In recent weeks, Amazon has positioned its Kindle ebook reader to remain a top choice in electronic readers even if you don’t own a pricey Kindle.
The newest version of Kindle for iPhone and iPod Touch makes the entire Amazon Kindle booklist available on a handheld device at no additional cost, and in a market ploy to maintain market strength, the list of Amazon ebooks now numbers over 360,000.
To make good things even better, Amazon recently announced the forthcoming Kindle for PC, a free application for Windows PC. The Beta software will allow users to purchase, download, and read books from the Kindle Store, select varying font sizes, and view notes made on the Kindle. Windows 7 users will be able to zoom in and out with a finger-pinch and eventually turn pages with a finger swipe. Way cool!
Of course, Mac users are already clamoring for a Mac application, and according to a CNet interview with Drew Herdener, Amazon’s Director of Communication, they won’t have to wait long. The Kindle for PC app will be followed “in the the next few months” with Kindle for Mac, and Kindle for Blackberry.
I have been trying to read ebooks on my computer for some time, but always been frustrated by the uncomfortable reality of either sitting at my desk in front of a monitor or juggling a laptop and trying to “pretend” it was a book. I even tried using a nifty utility eRotate to spin the text 180 degrees on my netbook so it would feel more like a real book.
Amazon’s Kindle, with it’s totally free wi-fi connectivity for downloading books and its digital ink technology answers the Want List for an outstanding ebook reader. It looks even better recently, as Amazon announced the much-awaited International Edition, and another huge price drop which brings the Kindle in line with Barnes & Noble’s competition, Nook.
When my book club reading list started to grow, I realized I could save quite a chunk of change by purchasing the Kindle version of the books I needed to read. Most Kindle books are priced at $9.99 or less; this could amount to a considerable savings over $16.99 and $24.99 editions.
I first tried reading books from Amazon’s Kindle book list on the Kindle for iPhone App available for the iPod Touch. With the quick finger-flick used to turn the page, and the clear sizeable font, it was a good reading experience, albeit somewhat small. I did find, however, that the lighting technology was tiring and I could not read for a long period of time without extreme eye fatigue.
The Kindle2 reader avoids the visual fatigue issue by using a different technology completely. The text appears on the screen as black words on a white background, just like a printed page. There is no backlight, which is easier on the eyes, and the battery is only drained when the page is “turned,” saving battery power. It is also possible to customize the text size and even enable text-to-speech on many books.
Lately, Kindle blogs have been buzzing with news of the increasing number of ebooks available at Amazon, and the scores of FREE books available as well. When Wallmart announced that holiday best-sellers would be priced at $10, Amazon promptly announced the $9 price-point for many of the same new titles. The special pricing doesn’t last long, however, sometimes only a few days. With the Kindle for iPhone and forthcoming Kindle for PC, these Amazon specials will be a real bargain.