I’ve never been really into ebooks. The primary trouble has always been a matter of how to read them. Computers are inconvenient because they’re only in one place. Though I do spend a lot of time at my desk, I don’t approach the Internet the same way I do recreational reading. Even a laptop would present to me an awkward situation. It just doesn’t feel right. I’ve had a few handheld devices in my day. A Palm, a Visor, even a Newton MessagePad, and that doesn’t include the phones I’ve had. In all of those, I’ve never given significant effort to trying to read a book on them. I don’t know if it was accessibility to books, ease of use, whatever, but the option has never really intrigued me.
(Note: It seems appropriate that, since I’m writing this about an iPhone App, I ought to be written on an iPhone. I’m utilizing the. iPhone WordPress 1.2 app to type this put. Look for my review on that in the next few weeks.)
At one point during my time of owning an iPhone (I just typed “pwning an iPhone”; Hilarious), I’ve given eBooks another shot. I’ve stuck mostly with classics (because they’re free), and to date I’ve completed reading “Tarzan of the Apes” entirely digitally. So I’ve gotten into the eBook scene.
A while back, Amazon released an eBook reader to the world, with the conspicuous ability to talk to the Internet and buy books. This I found to be very interesting, and I have to admit that I’ve got Kindle Fever (specifically Kindle 2 fever).
I didn’t have a spare $359, and still don’t. While perusing Twitter, my friend Josh posted that Amazon released his dream ebook app. Kindle for iPhone. I’d been using an ebook reader app called “eReader”. It’s a good reader. At the time of this writing, eReader offers more features than the Kindle app. That said, I’ve shifted entirely to the Kindle app.
I don’t have any good reasons for switching to the Kindle app, except I plan eventually to own a Kindle, and when I do own it, I’ll want to share between this app and my Kindle, and the cloud is an appealing method for trading between the two. Being able to buy books for this app and the Kindle is not a significant advantage over eReader. In fact, eReader has direct access to buying books online as well, something that must be done on a computer or at least in the Safari on the iPhone. Not impossible, but a little irritating. If I’m in an application, I like to to stay in it to do what I’m doing. Additionally, It’s not easy to get your books into Kindle to work with on the iPhone (unless you buy them from the store). If you’ve got a jailbroken phone, you can FTP into it and drop the files into the directory. If you don’t… you’re kinda screwed in that sense.
The advantage the Amazon store does have is that it tends to be pretty dang cheap. Note: I haven’t actually purchased any books off of amazon to read digitally. I have however downloaded some for free from Amazon ala promotion.
Using Kindle is easy enough. A finger swipe left or right changes pages, a tap gives you options to go further ahead or back, sync up, change settings, and font size as you wish.
I have to say that one feature of the iPhone Kindle app that seems a little odd (maybe it shouldn’t) is the part of the app that is essentially a commercial for the Kindle itself. I understand they’re trying to promote the Kindle, and this application’s main function is convergence between the iPhone and the Kindle, but the “learn about Kindle” option in the settings area seems a little weird. I think the fact that we have the application means we were likely to at least heard of the Kindle, and if we were interested we would have (like I did) looked into it already. I don’t know. I guess it’s free advertising, so you take it where you get it.
One thing you can’t do with the iPhone Kindle app is get subscriptions to periodicals. This isn’t a deal killer for me. I don’t read many magazines (as most of the information is outdated anyway), but I think I would like the option available anyway. Make:Magazine for instance. That’s not available on the Kindle yet anyway, but we can hope.
In spite of the lack of features, I kind of like the Kindle app because it sport’s Amazon’s brand. Yes, they’re a corporate capitalist monolith, but they also like books, and they’re finding new ways to move books and materials to us. For some weird psychological reason that I’m sure is required reading for marketing students, I like that.
I read a blog post about the iPhone Kindle app and it was mostly critical. I can’t blame the guy for saying so. The app does lack many of the features the Kindle has, and many of the features other readers have. Still, I like it and I hope that Amazon continues to improve it.