Amazon unveils Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers (including the iPad)

Amazon Kindle App for Tablet Computers.I almost laughed out loud when I saw the diminutive text that accompanied Amazon’s new Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers. It reads “Including the iPad,” in a tiny, scrunched up font. Funny content wars aside, the new app looks pretty great, and it gives us a look at the full color future of digital books from Amazon.

The new app include fancy features like page turn animations and adjustable backgrounds while holding onto the Amazon Whispersync technology to keep your reading experience up to date across multiple devices. While this may be the future of reading with Amazon, it makes me wonder where the future of the company’s hardware lies. I still can’t imagine a world in which Amazon wanted to get into the hardware business for just a couple years, but maybe it did. It’s still the largest online retailer, and content distribution is really a nice business. Just ask Apple.

If the future of the Kindle brand lies in apps across all platforms, though, Amazon would do well not to piss off so many publishers. All the work Amazon has done to this point will be null if readers can’t get the books they want in the Kindle store.


Kindle heads to Blackberry

Blackberry gets Kindle.Amazon is starting to see the writing on the wall, it seems. There isn’t a compelling reason for people to buy a Kindle anymore. Other ereaders offer the same price on books with more features and the latest wave of tablet PCs make the hardware look obsolete. So what does Bezos do? He releases a Kindle app for yet another piece of hardware: the Blackberry.

Amazon recently opened the floodgates with Kindle support for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Windows machines. Today we get Blackberry support and the company says it’s headed for Macs and iPads next. If that doesn’t sound like admitted defeat, I don’t know what does. It’s funny too, considering the publisher problems Amazon has had since the iPad announcement.

“Since the launch of our popular Kindle for iPhone app last year, customers have been asking us to bring a similar experience to the BlackBerry, and we are thrilled to make it available today,” said Amazon’s Kindle VP, Ian Freed. There is at least one difference between the two; the Blackberry version doesn’t support creating annotations from within the app.

Official Site


Amazon eBooks: Killing a Kindle Near You

Jeff Bezos with a Kindle.A couple days back I made a post about what it would take for me to get a Kindle. I’m looking for cheaper access to ebooks on more devices, and according to Jeff Bezos, I should be getting one of those wishes in the near future.

At a conference this week, Bezos laid out his plan for Amazon’s Kindle brand in full detail.

The device team has the job of making the most remarkable purpose-built reading device in the world. We are going to give the device team competition. We will make Kindle books, at the same $9.99 price points, available on the iPhone, and other mobile devices and other computing devices.

The good news, obviously, is that we’ll start to see ebooks on more portable and more versatile devices. The Kindle App for the iPhone is a great example of this, bringing the books to a device you’ll have with you regardless, not requiring you to lug something like a Kindle around.

As for bad news I can’t help but wonder, what’s the lifespan of the Kindle? Bringing ebooks to devices that have more features than the Kindle means one thing – the Kindle is going to die. Purpose-built devices have been disappearing for decades as consumers look for that all-in-wonder device. Cellphones, portable gaming systems, digital cameras, and digital camcorders have now all been wrapped up into one device. We went from word processors to computers to laptops to laptops with built in fingerprint readers and webcams and anything else you can imagine. Purpose-built devices are a dying breed, at least for the consumer-level use, and particularly in the case of the Kindle.

Unfortunately, Bezos’ $9.99 price point is still too rich for my blood. I rarely buy books at that price, and for the new releases I’ll splurge on, I want more than a restrictive file format to show for it. As Amazon’s eBooks get more popular and become available on more devices I know prices will go down, but I doubt Amazon will loosen restrictions.


What It Would Take To Get Me Interested In A Kindle

The Kindle DX.With the release of the Kindle DX, plenty of folks have been asking the same question: will you get one? For me, the answer is no. I like the feel of a physical book in my hands too much to let a Kindle take its place. I also love used book shopping, where I can pick up classic (and sometimes new) titles for less than a buck.

It was this post over at Crave that really made me wonder, what would it take to get me interested in a Kindle? For me that question has a simple translation. When is it more convenient to have a Kindle than a book? The Kindle doesn’t have enough features outside book reading to make it compelling for reasons other than book reading, so I’m going to ignore them. For me, it comes down to convenience and the emotional experience I get from reading a book.

I like the reasons Stein gives for his own experience. Pulling a book out on the subway is much more cumbersome than flipping to the Kindle app on his iPhone. The appeal is the same in my life, but paying full book price for something I can only read on a Kindle or an iPhone seems ridiculous.

What I could really use is both – something like movie studios have been doing recently to attempt to combat downloads – adding a digital copy to the physical media. As it currently stands, downloading books from the Kindle store is incredibly restrictive, and if you lose your Amazon account, you lose your books as well. Offering an option to download the book when I purchase the physical media could change that, giving me control of the storage (and yes, distribution) of my media.

Obviously there are pirating concerns for Amazon, and they lose the sweet deal they have going now whereby they reap most of the profit from selling digital copies. It’s hard to imagine, though, that they wouldn’t see increased usage from this sort of change. The iPhone Kindle App becomes a lot more appealing when it means I can continue my reading without lugging a book around but still have the option to kick back and fill margins with notes when I get the urge.

For now, a Kindle is the wrong device for me. I can’t help but think I’m paying a fee to relinquish control of my purchase, and that just doesn’t feel right.