Kindle Experience Lands on iPhone


As a guy who’s been reading e-books for nearly a decade on handheld devices (Palm V , Dell Axim, PPC 6700, etc), I’m pretty psyched this AM to see Amazon follow through on promises to expand the Kindle experience beyond their own hardware. While both Stanza and eReader are installed on my iPhone, they don’t offer nearly as many titles as Amazon. More importantly, they can’t compete on price. (Amazon’s best sellers and new releases run $9.99.) However, my hopes of a directly integrated bookstore have been dashed with the initial Kindle on iPhone app release. In fact, Amazon’s own shopping app can’t even purchase Kindle books. I assume this is a temporary limitation, and is optimized for mobile Safari. Because as an infrequent and spontaneous (book) reader, I know I’ll be looking for titles in an airport just before boarding a flight.


Obviously the iPhone reading experience is much different from using Amazon’s dedicated Kindle hardware. The screen is smaller and while the backlight is great for reading in dim locations, a bright LCD can be visually fatiguing. Above, notice the macro Kindle e-ink shot taken by Tumblr lead developer Marco Arment. He’s concluded the little splotches are unintended artifacts, a result of immature tech. However, I believe this is intentional – mimicking the the composition of paper. Certainly the Kindle screen is easy on the eyes. When it’s not blinking with each page turn.

For those interested in Kindle 2 hardware, keep an eye on Brent’s blog… He picked up a unit and has been posting his experiences and answering questions.

7 thoughts on “Kindle Experience Lands on iPhone”

  1. I’m very interested in seeing how newspaper subscriptions render on the iPhone. Although, I no longer ride the subway to work – which is where I’d have most appreciated it.

  2. This has some really interesting implications for the Kindle hardware. The Kindle is priced at $359 and is a one-trick pony. An iPod Touch sells for $229 (or less) and is the top portable video and audio player. I can see that the Kindle will appeal to less tech-savvy buyers, but I think the Kindle application for iPhone/iPod Touch is a real winner. It gets everyone one step closer to a one-device-that-does-all, plus that an iPod Touch or iPhone is easier to carry around in your pocket. I can imagine reading a Kindle book wherever and whenever I am stuck.

  3. robs67, bummer on the no-newspapers. I had read it was supported on another blog and got excited.

    Greg, absolutely. And there’s already a ton more iPod Touches and iPhones on the market than Kindle hardware. Apps like these will make it hard for me to defect to something like the Pre – which is probably going to run a year behind Apple for awhile. Just wish AT&T did a better job with my connectivity. Especially in my new office, where I’ve got no signal. :/

  4. I had seen that newspapers and magazines were to be enabled on the iPhone app, but it appears that wasn’t true. I hope they add that capability – it would make this app much more worthwhile – especially for non-Kindle owners.

  5. Greg, Dave:

    I have to disagree – it’s the non-tech saavy users who will not go for a Kindle. The geeks in my office get it… the non-geeks don’t (the non-readers don’t have an opinion either way). I’m looking at my Kindle 2 right now and, I have to admit, the iPhone/iPod touch app isn’t going to make me regret this purchase at all.

    It’s the screen on the Kindle that wins out. I can definitely see syncing the books and using the app when I’m not near the Kindle, but reading entire novels on the iPhone? Been there, done that – I like the fact that I don’t need glasses at this point in my life and would like to stretch that out as far as possible. ;)

  6. I own a kindle 2 and a couple of ipod touch’s (one is kept at work). I downloaded the app for both ipods as it will be nice to have my reading material available on the go. It will not compete with the kindle for an intentional reading experience however.
    I’ve tried Stanza and Ereader on the ipods and its just OK. The kindle is the best reading device I ever used (I’m including books in this comparison). When you sit with this light weight device and just click through the pages you can really get into a flow with what you are reading.
    I like to read the newspaper and magazines on my laptop because the screen is larger and I read them in the morning when its dark so the back lighting is a plus.
    But for books, the kindle is best. Sometimes you make too many compromises with combo devices, single purpose devices tend to do a better job with the single purpose they were designed for.

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