Cuddling up with a Kindle. Well, the iPhone app anyway.

Posted: January 22, 2011 in Apple, apps, iphone, iPod, technology
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve never really wanted a Kindle, it was too dedicated a device for me, but when the Kindle App came out for iPhone recently that made me reconsider it as an app and not a device, which makes much more sense in my mind.

First off, its Free.  So thats a good start.  Another thing, it comes with a couple of useful sample books (unlike Apple’s own iBooks which comes preloaded with nothing but allows you to select one free book from a preselected list)  A couple of classics and “The New Oxford American Dictionary” which is something that i’ve needed a few times and always forget to go looking for as a standalone App.

collection on iPhone

The Kindle App itself lets you store books purchased on Amazon’s Kindle Store which is an ever growing collection of books currently boasting more than 575,000.  (I’m not sure what the number Apple boasts right now is. In fact I got an email from Apple about iBooks 1.2 , but still no number of available books listed anywhere.)  There are a large number of free books available there as well, just like Apple’s iBooks, but the free Kindle books have illustrated covers when downloaded to your personal library, instead of just generic covers.  Aside from a different look (iBooks uses a bookshelf to show your collection as opposed to Kindle’s list with cover art) both apps are pretty much the same, each remembers where you left off, and allows you to return to it easily if your reading gets interrupted.

Taping the middle of the screen brings up the interface for adjusting the font size and colour (black on white, white on black, or sepia), your personal notes (they show up in your book as a clickable editable popout entry), and sections of the book you can jump to.

Across the very bottom of the interface is your location which confuses me a bit, I would have preferred a page number, but maybe its due to the fact that the page numbers would change depending upon the font size you are viewing the book in.

the interface

And just in case you forget or lose your place the sync button on the bottom on the righthand side checks to see the furthest location you have read to and lets you decide if you want to go to the location.  Very handy, if, like me, you accidentally swipe backwards a bit to look at something previous.

To check out the App and the Amazon store interface, I grabbed a book from a local author “Marvellous Hairy” by Mark A. Rayner, which i’ve always wanted to read but hadn’t gotten around to.  Buying books is easy if you already have an Amazon account, if not a few extra steps and clicks and you will have one set up.  The books download wicked fast, I imagine if you had one with pictures it would slow down, but so far its been less than a minute for any book i’ve “bought” (most have been free so far) to download to my iPhone.

I’m not seeing any difference in the ease of reading between the two interfaces,with the exception that the Kindle when reading a book has no interface shown, just the text on the page which makes for a cleaner more book-like appearance.  I find the Kindle interface better in that regard, but like the ease of adjusting brightness better on iBooks.  In fact I still haven’t found that setting in the Kindle App.

One thing that concerned me was what to do about all the books you have already read?  In iBooks you sync which books you want on your idevice within iTunes, but what about the Kindle App?  That is actually an easy one – at the bottom of your book list is “Archived Items“.  When you delete a book, it is removed from your idevice but remains listed in your Archived Items area for easy re-downloading, thereby freeing up space on your device for more books, which is always a good thing.

Reading is important and one of the best ways to entertain and educate and combining it with tech will hopefully encourage more of the tech-savvy and tech-dependent younger crowd to read more.  Not to mention those of us who are never more than an arm’s length away from our smartphones.

To quote Groucho Marx…”Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”  (Unless of course you are reading on a backlit lcd screen).


  1. […] is not much difference. (you can see a few screenshots of the Kindle app in an earlier blog post here ) Google Books user interface cute see-thru pages well laid out Settings […]


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