One of the features lacking in Amazon's Kindle plans for e-book domination has been the fact that in order to read e-books purchased from their store you need to have a Kindle.
Amazon has just released the new Kindle for PC software, currently in beta with Mac version coming soon, which is a free download and allows you to view Kindle e-books on your home computer or laptop.
If you're leery of beta software best wait for the release version, though I installed and did the basics without any issue.
Kindle for PC is a quick install. In moments, I was presented with the application's opening screen:
The "Register now to get started" dialog wants your Amazon account information, but it is not necessary to fill this in as there is a "continue without registering" option. I went ahead and filled in my Amazon account information and clicked "Register".
Here's the application resized for better viewing:
The interface is simple almost to the point of being plain. But then it has a fairly narrow, specific purpose: to view Kindle-formatted e-books. Since I registered the software with my Amazon account, Kindle for PC went through a quick sync cycle to see what Kindle e-books I had already purchased. Of course, I don't own a Kindle and therefore have not purchased any e-books from the Kindle store, so nothing showed up.
Fortunately, Amazon makes it easy to add Kindle e-books to my collection by placing a button at the top of the app that says, "Shop in Kindle Store":
That, of course, brings you to the Kindle storefront where, with a quick search, I can find my e-book, The Hall of the Wood.
If you're curious about how the buying process works, click on the "How buying works" link beneath the "Buy" button at the right. This will bring up the following dialog with the new Kindle for PC option listed alongside the more traditional ones:
You'll also see the Kindle for PC device already selected if you registered when the app came up:
For demonstration purposes, and because I've never actually seen my e-book other than in DTP preview mode, I went ahead and purchased my own e-book. Chalk up another sale for me. Once I went through the payment method, etc., I get this:
After clicking "Go to Kindle for PC", I'm brought back to the Kindle for PC app:
A quick double-click on my e-book and it brings it up in all its glory:
Now that's cool.
I can't say I'm real keen on reading e-books on my PC (or Mac if I had one). In other words, I still want an e-reader. But Amazon is addressing a void in the Kindle's feature set. One less thing for someone on the fence about purchasing one e-reader over another to concern themselves with. Plus, who knows, for people who want to buy e-books from Amazon but don't have an iPhone or Kindle, now they can.
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