As a book-lover–and one who doesn’t strictly define “book” as a physical item composed of ink and paper–the gadget that has always inspired the most envy in me is not a flashy phone nor an overclocked computer but the Amazon Kindle: not because of pleasing design (it’s quite clunky) or a surplus of handy features (it’s no smart phone) but simply because… well it’s a bookstore in my hand: what’s not to like?
Well, two things come to mind: (a) the price ($359); and (b) the fact that the “bookstore” element is only really available in the US. So when my old faithful Palm Zire went to the great gadget heap beyond, I decided not to wait for the inevitable international version of the Kindle and nabbed an iPod Touch instead–little did I know that, in a way, I’d gotten both.
This year Amazon released a Kindle App for the iPhone and iPod Touch which addresses both of my earlier concerns: (a) it is free; and (b) we can use it without leaving our tropical (oh man this summer heat) homes.
- You need to have an account for the U.S. iTunes Store. If you want to get one without giving out your credit card info, try the steps found here.
- You also need to have the firmware of your iPhone or Touch updated to ver. 2.1
- Make sure you’re logged in, then search for the Kindle application. Click the Get App button.
- Once the Kindle App is downloaded, you may need to authorize your computer for use with the Kindle App–just go to the App section of your iTunes, click on the Kindle App logo, and fill in your (US) iTunes account details
- Now you’re ready to download some books, which unfortunately can be a bit tricky. The Kindle App is not integrated with Amazon proper (or even the other Amazon App) and as such you can’t browse and buy books from within the Kindle App.
- If you want to shop using your iPhone, use the Safari browser in your iPhone/Touch to go over to the Amazon site. Don’t use the Amazon mobile version of the site (which is what you get if you simply type “Amazon” in the address bar) since for some reason I found that most books I looked for there were listed as “unavailable.” Go to the kindle books section of the full site (I got there by typing “amazon.com/kindlebooks” in the address bar);
- Log in (or register) to your Amazon account
- Search for a book you’d like to buy as you normally would on Amazon. You’ll find buttons to buy the book or a free sample towards the right of the screen.
- I tried some free samples/ebooks first and the first time I did so I was asked to confirm my listed addresses for delivery, which I found strange given that this was a digital download, but no harm done.
- Every subsequent time though, after clicking on the “Buy Now with 1-click” or “Send Sample Now” button I’d be taken to a new page that informed me that my Kindle Edition order has been placed and that my iPhone would start downloading it the next time I opened my Kindle App.
- Open your Kindle App and give it some time (and a strong wifi signal if you’re using the Touch) to sync with Amazon and voila! Instant book 🙂
You can also make your purchases by accessing Amazon from somewhere other than your iPhone and Amazon will still send your purchase to your iPhone. I think it might be easiest to do your first download from the iPhone itself though as I think that will automatically allow Amazon to recognize that you have a Kindle APp equipped iPhone that it can send ebooks to–I’m not sure how Amazon would sense your device otherwise.
For those looking for a free books for their kindle, there are a lot of public domain books available, as well as a few romances. For genre/SF lovers, these series-starters from Suvudu have free kindle editions: Her Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik; Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt; Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove; Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson; and Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. I also found Persuader by Lee Child – not genre but a good thriller if his first “Jack Reacher” book was any indication.
Haven’t used it much yet but GMA has a link to a review of the app from the US, the focus being on the Kindle App as a backup reader. From the looks of it though it makes for a good primary ebook reader as well for those of us without an actual Kindle–though I can’t understand why the ebooks I got don’t have proper cover art, just weird placeholders for the cover. Did they need to keep the file size small for the free ebooks?