Can’t get enough of that (Kindle) reading thing

March 4, 2009

Just as we’re getting over the buzz and acclaim for the new Kindle e-reader, Amazon comes right back at us. This time, it is selling    e-books for the iPhone and iPod — that’s right — through a Kindle application that can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store.

Here’s how the Wall Street Journal describes it: “Amazon’s software application, which can be downloaded free of charge, allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to read books or periodicals purchased on the Web or through their dedicated Kindle device, usually for $9.99. Using a service that Amazon calls whispersync, the program keeps track of a readers’ latest page in any given book across both a Kindle and iPhone.”

Amazon has competition, of course, from Google as well as other e-book sellers. Still, give credit to Amazon for creating big hype for its Kindle (which is still a relatively small market, regardless of all the press it gets).

“Will this put Kindle device sales at risk?” asks TechCrunch? “Not likely. The Kindle is a fairly niche product – not that reading is a niche activity (though it’s probably a bit less common than it should be), but the ideas of eBooks/e-Ink/etc are still fairly foreign to most (though Oprah’s mention definitely didn’t hurt). This lets Amazon push more copies of e-products they’ve already got licenses for, all the while coaxing the stubborn folks into the idea of reading books on an electronic screen without requiring them to drop $360 bucks on a dedicated device.”

Or as the New York Times puts it, “The move comes a week after Amazon started shipping the updated version of its Kindle reading device. It signals that the company may be more interested in becoming the pre-eminent retailer of e-books than in being the top manufacturer of reading devices.”

We haven’t had the chance yet to see the application, but paidContent’s Staci Kramer posted these thoughts today: “The text is clear but you can’t use multi-touch to zoom; instead, just as on the Kindle device, you select from a series of type sizes and it changes. I can go back to the cover and table of contents of that book; if I pick, “furthest point read” it pinpoints my location and tells me which device I was using and what time and date it was when I last dipped in. What I can’t do is access the things I might most want to read in short bursts: my subscriptions to newspapers, magazines and blogs—all limited to one Kindle. And so far, no Speech-to-Text so at least Roy Blount, Jr. should be happy.”

Keep an eye on:

  • Havas, the world’s sixth-largest advertising group, delivered sharply higher profits, beating forecasts, and its chairman said he was thinking about the possibility of merging with rival Aegis (Reuters)
  • Turner International, a unit of Time Warner Inc, will launch a new entertainment channel in India along with Warner Bros, but sees lower revenue growth in its top Asian market due to a slowing economy (Reuters)
  • The Walt Disney Co is considering creating a subscription-based online movie and TV rental service from the company’s vast video library (Reuters)
  • Hollywood reacts to Blockbuster’s troubles with a yawn (Reuters)

(Photo: Reuters)

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