Reading from Windows with Kindle for PC

With the recent introduction of the full color 7″ multi-touch Kindle Fire, Amazon has positioned the Kindle in yet another burgeoning segment of the holiday shopping stratosphere for 2011. It truly appears that Amazon’s goal for the Kindle brand of products, by 2012, is to breach every nook and cranny of the shopper subconscious, and then eliminate any and all barriers to a purchase by the end of the holiday season.

Kindle for PC has opened Amazon’s doors to millions of new potential customers, and increased the demand for Amazon’s eBooks by redefining their strategy and broadening their approach to the sale of their digital media. Within this in depth review, we take a long look at the Windows based variant of Kindle, and attempt to paint a better picture of the competitive advantages that Amazon hopes to gain with the introduction of the product.

Getting Started

Kindle for PC can easily be downloaded from its Amazon download page, and once you have made the painless commitment there is a quick installation that should leave you more than ready to begin downloading and reading new eBooks from Amazon.com.

Kindle eBook Store

Kindle eBook Store

Once installed, you will be welcomed to the application by the signature Kindle splash screen, and then land directly into your Kindle Library, where you have the option of viewing your eBooks in either a list view or grid view of thumb-printed full color book covers.

Library Thumbnail View

Library Thumbnail View

From the moment that you enter the interface, users have the ability to browse or search through their library, create and curate different collections of downloaded eBooks, and access the Kindle book store directly from the application. Additionally, and most importantly, you have the ability to access any of the eBooks you have already added by simply double clicking on its cover or title, which will open up the body of its text.

With a well developed interface for the viewing, editing, and bookmarking of texts within your library, Amazon has appropriately prioritized the important of a fully functional and well developed platform for reading, and addressed this all cohesively in this one single package.

Kindle Text View

Kindle Text View

Design and Interface

Kindle for PC is a beautiful application up to par with the other Kindle offerings on platforms such as the iPad and Android operating system. You have the ability to extensively manage your eBooks, sync them to an attached Kindle device, and download your archived collections from Amazon’s cloud service.

This is really one of the best things about Kindle for the PC. It seamlessly integrates with all of Amazon’s other services using the company’s patented Whispersync technology, and as you can see from the screenshot below, if you start reading a book on one device such as an iPod, and want to move to another or your personal computer, all of your Kindle applications work in unison to allow you to accomplish this.

Automatic Syncing

Automatic Syncing

As you may have also observed from the screenshot above, Amazon has also recently introduced a Kindle Cloud Reader which will allow you to access your texts directly from within a web browser.

In this regard Amazon is truly creating one of the most versatile platforms for the consumption of media anywhere in the online market today. Each time a new platform or device gains popularity, Amazon is simultaneously developing a Kindle application in unison with the release of the platform. This has been a brilliant decision on the part of the company and is a feature that keeps you coming back for more.

Kindle Cloud Reader

Kindle Cloud Reader

Performance

The nice thing about Kindle for PC versus Amazon’s mobile variants, is that the desktop application allows you the flexibility of using your mouse and keyboard to interact with your texts.

This is a huge benefit because it not only provides you with a more flexible way of surfing through a body of text, but also gives you the ability to more easily highlight and select specific text to be manipulated.

Highlighting Text Produces Contextual Options

Highlighting Text Produces Contextual Options

In fact selecting a segment of text with a swipe of your mouse not only allows you to highlight, copy, or add notes to the bit you’ve selected, but also to look up a word in a dictionary, Google a body of text, search for other areas of the document which refer to the same subject, or even search for your selection within Wikipedia.

One of the very cool things you can do with Kindle for PC, is actually import any .PDF files you might be storing on your computer. Doing so will actually privilege you the ability to utilize all of Kindle’s robust functionality on documents which have never even been touched by Amazon.

Manipulating a PDF File

Manipulating a .PDF File

Opening a .PDF file with the Kindle eReader adds it to your library and then makes it accessible at anytime from the same application that you would use for any of your other reading.

PDF Added to Library

PDF Added to Library

Using Kindle for PC with a mouse, keyboard, larger screen, and all the benefits that come with a fully fledged personal computer, truly makes it a leading platform for those who are serious about jumping into texts. Kindle for PC turns what is otherwise an application largely intended for leisure when used on an eReader, into something that can be utilized for serious studying, note-taking, and even an in-depth analysis of a personal document.

Functionality

Right-clicking any word within a given text will automatically trigger the download of its definition in an integrated gadget, and likewise, the ability to search for phrases via Google and Wikipedia is directly integrated into the functionality of the product.

The ability to zoom, pan, highlight, bookmark, leave notes, save your spot, choose from multiple languages, view your texts in a full screen mode, and alter your font and page characteristics truly builds flexibility and depth into the platform.

Altering Font Characteristics

Altering Font Characteristics

Pricing

While Kindle for PC is a free to use application, the content you may be tempted to purchase from the Amazon eBook store varies dramatically in price. While users can usually find content for absolutely nothing if they keep a gainful watch on both Amazon and other distribution networks, the majority of popular eBooks actually approach the wholesale value of their physical counterparts when they are first released into the market.

Amazon is a business that uses the long-tail model of economics in this regard, acknowledging that a large group of users will be willing to pay full price for the newest material, even if its in digital format; while equally recognizing that a substantial number of customers will also be interested in older and more obscure material when it’s presented to them with low prices, during sales, and via suggestive personal advertising.

The total amount of money you spend on collecting and digesting digital books depends entirely on your level of consumption and/or frugality when it comes to discovering and ponying up for new content, and is heavily impacted by whether or not you ultimately succumb to the pressure of purchasing a device to take your books on the go. (With Kindle’s new Fire and adjusted pricing, this is much easier said than done).

The New Kindle Fire

The New Kindle Fire

Competition & Conclusion

Kindle for PC offers eBook consumers a distinct alternative to many of its competitors with its Whispersync and cross platform interoperability. Being able to maintain a persistent library of material across multiple devices and operating systems is a great feature and underlying selling point of the Kindle family. Due to this, individuals who have multiple devices, but spend much of their time with a PC, can find few better alternatives for eReader applications than the diverse and well rounded Kindle for PC.

Kindle for PC is a fantastic choice for eReading on the Windows platform, and really the only detractors I could find were that I found myself wishing it could read even more types of documents, and that to date Amazon has not introduced magazines and other types of content beyond eBooks to the Windows based platform.

Otherwise, the product is a joy to use and another tremendous asset in the portfolio of the Kindle family of applications for Amazon.com.

Initializing Kindle

Initializing Kindle

 

 


Summary

Amazon eReader application for the Windows platform.

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