Synced up: Kindle apps for the PC and Mac

Launched in November 2007, the Amazon Kindle made e-readers a veritable must-have, opening the door to digital books, their portability and breadth.

With a slim, lightweight device, readers suddenly had an entire library at their fingertips. An expansive archive of titles ready to be read and re-read (on the go).

Indeed, in short order, the Kindle revolutionized the way in which we read books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs. And with Amazon’s latest apps – which synchronize Kindle with PCs, Macs, tablets, and mobile phones – the change looks to be here to stay.

App Features

Similar to iTunes and music downloads, Amazon realized that there was a demand for digital books beyond the Kindle. To help, it’s developed free apps for the home computer, laptop, and mobile phone. It takes mere minutes to get started.

To begin reading and buying e-books from Kindle, simply select the appropriate app for your hardware and download. Once installed you can begin enjoying the perks of Kindle without actually having purchased the e-reader. Or, if you do have a Kindle, the apps now sync with any titles you’ve already purchased or downloaded.

With Amazon’s Whispersync, users can connect action across all devices, from reading progress to bookmarks to annotations.

No Kindle Required

Opening its Kindle store to non-Kindle users is a big step for Amazon, as well as a necessary one from a marketing standpoint.

With Apple’s iPad and Barnes & Noble’s eReader cutting into the electronic reader market, it’s no wonder why Amazon has chosen to proactively expand its customer base.

“No Kindle required” is what the company advertises and yet, the statement cleverly reminds users of the Kindle itself. The on-the-go device is available, should the user wish to purchase one, and if so, seamless synchronization is a guarantee.

Thousands of Titles

The Kindle store itself offers over 600,000 titles to browse, preview, and purchase. In addition, the Kindle app provides access to the 1.8 million e-books available for free from Archive.org.

Thus, with the Kindle app, it really is like visiting a library. Hundreds of thousands of titles are a click away and no purchase is required.

With these titles, research is also a snap. The app’s user interface is simple to navigate and while it may not offer a ton of features, it does afford users some basic tools:

  • Bookmark pages
  • Highlight text
  • Annotate
  • Last page read (the app remembers where you left off)

Improvements to Come

Even now though, improvements to the apps are on the horizon. For instance, the app for Android was released at the end of June and at the time Amazon had already promised to work on two missing features:

  • Text search
  • The ability to buy e-books within the app

Other app features are sure to come as well, as Amazon aims to remain a step ahead in the suddenly competitive market. To do so, it will need to listen to its users and innovate internally.

The release of free Kindle apps for the PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, and Blackberry – indicate that Amazon is ready for the challenge: To lead, not follow, in the e-reader market.

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