Save $360 by turning your iPhone into a Kindle? Less than a month after the debut of its much-anticipated Amazon Kindle2 e-book reader, Amazon opened its formidable e-book library to a much larger potential audience: Apple iPhone and iPod Touch users. [CR]


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  1. I_have_something_to_say says:

    If you want to read books on a tiny screen go ahead. Logic and eye strain are your only enemies.

    • Robert Synnott says:

      @I_have_something_to_say: I often read out-of-copyright stuff on my iPhone when waiting for/on trains and similar.

      Of course, like anything involving copyright, the legal implications of doing this in more than one country are sufficiently complicated that we’ll probably see Kindle for iPhone in Europe in 2011 or so.

    • WorldHarmony says:

      @I_have_something_to_say: You must be assuming that the “tiny screen” holds the same amount of content a book page would hold. Of course it does not. The font size is the same as (or larger than) that which you would find in a book. making reading quite comfortable. The only complaint I would have is that I have to “turn the page” more often than I would for a book, but that’s not a major complaint.

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    Why do companies insist on cramming even more stuff into a phone?

    Sometimes less is more.

    • Dragonis says:

      Exactly. My phone makes calls. My camera takes pictures. My laptop is for internet, and books are for reading.

      Any single one of these is better at what it does than some “swiss army gadget” with multiple features.

      • macaddct1984 says:

        @Dragonis: Yeah, just like all these people trying to cram stuff into my computer. Just let it be a calculator people, sheesh! If I’d wanted a word processor and a gaming machine, I’d have bought a typewriter and an arcade cabinet!

    • Lee Gibson says:


      And sometimes adding software to a computer is free pie. The question is, does it work well? Does it solve a problem? Does it impede other functions?

      In my experience of the iPhone Kindle client, the answer is 1) yes 2) yes 3) no.

      My phone makes calls (rarely…I don’t like talking on the phone). It also gets email wherever I am, lets me play games and music, and turns off when I find it intrusive and/or inconvenient.

      And, with an ebook reader, saves me from lugging around one of the half dozen or so books I read per month.

  3. Ron Mexico says:

    I tried out the app yesterday, and it’s pretty cool. You pick what book you want from Amazon’s website (either on your computer or on the iPhone itself), and it’s there the next time you open the app. Unfortunately, you can’t browse/buy from the app itself, but that may be coming.

    I can’t see myself actually reading a whole book on the iPhone, but who knows, if I’m stuck in an airport somewhere with nothing else to do, desperation may set in and cause me to fire it up. That’s what it’s really all about, making sure there is never a moment that your customers are not able to send you money.

  4. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Amazon can kiss my @$$ over anything related to its Kindle. After the overcharging shenanigans and the DRM nonsense, they’re lucky I even shop there anymore for regular books.

    • trellis23 says:

      @speedwell, avatar of snark:
      Forget that it’s the publishers who have the biggest effect on pricing, and that Amazon actually sells most ebooks cheaper than anywhere else? Pretty much the same for drm, find me a LEGAL ebook seller that doesn’t include DRM…. what does that mean? It’s not Amazon’s fault, it’s the publishers/authors.

  5. MoreFunThanToast says:

    I prefer reading books printed on paper. Kindle never seemed like a good deal to me personally since the initial investment is high and the digital books aren’t cheap either.

    I guess if I were traveling a lot and/or commuting long distances I might not want to carry heavy books with me though, but then I’d probably get motion sickness from reading on the trains.

  6. hunter3742 says:

    I see this as a good sign – I’m really hoping Amazon opens the Kindle library to third-party manufacturers. Of course, opening, thus far, only to another developer who’s even tighter on their control of what gets into and out of their devices may not be as hopeful as it might seem…

  7. pahncrd says:

    It isn’t exactly difficult to read on the iPhone. The refresh is great and the screen is nice. It isn’t like you have to fit a full page of text on the screen at a time. I have read many books on my iPhone and it wasn’t difficult and caused no eye-strain.

  8. Thorgryn says:

    I have a Kindle and love it. You can read books on a PDA and an Iphone, but they do not have the e-ink screen, which leads to much more eye strain. Also, I doubt that you can read books on your iPhone for 2 weeks solid between recharges.

    As for the DRM complainers, what is your solution for preventing one non DRM copy of a book from being uploaded to a torrent site and downloaded 43 million times?

    • howie_in_az says:

      @Thorgryn: Conversely, you cannot answer/make phone calls or play videos on a Kindle. If I had the choice I’d get the iPhone simply because it does more.

      The problem I see with the Kindle is due to the DRM (for which there’s no solution to) — one cannot trade-in their eBook towards new eBooks whereas one can do that with mere mortal books.

  9. Vanilla5 says:

    It’s really not that hard to read on the iPhone. Most book reader apps allow you to pinch and expand to make the text larger as well as flip into landscape mode.

  10. HawkWolf says:

    Argh, replies are broken. @thorgryn: What is is the solution for preventing one DRM’d copy of a book from being uploaded to a torrent site and downloaded 43 million times?

    DRM works great until that one person breaks it. Then, magically, because you are copying information and not a physical object, you can reproduce it an infinite number of times.

  11. pahncrd says:

    @ Thorgryn

    The iPhone really doesn’t cause eye-strain in the way that most PDAs and media devices do. I have read on a fair number of different types of devices such as treos, palms, pocket pcs, netbooks and other such devices. The worst was the palms pdas and the best by far is the iPhone. It is comfortable to read from, and I know I will always have it on me if I happen to have some free time. I don’t really think it matters that I can’t read it for two-weeks without charging. It gets thrown into its cradle every night anyway.

    The kindle seems nice and all, but I really don’t see a point to it since I already have an iPhone and it works great for reading from.

  12. shiftless says:

    I find the iPhone screen to be bit claustrophobic. But if Apple really is releasing a larger format iPod-like tablet then it would be a killer. For now, the Kindle 2 is better and even the iPhone screen starts to bug my eyes after a while.

    But hey, glad to see Kindle books crossing over to multiple devices which is a smart move by any means.

  13. brennan_bm says:

    I think I might actually use this…

    Right now when I’m on the subway I just play solitaire so this would be a better use of my time.

    Are the books in the iTunes store?

    • Ron Mexico says:

      @brennan_bm: Nope, you still have to purchase them from (that’s the point, after all). When you purchase a book, it sends it to your iPhone. You can see how it works by downloading the first chapter of any book in the Kindle store.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    Whoa. Color me shocked for no one blaming Apple for the Kindle software’s draconian DRM scheme. Err, yet.

  15. MyLud says:

    I had all the same reservations about reading on the iPhone, but was shocked at how smart it was.

    It converted me in less than a minute, which immediately led to me mocking my friends who had bought Kindles.

    and now I’ll always have something to read if I get stuck somewhere :)


  16. N.RobertMoses says:

    But you still have to pay for these DRM files. Support your local used book store where you can get a better deal.

    • Balentius says:

      @N.RobertMoses: …and insure that the author gets absolutely nothing from the sale, versus the 5-10% they get from the first sale.

      That will teach them not to use DRM!

  17. sburnap42 says:

    All the problems of the Kindle with none of the benefits!

  18. aguacarbonica says:

    I am waiting for the day when Amazon releases the news that it is changing the name of the Kindle to something less awful. Every time I hear it, I cringe.

  19. Danny Livewire says:

    Well.. if you read PDFs in general, this is a great. Just being able to read on the go, as opposed to being stuck in a chair in front of a screen….

  20. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I’ll stick to using my iPhone (when I get one) as a phone/mini computer/spy device. I’ll stick to turning real pages of a real book if I want to read.

  21. sakanagai says:

    I like the Kindle App well enough, but it still doesn’t make it comfortable to read for an extended duration. My Kindle doesn’t have the animated transitions, color pictures, or gesture-based navigation, but it is a lot easier to read on and shop in the Kindle Store. I’ve been using the App version when I only have a few minutes to dedicate to reading or when I don’t feel like carrying anything more than my phone with me.

  22. Brontide says:

    Yes, because spending $100+ upfront and $960/year to use the kindle application on your *squint-o-vision* iPhone is really better than spending $360 on good ebook reader. But, hell, it’s only money.

    Of course you could spend even less and just buy the dead tree versions, you can even share them with friends or resell them when you are done!

    • sakanagai says:

      @snowmoon: I don’t think the point of this post was to go out and buy an iPhone instead of a Kindle, rather existing iPhone users (of which there are many) can use this app to have at least het benefits of the Kindle Store and holding off on getting the device. Also, the application is iPod Touch compatible (starting at ~$220 with no additional fees)

      • Brontide says:

        @sakanagai: The iPhone is still a very expensive toy. While it can work on the touch you are still contrained by the *squint-o-vision* screen compared to the high contrast, no strain, reading on a kindle.

        And, honestly, I was making fun of both since they are a total waste of time and money for most people.

        • sakanagai says:

          @snowmoon: “…kindle books are generally not cheaper…” [from print editions, I assume]

          Yeah, actually. They are. While the $10 figure gets thrown around a lot, that price is for new releases and bestsellers. In general, the Kindle version of a book is a little cheaper than the print version.

  23. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @snowmoon – why is the iPhone or Kindle a waste of time and money for most people? There are plenty of people who travel quite a lot and don’t want to haul several paperbacks with them. And there are plenty of people who desire connectivity on a larger screen and like the iPhone more than a Blackberry.

    It’s only a waste of time and money for YOU if you don’t have a use for either or both. For a great deal of people, it’s useful. For MOST people they’re probably entertaining and useful items but are in no way absolutely necessary. It doesn’t mean they’re a waste.

    • Brontide says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: The iPhone and personal BB phones are expensive toys. Clocking in on average at $80/month to provide service to these devices they are a huge money sink hole.

      The Kindle is at least cutting edge tech and a wonderful, no monthly charge, reading device even if it is $360.

      When you consider the fact that kindle books are generally not cheaper, are more restrictive, and that even the ebook screen does not beat paper in terms of contrast and readability I’m left wondering how they sold so many devices and why people are so keen on using this on their iPhone.

      • redkamel says:

        @snowmoon: yeah, I guess if you dont need it, is a toy. But I have multiple schedules for work and various superiors, application deadlines, exams and meetings, so its nice to have internet and email on the go, since I am only home about 8 hours a day (to sleep). And it syncs with a computer. Not to mention whenever I get sent somewhere random I dont have to get a map the night before..I just get directions on the fly.

        Not to be “getting back” but I think the Kindle is the toy…it is inferior to book in terms of what you can do with it, and is more expensive. Unless you are taking reference books or more than four books on a trip, its not worth it.

  24. Gabe Edwards says:

    I don’t get it. I’ve been using eReader on my iPhone ever since I got it, my iPod touch before that, and my Palm PDAs for years before that. It’s a fantastic way to read books, since you can fit a library in your pocket, and it’s nothing new. Maybe the Kindle selection is larger, but I wouldn’t know because I’m Canadian and not even allowed to download the Kindle app.

  25. eyemandy says:

    I got this app and bought a book to try it out. I have a Kindle 2, but honestly, I’ve been saying all along that if I could just buy the books for my iPhone I wouldn’t need a Kindle! So far I’m finding it a lot easier than both paper books and the Kindle to hold and read in my preferred reading position: lying down. Books are a pain to my hands to hold and keep open while tossing and turning on a chaise, or in bed. The Kindle makes it easy to accidentally touch buttons when holding it in a comfortable way, but the iPhone is just right. You can adjust the contrast and brightness to make it easier on the eyes, but granted, it’s not ideal to have to do this every time you wish to read and then adjust it back when finished. I will probably be selling my Kindle 2, or giving it to a friend. I’ve tried other iPhone book apps, but there was a lack of titles available, and the ones that were available had a cost much higher than the paper version. I still like the idea of a Kindle, but now I’d rather have an all-in-one device. I used to be adamantly opposed to all-in-one devices because they never did anything particularly well, but that was before the iPhone. If the rumors of the next generation iPhone having a larger screen are true, it’ll be even better!

  26. Lee Dickey says:

    The app is excellent. The books are actually very easy to read and you can make the font bigger or smaller with a total of about 5 different sizes. The default (middle) is perfect and doesn’t bother my eyes at all.

    I see this app as being a God send to the IT folks out there who want their Windows 2008 Server books and Linux books but would like to fit them into their pocket. This app is fantastic. I’ve read almost 2 books on it now without any eye strain. Just battery drain with the phone being on continuously.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I have a Kindle II and an Iphone and I totally enjoy them both. The Kindle is actually easier to use than a book. Horrors you say but the Kindle saves your place so whenever you turn it on you just keep reading from where you left off and it now syncs with the Iphone so you can read a few chapters if you are waiting in line of even in the john (I know we all do that). The world is changing. Got my new Yellow Pages today and it’s as skinny as a fashion model. It’s all online.

  28. sakanagai says:

    It doesn’t look like samples or periodicals carry over to the iPhone version. Can anyone confirm?

  29. Thread says:

    @sakanagai they do sync but since, as far as I can tell, samples don’t show up in the “archived items” folder you don’t get any sense of progress. If you leave the app open for a minute or two, they’ll show up on the main screen on their own.