Amazon recently released their desktop Kindle application for the Mac, meaning that you can now get Kindle for PC and Mac OS X. It’s also available as a mobile app for iPhone and iPad as well as Blackberrys.
When you download the application, you’ll be asked to log in with your Amazon account, which will then present you with all the books that you’ve purchased from the Kindle store after you’ve synced it with your account. It’s split in to two tabs: Home and Archived Items. The ‘Home’ screen will be blank at first, with all the items you’ve previously bought in the ‘Archived Items’ section. If you’re a user of the Amazon Kindle DX or the Kindle 2 (be it an of either the and have already bought a selection of books, this is where most of them will appear.
Any books that you want to read on the application will have to first be downloaded into your home section. You can do this with any books by right clicking on a title and selecting ‘Add to Home’. As the books are seldom over half a megabyte in size, the download will only take a few seconds and they’re good for reading.
Reading a book is as you’d expect – you know, black text on a white background – but this isn’t where the Kindle application impresses…The great thing about not only this, but all the other Kindle applications, as well as the device itself, is that they all sync your progress to the cloud.
I can read a book on my Kindle on the train home, continue right where I left off on my desktop application when I get back, before picking up my Kindle again at night to read another chapter. Each time, my progress is synced to the cloud allowing me to carry on at the same spot when I pick up any device with the Kindle application installed. Naturally, this depends on your Kindle’s wireless being on so it can note your progress, but if it is you’re good to go.
Similarly to when reading on the Kindle itself, you can make notes and marks in whatever book you’re reading. All of the notes I’ve made on my Kindle were transferred over to the desktop application through the cloud too, so you don’t need to worry about those syncing over; everything’s handled automatically and well executed.
There’s also the ‘Go To’ option, which allows you to skip through the book, either the cover, contents, beginning, or a specific location which you can define. You can also sync to the furthest page read if you’ve lost where you were in the book.
There’s also the option to bookmark whatever page you’re on, which is a handy feature if there’s something of note that you need to remember. This can be done by selecting the ‘Bookmark’ button on the top of the window, or simply clicking on the upper right corner of the screen. All existing bookmarks that you’ve made will appear in the ‘Notes & Marks’ sidebar, which can be shown and hidden at any time. If you need to make the text larger or smaller, you can do this easily too, as well as changing the amount of words that appear on a line.
When shopping on the Kindle store, you can choose to deliver a book that you purchase or wish to sample to any Kindle or computer you want, so a book can be sent to either your Mac or PC client as well as your Kindle itself if you own one. Unfortunately, you still can’t read newspapers or magazines on the client, as these are available only for the Kindle itself. I’m not sure what the problem is preventing this, but it would certainly be nice to see the feature added in a future update!
Whether or not you’re a Kindle user, if you want to purchase and read e-books from the Kindle store, the availability of the free client is a great step towards ensuring that the content is available on as many devices as possible, especially now there’s the competition of the Apple iPad bookstore. You can also try out free samples of books before purchasing them, so it’s well worth checking out for any book lover!