If you’ve used or seen much coverage of the Apple iPad, you’ll have already seen Apple’s iBooks app which allows you to purchase and read e-books on their recently released tablet device. This is also coming to the iPhone with the OS 4 update in the Summer, but if you can’t wait until then, you could try Amazon’s Kindle app for the iPhone and iPod Touch…
Like Amazon’s Kindle for PC/Mac desktop application, if you’ve already purchased books on the Kindle store these will be available for download in ‘Archived Items’ after signing in with the app. This is painless as expected, and you’re good to go in seconds. Once everything is sorted, you’ll be able to see all your books in the ‘Home’ page of the application, with your books organised by recent, title or author.
Naturally, the app is limited by the small screen real-estate of the iPhone and iPod Touch, but everything formats really well on the device and the reading experience is quite good. Obviously, due to the nature of the iPhone’s reflective display, reading with any form of bright background is made difficult.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that all of the features available on the Kindle desktop application has been ported to the iPhone with great effectiveness. The user interface is designed to be as minimal as possible to make as much use of the screen size available as the app can. All your books are available to read in full screen with nothing to distract from the reading experience, but if you need to access a certain feature, it’s extremely easy to do so.
Two such features ported to the iPhone are the option to take notes and make highlights in the book. I found the implementation of these to be great and extremely easy to use. If you’ve ever used copy and paste within the iPhone OS you’ll be right at home, as all you have to do is press and hold on a word and you’ll be given two pointers at either side which you can drag to wherever you want. Two options on top of the selection allow you to either make a note or highlight with ease. Taking a note is as easy as writing an SMS with the iPhone’s keyboard and highlights are noticeably given a shallow yellow background.
Users in the US (and anywhere else who have got an iPad) who own some books from the Kindle store may also want to try out the Amazon Kindle iPad application which is available to use, offering a much larger library of books compared to Apple’s own iBooks offering. It’s been given a full colour interface which has been optimised for the iPad. Again, you can choose from all of your books on the ‘Home’ screen of the app, and you’re offered a lot more tablet based features including page turning animations, customisable backgrounds and of course a large colour screen to match!
If you’re an iPhone or iPod Touch owner, you should definitely download the Kindle iPhone app if e-books are your thing, and iPad owners should take a look at it too with a much larger catalogue of books than is offered on the iBook store, all with great formatting and syncing capability across all Kindle apps and of course the Amazon Kindle 2 and Kindle DX devices themselves.