Amazon gets it: Kindle for iPhone

Anyone that reads my blog knows that I’ve been agonizing over getting an ebook reader. I nearly got a Sony Reader a few weeks back, but just couldn’t swallow the $400 price tag for a single-purpose device. I’ve been hovering over the Kindle 2 Buy button as well ;-)

The real reason I wanted either a Sony or Kindle was the access to the larger bookstore. eReader.com is good, but it doesn’t have near the depth of selections. With the new Kindle for iPhone app, I now have access to the huge catalog of ebooks as Amazon.

Personally, I now see no need for a dedicated single-purpose ebook reader. Sure the display is close to paper, but does that really matter. I’m sure the newer generation of people used to tiny phone screens, MP3 players, etc. don’t really care. It’s a dying generation of people, trying to hang onto paper that truly embrace dedicated ebook readers. We’ve seen it before: CRTs are superior to LCDs, the original IBM keyboard is the best, notebooks can never replace full-powered desktops, CDs can’t replace vinyl records, MP3s don’t sound as good as CDs, etc. etc. Old technology always lost. People adapt. People embrace the new. People move on.

The mere fact that I can whip out my iPod Touch and start reading a book on a gorgeous, albeit small, screen isn’t a negative at all. The fonts are crisp and clean, the page movement is smooth and fast–uh better than ereaders–, and it remembers my place. What more do you need?

The Kindle for iPhone app is bare bones, but more than adequate. You can buy the book through Amazon on the Safari browser and it appears when you open the app. You can instantly change the font size (the eReader.com app doesn’t do this instantly), dog-ear (ie bookmark) a page by touching the corner of a page, among other things. Moving from page to page is done with a left/right swipe. Personally, I prefer up/down, but that’s not a biggie. No dictionary support that I can see, but hopefully that’s coming.

I love the fact that you can download a free preview of a book. I don’t know exactly how much of the book it is, but it’s quite a bit. For the one I tried it was nearly 4 chapters! Good strategy I think.

I predict that there will quickly be more books sold to iPhone/Touch owners than Kindle owners. It’s a no brainer. Thanks Amazon! Sorry eReader :-(