Friday, February 10, 2012

Kindle for iPhone

Many people I have talked to seem to think that the small screen of an iPod makes it not very ideal as an eBook reader. I have news for them: They're wrong. The iPod may be smaller than a paperback book, but its size makes it so convenient for reading. If you're going blind, you can make your text pretty large (at the slight expense of having to turn the page more often), but you can carry hundreds of eBooks in your pocket! That was actually one of the major reasons I bought an iPod Touch.

The first eBook app I tried for the iPod Touch was the Kindle app. Kindle for iPhone is very accessible, easy to use, and boasts a huge selection of over 1,000,000 books, including best-sellers. When I got the Kindle app, you could still purchase books from the built-in store, but Apple soon made it so eBook apps could no longer have in-app purchasing. Now you actually have to go to Amazon's Kindle store to buy or download books.

The first thing I did with my Kindle for iPhone app was download literally hundreds of free classics. I actually read a few of them, too ;) I didn't stick with Kindle for very long, but it's actually a really great app, and I'm going to go through its features with some handy screen caps taken from my iPod screen after the jump.

Kindle for iPhone gives you a great deal of the features of the Kindle device. If you have an Amazon account, you can purchase books and have them sent to your Kindle app. In my case, I have a bunch of classics that I "purchased" loaded on my Amazon account. Amazon actually keeps your bookmarks, highlights and notes synched between your devices, so if you say, have a Kindle Fire and Kindle for iPhone, Amazon will keep your reading updated between your two devices.

You can also download the Kindle for PC app and have all of your purchased books available between your computer and your iPod with all of your bookmarks, notes, and highlights synched.

Kindle for iPhone also allows you to send documents to your iPod with a Kindle address. You have to go to to authorize e-mails that can send documents to your Kindle, but it's very easy to set it up. Amazon also allows you to keep your books and documents stored on the Amazon Cloud. These were features that were added after I stopped using the app, but I think they're actually pretty exciting. So, if you ever do get a Kindle, you can have all of your documents and books stored on your Kindle account for easy access and synching!

Once you've got your Kindle app fired up, you'll end up in your library. The Kindle app is the only eBook app I've ever seen that only displays your books in list view.

The app lists your books by recent (being the last book you had opened), Title, and Author. I always just kept it displayed by recent, but if you have a large collection (as I do; not all of my books are displayed here XD), the Title and Author sort make it that much easier to find the book you're looking for.

You don't have to keep all of your books on the app, either. Amazon keeps all of your books available in the archive. (I don't have a screen cap for this, but you can find your archive at the bottom of your 'All Items' list here.)

And here's the archive. You can use the little letters at the side of he screen to jump to that letter in your Title or Author list. All of the books you've ever purchased from Amazon will show up on this list, so if you want to save some space on your iPod and only have the books in your library that you're currently reading, or plan to read soon listed, you can access any of your other purchased books easily any time you like.

Now I've made the distinction that this is purchased books, because if you add books from a source other than the Amazon store, it won't save it in your archive. However, since Kindle reads the mobi format, you can get books from other sources, so long as they're mobi. You can even open them in Safari and Safari will send it to your Kindle app.

Using the Kindle app is very easy. Tap a book to open it. Tapping the right side of the "page" advances you to the next page, and tapping the left side moves it to the previous page.

Tap and hold a word to define it (I couldn't get the dictionary to download ^^;). You can also select passages and press 'Highlight' to highlight it, 'Note' to add an annotation, and 'Share' to share it on Facebook or Twitter.

Tap the center of the screen and it pops up a menu that allows you to change your fonts, return to your library, access the table of contents, or search the text for keywords.

Press the 'aA' in the options to pop up this screen here. You can change your font size, the theme, and the brightness.

If you have any questions about anything I haven't covered here, ask me in the comments!

The Kindle app is one of the most basic eBook readers in the app store, but also one of the most accessible to new users. It doesn't have a myriad of options to bog you down, and the interface is simple and streamlined. I have never had any problems with this app (like crashing or lagging). All that being said, I like Kindle for what it is, and the fact that Amazon actually treats you like a Kindle owner, even if you only own their free iPod app, but the Kindle app is one of my least favorite eBook apps; if only because I've found apps that are prettier and have more advanced features.