14 Mar 2012
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Kindle App of the Week

App of the Week: Kindle

Yes, I do mean that Kindle – the over hyped e-book reader from Amazon – and I admit I had some reservations to begin with. After all, I own a Kobo wireless e-reader that I use a lot, why would I need Kindle on my phone? 

More importantly why would you want to even try reading something on a screen that small? This app had ‘waste of time’ written all over it.  Which will teach me to be a Little Miss Know It All - because Kindle is now one of the most used apps on my phone. 

Free for iOS and Android – and available free for desktop as well – once you’ve installed Kindle, all you need is an Amazon.com account and you’re off. Simply find the book you want, click the buy now button - even if it’s free, you use this button – and once you’ve completed the transaction the book is sent to your phone. You don’t have to plug anything in, tap sync or even update anything. When you next open your Kindle app it will simply pull in your book. 

Turning the page is simply a question of tapping the side of the screen – and is a vast improvement on my Kobo wifi which still uses a button that has a lag. Once you have the rhythm going, it quickly becomes as easy as turning a page. When you close out, the page is automatically bookmarked so you can pick up where you left off.  As you may have guessed if you’ve been following this app series, I like easy – and this is as easy it gets.

So that leaves the question of why you would read a book on your iPhone. Leaving aside the arguments around e-books vs traditional print books (I personally love both but I digress), being able to read something on your phone is simply convenient. I spend around three hours a day commuting. Books and magazines are heavy while e-readers need to be recharged. All of these things take up space in a bag or briefcase and can easily be forgotten in the mad rush out the door to catch a bus or ferry (yes, the voice of experience). The one thing I never forget, however, is my phone – ergo I am now never without reading material. 

"But what about the tiny screen?” I hear you ask. Well, you read emails on your smart phone don’t you? Visit your Facebook page? Order your pizza? Just as with every other app that requires you to read, you can make the Kindle page bigger and change from portrait to landscape for better comfort. The first time you use the app, your mind insists you’re going to go blind peering at minute print on a minute screen, but neither the print nor the screen are smaller than any other app on your phone. 

I noticed one other interesting thing this morning when I was preparing to write this article. When I looked through the books on my iPhone, at least 80% of them were either business or self development books, while my Kobo carries around 80% fiction. I’ve done this subconsciously and it makes sense, since when I’m commuting I’m more likely to be thinking about work in some fashion. 

E-books for business are often quite a quick read so are perfect for travelling and the Amazon store has a huge number of business books available on Kindle, with many of them are free or costing less than ten dollars. In fact if you search ‘business books’ on Amazon, you will get 56,353 results – that’s enough to keep even the hungriest book worm out of trouble. 

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