Free Kindle for iPhone makes e-reading a joy

While it is great that Amazon decided to lower the cost for the Kindle 2 to $259, a free version of the tool is also available on your iPhone.

You could use the Kindle for iPhone as a stand-alone book reading app, but that would be missing the might behind this superb tool. Its real strength lies in the app’s integration with the Amazon Kindle to offer a single version of a digital book readers can access across multiple devices.

Do many people own an iPhone and a Kindle? I have no idea, but I do.

First, some background on this reviewer. I love books, I collect (albeit passively) first editions, and imagining life without ink on paper frightens me. Yet I love the Kindle, the breakthrough e-reader that can hold thousands of books in a gadget slightly thicker than a piece of matzoh. It’s darn convenient, yet so is the companion app for the iPhone for a different reason. You don’t always have your Kindle with you, but you most certainly have your iPhone.

If you’re riding the bus to work, waiting in a long line or just eating a solo lunch and forgot reading material, tap the Kindle icon on your iPhone and pick up that novel where you left off. That’s the best part of this app: your last “bookmark” might have been made on the Kindle, not the iPhone. No matter; the devices sync, wirelessly, so if your last page was on the iPhone, the iPod touch or the Kindle, the gadget you open next picks up in the same spot.

It’s a beautiful integration that even works for downloading books. You can download a new book directly to your iPhone from Amazon for the ride home and then open in the Kindle before bed to read the next chapter. No other book-reading device has such flexibility. 

Book prices vary, with the Kindle version of popular titles like Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol selling for $9.99 (less than the $20 or so in hardcover), yet e-versions of paperbacks sell for about the same price as actual paper versions.

As much as I loathe the thought of a world without words printed on paper, I do love the convenience of e-books. The Kindle for iPhone is a key reason why.

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