Now Available – Kindle for PC

Amazon have released a Beta Version of Kindle for PC. They take pains to point out its free and Winnie the Pooh gets prime real estate.

Here’s a quick video (almost falling asleep here so please excuse the lack of finish) –

Kindle for PC – Features

  1. Read on the PC without needing a Kindle. 
  2. Access your Kindle books on any PC.
  3. Shop for Books in the Kindle Store. All 360K Kindle books are available.
  4. WhisperSync for synchronization of last page read and annotations. 
  5. Create bookmarks and view notes and highlights.
  6. Lots of font size options.
  7. Sliding scale for words per line.
  8. Books you buy also work on Kindle and iPhone (via Kindle for iPhone).
  9. Very simple and painfully easy to use.
  10. Use mouse scroll wheel or arrow keys to turn pages.

There are some limitations -

  1. Newspapers, magazines and blogs are not available on Kindle for PC at the moment. 
  2. No highlights or notes are possible – although you can refer to notes you’ve made on the Kindle or the iPhone.
  3. Not much customization. 
  4. In international countries book availability varies i.e. different countries have different number and range of books available (thanks to rapidblue for the update).

Kindle for PC – Minimum System Requirements

System requirements for Kindle for PC -

  • A PC with a 500MHz Intel or AMD processor or faster
  • At least 128MB of RAM
  • Screen resolution of 800×600 or greater
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, or Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • 100MB of available disk space
  • If you can’t match that you probably need a new PC anyways. It’s interesting to note that this fits in very well with most Netbooks.

    Is Kindle for PC targeted at Netbooks (in addition to Nook)?

    You have to wonder.

    While adding Kindle for PC negates an advantage the Nook would have had, the bigger opportunity/possibility might be how well Kindle for PC fits with netbooks.

    • There are projected to be 20-30 million netbooks sold in 2009.
    • Kindle for PC’s very low system requirements make it ideal for netbooks.
    • The super-simple design and extreme ease of use help make it ideal for netbooks.

    How important are netbooks going to be for ebooks and reading?

    Perhaps a lot. They cost only a little more than eReaders. Plus there are tens of millions of them and they are very portable and have great battery life.

    By releasing Kindle for PC early, and having more brand recognition, will Amazon steal a lead here too? That would make Amazon the front-runner in -

    • Dedicated eReaders. 
    • iPhone Reading Apps. 
    • PC Reading Software. 

    Putting it in great position to sell a ton of ebooks in the future.

    Kindle for PC and Piracy

    All you need is your Amazon log-in. That’s a little too easy.

    • This is going to get abused a lot.
    • Amazon are hoping people don’t share their account since people might buy something else.
    • Kindle for PC also gives a lot of hackers a chance to try and crack the DRM and crack the program.

    Should be interesting to see how soon cracks/hacks appear – my money’s on 3 days.

    You can get Kindle for PC (Beta) at Amazon.

    Hat tip to TeleRead and Welt for catching Kindle for PC availability news first.

    9 Responses

    1. Hey there,

      Good review :-)

      Just a few things to note:
      1) Highlights and notes coming in next version – http://www.amazon.com/KindleForPCComingSoon/?tag=thrshoguideaa-20
      2) Is available internationally – note under the main image explaining that if you are non-US customer, book availability may vary.
      3) Doubt people will give out their Amazon account details because most books have a limit of only being loaded onto about 5 or 6 devices simultaneously.

      Now really looking forward to the Mac version :-)

    2. As far as piracy is concerned…even without a hack, how about screenshots? OCR is very good and fast these days. It wouldn’t take much effort to grab a screenshot of each page, and set up an automated script to take all the resulting jpgs, plop them into a PDF, and run OCR on it. So…

      …is it possible for you to take screenshots of book pages while the app is running? Or is it disabled? This will be one way that non-hackers could pirate and share books. Even with no OCR in the mix, PDFs of the jpgs could be shared if possible.

    3. Really good point.

      Screenshots would work and would be easy.

      You could setup a windows macro that –
      1) turns a page on Kindle for PC.
      2) take a screenshot using standard windows screenshot.
      3) converts it via OCR to text.
      4) append to a text file.

      Piracy is definitely easier.

    4. True guys, that is actually an “easy” way of copying the book. Haven’t heard of it happening yet though (and Barnes & Noble’s PC app has been out for a while already)…

    5. I downloaded it yesterday and gave it a try. It does have a lot of work to go, but I like the idea and I hope to see a lot of improvements in the future. But it’ll be nice to throw some free books into it as well as some things from around the web.

    6. Not bad for the initial version. But: at work I have a proxy to connect to internet, Kindle for PC does not work with proxy. Took my laptop home to download a book. Came back to work expecting that it’ll work but no such luck. Seems you need to be on the internet all the time which defeats portability.

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