The Bottom Line
- App is free to download
- Plenty of books available for purchase
- App is easy to use
- Books cost about $10 each
- Reading on the iPhone's small screen can be difficult
- The Kindle for iPhone app is a free download from the App Store.
- E-books can be purchased directly from your iPhone, and cost about $10 each.
- Version 1.1 of the app, now available, offers several improvements, such as the ability to change the color of the text.
Guide Review - Kindle for iPhone App: A Free, Easy E-Book Reader
Interested in reading e-books, but no so interested in shelling out nearly $400 for an e-book reader like the Amazon Kindle? If you own an iPhone, you don't have to: Amazon's Kindle app for the iPhone is free. While this handy little application can't compete with the experience of using a true e-book reader, it's still fun to use.
Like a regular Kindle reader, the iPhone app lets you browse and purchase books, which are downloaded directly to your phone. You browse the Kindle store in the iPhone's Safari browser, though, not directly from within the Kindle app. Most of the e-books cost $9.99, though you will find some titles that sell for less.
Once you download a book (which you can do over 3G or Wi-Fi connections) the title automatically shows up in your Kindle library. And if you own a regular Kindle, you'll see that its library is automatically synced with the one on your iPhone.
The entire browsing and purchasing process is a breeze. Reading e-books on a device with a 3.5-inch screen is another story. The screen is small, and so is the text, though you can adjust it. But the bigger the text, the more you'll be turning pages (which is done by swiping the screen). Either way, the experience is not comparable to reading a real book, or even reading one on the roomy 9-inch screen of a dedicated Kindle reader.
New in version 1.1 of the iPhone Kindle app is the ability to switch from a landscape to a portrait view, which can make the reading experience more pleasant. You also can switch the color of the text from black lettering on a white page to sepia-colored letter or white text on a black page. Both options can ease the strain on your eyes.
The Kindle app for iPhone isn't a must-have. But it's fun to use, and it's a great way to read e-books if you don't have access to a dedicated e-book reader.