Kindling on the iPhone

I downloaded the Kindle iPhone app today after reading about it in the Times, and I took it for a quick spin. Here’s the title screen:

Title screen for Kindle on the iPhone

The title screen for the Kindle iPhone app

Wait a sec..that’s no Kindle! That’s a paper book!

The Good

  • I synced it with my Kindle2 and it took me to the “last read” section of the book I was reading. Now this is going to make us really have to re-think the act of reading itself.
  • Swipe to turn pages — better than scrolling
  • Nice to see even a touch of color (in the hyperlinks)

The one thing the Kindle doesn’t have: color

The Meh

  • Still insists on justifying the text. I’m sure there’s some technical reason for this, but I would love to see how it reads ragged.
  • Here’s where I’d really *love* to have text-to-speech
  • How do I put an eBook (EPUB) on this thing?
  • Shouldn’t the Kindle iPhone app allow my to buy stuff inside the app?*

* When Hamilton (who works at the Times) complained that he was having trouble buying a newspaper with the app, I went and tried it myself, shrugging off the weird implications (buying a “paper” to read on your iPhone??). It seemed so roundabout, going to the website to buy today’s paper edition of the news to read on my Kindle when the actual website for the Times or WSJ or whatever organization is a few keypokes away. The tedium of those extra http requests is certainly not worth the reading experience of the Kindle iPhone app. Anyways, it didn’t work for me either: I went to Safari, logged into Amazon, and bought a copy of today’s Wall Street Journal (for $.75) and when I synced my Kindle app, it wasn’t there. Boo hiss.


Stanza should be quaking slightly in its boots, though the closed-ness of the Kindle app really damages its networthiness, or at least, my unbridled full-bodied embrace of it, and the Kindle for that matter. The question is whether having fanboys is better than having general consumers fork over actual money remains to be seen.

Grade: B-

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