Kindle for PC: Try E-Books without Buying an E-Reader

Last month, one of the few new pieces of news at the Windows 7 rollout was the fact that Amazon was releasing a piece of Windows software for reading Kindle e-books. The software is now available for download -- and the site says that a Mac version is coming soon.

I’d like to tell you what I think of Kindle for PC, but I can’t just yet -- anytime the software tries to download a book (including one I just plunked down $9.99 for), it gives me a cryptic error and tells me to try again later. Which I’ll do. But I like the concept, at least -- I don’t see myself curling up with a laptop to read a novel, but I own several hundred dollars’ worth of books in Kindle form, and getting access to them on another device is a boon.

(Although I just realized: What I’d really like is a Kindle for the Web that would let me read everything I’d paid for on any Web-connected device, no downloads required. Wonder if Amazon’s contemplated such an app?)

Over at Wired’s Gadget Lab, Charlie Sorrel is intrigued by the fact that Amazon’s artwork for the Kindle for PC download page shows a book with color art, and he wonders whether the company’s hinting that a color Kindle is in the works. Actually, a color Kindle has been available since March–it’s known as the Apple iPhone, and it became a Kindle when Amazon released e-reader software for it. The iPhone app has always been able to display color images.

If Amazon keeps on selling Kindle hardware, it’ll presumably sell a color device someday, although someday may take a long time to arrive if the company is committed to the E-Ink technology. (I doubt that color E-Ink screens that are good enough to display satisfying pictures are going to arrive anytime soon.) But you gotta think Amazon wants to be prepared for the eventuality of color Kindle e-readers, and it’s already been saying that it wants to put Kindle books on a variety of devices. Color images in Kindle e-books are just concrete evidence that Amazon thinks of Kindle as being something greater than a single hardware platform that happens to be monochrome-only at the moment.

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