- Excellent ebook selection
- Well-designed interface
- Remembers where you left off in each book
- No in-app purchases
- Some minor formatting issues
There are a number of ebook apps available for the iPhone, but few can match the selection of ebooks available for the Amazon Kindle app (Amazon.com, Free). While this app does have a number of excellent features, it needs in-app purchases to be truly great.
To use the Kindle iPhone app, you'll need a free Amazon account. You can sign up online or directly within the app. To purchase ebooks, the Kindle app launches the iPhone’s built-in Internet browser and directs it to the web-based Kindle Store. While this setup works fine, it would be much faster and easier to browse and buy ebooks directly within the app. Once you purchase an ebook, it is sent automatically to the iPhone, where it will appear on the app's ‘home’ menu. The ebooks are sent practically instantaneously, and I've never had to wait longer than a few seconds.
Amazon has an excellent selection of ebooks, and all of their books (some 400,000 in all) are priced competitively. Most New York Times bestsellers are $9.99, although some are available for around $5 or $6. For most ebooks, you can sample the first chapter before you buy. The Amazon store really shines when it comes to new releases and popular titles, but I was also able to find some less-popular novels and a good selection of short story collections (my favorite type of ebook).
The ebooks are formatted well, although sometimes I ran across a random space or hole in the text. You turn pages by swipping your finger or tapping near the side of the screen, and the pages move quickly so your reading isn’t interrupted. One thing I really love is that the app remembers where you left off and opens the ebook to the page you were reading -- a must-have feature for any good ebook reader app.
You can adjust the text to one of five sizes, or change the page to black text on a white background, white text on a black background, or dark brown text on a tan background (sepia). For me, the sepia option is the easiest on my eyes. You can also bookmark pages to refer back to later, which is another valuable feature that comes in handy.
The Bottom Line
The Kindle iPhone app is very well done and has most of the features you need in a good e-reader app, not to mention an excellent selection of ebooks. Of course, reading on the iPhone can’t compare to reading on an actual full-sized ebook reader, but this app will do in a pinch. All Amazon needs to do is add in-app purchases to make this a five-star iPhone app. Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
What You’ll Need