I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my Amazon Kindle 2 for the past two months. Being a voracious reader (there’s that “Word of the Day Toilet Paper” coming in handy again!), I don’t think more than four or five days go by without my purchasing a book or trying a sample chapter. Ironically, one of the reasons I bought the Kindle was also one of the most disappointing. I’m referring to the Kindle for iPhone application, because that bit of software is actually what pushed me towards the Kindle hardware purchase. Unfortunately, as many folks quickly found out, the iPhone app couldn’t be used to buy books very efficiently. That changes, slightly for the better, today.
Amazon announced and released an update to their mobile web site, making it a snap to buy content right on your iPhone by clicking the “Get Books” button. The updated Kindle Store is optimized specifically for Safari on the handset and, just like the full-featured site, allows you to send a book purchase to either your Kindle or your iPhone. While this sounds like e-book nirvana, I’d still like to see the book purchases built right into the Kindle for iPhone application. It would provide for a more seamless purchase process and would only require one application to be running. Still, this is the next best thing. Well, maybe not for my wallet, but you can’t win ‘em all. ;)
The Apple 2.0 blog points out an interesting tidbit from iLounge on why this process might be a two-app deal: If Amazon were to sell content directly through the iPhone application, Apple could score a 30 percent cut of the transaction. Has Amazon found a way to leverage the vast iPhone audience and carve Apple right out of the revenue stream in this case? Speaking of lost revenue streams, don’t forget: You don’t need to spend $359 for an Amazon Kindle to read Kindle content. Using your iPhone, you can read Kindle books on the smaller screen without an additional hardware purchase. Of course, I’m living proof that Amazon is likely making far more money on the content sales than the hardware itself.