Amazon Brings Kindle Software to the Mac

22 Comments

It’s been teased for a fairly long time now, but Amazon (s amzn) finally released its Kindle companion software for Mac, as of yesterday. To date, the Kindle application has only been available for Windows machines, which has made it slightly harder for Mac users to organize and manage their Kindle collection.

Kindle for Mac also offers e-reader features, so you can access all of your e-book purchases, download and read them right on your computer. It’ll also sync the furthest location read with all Kindle devices registered to your account if you want, so that you can continue reading on your Kindle, iPhone or Mac without missing a beat.

Not yet present in the current version of the software is the ability to make and edit notes, highlight portions of the text and conduct full-text searches, but these are all planned for a later update, according to Amazon. Future versions will also let you click on images to zoom in to see a larger version, and to rotate it if you wish. One feature that is present is the conveniently-placed “Buy a Kindle” link found in the Help menu. Subtle, Amazon.

The application also lets you manage your Kindle and make purchases in the Kindle store, although for both of these functions it actually just kicks you over to Amazon’s web site in your default browser. In fact, the Mac software really isn’t much more than a bare-bones e-reading application. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I’m wondering why exactly it took this long to get the software out there.

The answer is probably that Amazon didn’t really have a good enough reason to until the iPad came along. Up until that point, drawing a link between a free iPhone app and a free Mac app to display content that Amazon was originally taking a loss on selling didn’t make much sense. The Kindle itself — the hardware — was the key to success, and it’s pretty easy to chuck that altogether when you’ve got the other two.

Amazon must’ve seen the writing on the wall following the iPad announcement, and realized that joining the company would be considerably more productive than attempting to beat it at this point, and so decided to cover all Mac-based platforms instead of just partially serving Apple (s aapl) customers. Will it pay off in the long run? We’ll have to wait and see how well Apple tolerates iBookstore competitors when the iPad hits store shelves early next month.

Related GigaOM Pro Research (sub req’d): Evolution of the e-Book Market

22 Comments

Amazon News

This is great…Amazon has just added a major new platform to its Kindle arsenal: Mac. Like its applications for iPhone and iPod touch, BlackBerry and the PC, Kindle for Mac is designed to sync with your Kindle device…The free application lets you read e-books on your computer, including those you’ve purchased previously from Amazon.

Angelica

I’m from Australia. If I download the Kindle app for Mac, would I still be able to purchase from the Amazon US Kindle database or will I be limited to the International database which has less ebooks and more expensive? TIA

John

For me, I have been using my iPhone as my ebook reader for a while using Stanza, and then the kindle app for iPhoe came out and actually enabled me to find content I could purchase for less than the cost of the paper books, and thanks to the tech in their U store, an easy way to get US content, seeing as Asia Pacific seems to be a poor third cousin when it comes to ebook rights. This is even worse than DVDs when they first came out, but even then thanks to Amazon I could still buy region 1 disks to play on my unlocked player, and I still do for specials and other editions that never make it to our shores (but no blueray, never, until I can get an unlocked player) but the DRM still makes me nervous. I’ve never had a handheld gadget for more than a few years, but I still have books I bought when I was 5. I don’t want all my books locked up in a platform I cant migrate from.
The iBook store will probably be just as crappy here as the Movies and TV selection is. Over priced, under stocked and DRM crippled. I’d pay Apples price for DRM free, but not locked to having to use a certain device to watch or read it.
Imagine if you had something like a minidisk player, but could only play content produced on sony’s own mini… oh, hang on, thats why I don’t have a mini disk player either. At least with mini disk you could still rip your own tapes and CDs to MD format, but it is still difficult to rip your own books to ebook – for now.
Oh, and I’m not going to be buying any McMillan ebooks at US$20 either!
I keep thinking, are McMillan in the business of selling stories, or shipping cardboard and pulp? Also isn’t competition supposed to drive prices down in a fair market? The price hike here to me smells more like a cartel and monopolistic pricing to protect the dead tree parts of McMillans business.

Alex

It’ll be great to be able to access my books from both platforms. I still won’t be able to get rid of my Kindle–I like to read page turners (like right now I’m reading “Tanzaire” which is non-stop, no-breaks suspense for the first hundred pages) –and I can’t see reading something that dominates me-for two hours straight- on a backlit computer screen. I’ll be wearing glasses like five inches thick.

Tsubame

If Amazon actually does the smart thing and supports the iPad (allowing me to transfer my kindle books over and buy kindle books on the device) I’ll be very happy. Even though I probably won’t use my Kindle as often anymore, I’ll be thrilled to continue to buy books from Amazon on the new device.

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