Kindle for PC – Amazon’s Windows based electronic book reading software – is now available for free download. Yay. Amazon have only sent me 4 emails reminding me of the fact so far. Even though I grabbed it last week.
First impressions? I’m sure this beta version will make a lot more sense if you actually have a Kindle. The standalone functionality enables you to download and install electronic books wrapped in Kindle DRM, and share them with your device. Which is super. You can bookmark pages, synchronise your reading progress between devices and quickly navigate through your download library.
If you don’t actually have one of Amazon’s coveted e-readers, you can still use the software to buy new books – though not all titles are available in the UK. Still, 300,000 books is a pretty good selection. Disappointingly, the overall functionality of the PC software isn’t as good as some existing free solutions. Adobe Reader comes to mind. Try dragging a PDF to Kindle for PC and it’ll just look at you funny.
You also miss out on the unique selling points of an e-reading device; electronic ink, portability and so on. We could, at a pinch, see ourselves installing this on a netbook – and that would save us the price of a real Kindle; currently about £155. Give it a few months though, when 2010’s inevitable tablet PC war begins. Then Kindle for PC will be worth another look.