Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kindle for PC --No Kindle e-reader needed

I read an article in PC World that said that Kindle for the PC had just been released so I decided to give the program a try. The more places I can read my schoolwork, the better, I think. I've mentioned before that I am attending a masters program at Pace University and that I was given the Kindle as part of a beta test to see how universities can use the Kindle for texts.

Actually, you would think Amazon would notify current Kindle owners that this very useful download was available, but they didn't, so I had to find out via the trade press. Nevertheless,  I went on to the Amazon website, found the free program prominantly advertised, and downloaded it to my PC. The download was easy, the installation no problem, so I opened the program.

When I opened the program, book covers of all the books I bought (or were kindly given to me through my Pace University program) from Amazon were displayed as archived. I clicked on one of them, and the program loaded the whole book on to my PC in what seemed like seconds.

When I opened the book, it opened to the last page I had read! It really was amazing. The pages had retained all of the highlighting and notes I made in the book on the Kindle device, and the highlighting showed up as yellow! On the Kindle, highlighting shows up as underlining and is dark gray.

The PC version of the Kindle retains one of the most Boomer-friendly features of the device. Readers can set the type of the book to the size that is most comfortable for them. Any reader, however, will appreciate that the Whispersync technology used by Kindle keeps all versions of your books up to date. You will never have to worry that the book you are reading on your e-book reader is on a different page than the same book being read on the iPhone or the PC. Navigation between places in the book is still a bit awkward: you have to page through. But if you are used to a mouse, you can use the scroll wheel to quickly move through the book chapter. That's much better than the page turning function on the e-book device.

As I started to read my book, I ran into the downside of having the electronic book on the PC. The program has no way for you to highlight using PC keys. If you want to highlight, you have to do it on the Kindle device itself, not the PC. And the search function is missing, so you can't search for all the references to specific content. I'm hoping that Amazon will correct this and other shortcomings in the future.

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