Amazon Kindle in Shotgun Wedding with Apple iPhone/iPod

March 5, 2009 by Thad McIlroy

Well, you hardly need my blog to bring you the big news that you can now Kindle your iPhone. It’s all over the place. Should you have missed the news, here’s the New York Times report, as comprehensive as any.

The details of the features and shortcomings of bringing the Amazin’ Kindle to a less capable device are described there and also on a blog entry on the site.

So the only remaining question is WHY?

WHY did Amazon, after all its proprietary secrets and obtuse stories and challenging dealings with publishers suddenly capitulate to the iPod/Phone so quickly after the introduction of the modestly improved and horrendously over-hyped Kindle 2? Surely this will not enhance Kindle sales, although it will surely enhance Amazon’s desired position as the #1 retailer of e-books.

Have a look at this blog entry titled “Apple’s Epic E-Book Fail.”

Digest it.

Then imagine that Amazon got wind of the fact that despite Steve J’s infamous pronouncement, “People don’t read anymore,” Apple may have caught onto Amazon’s attempt to corner a segment of the digital media market that it did not yet control, and that Apple had plans to break in.

Just a thought.

And here, for your edification, a screen shot from the New York Times that reveals the pleasure you can expect from reading a book on an iPhone/iPod:


Update: Ed Burnette’s ZDNet blog entry this morning is titled: “Did Amazon intentionally cripplw the iKindle?” Mr. Burnette writes:

“As soon as I saw that Amazon had released their new Kindle Reader for the iPhone I immediately downloaded it and tried it out myself. My initial reaction: unimpressed…the entire thing seems to be set up to make your phone an extension of your Kindle and not a replacement for it.

“Take shopping for a new book, for example. When you try that from the iPhone reader, the software simply opens up the web browser on the Kindle store at It’s practically impossible to actually order something from there, because the site is not very friendly to the small screen. The real Kindle has a real store that you can use right from the device. Obviously Amazon would rather you do your purchases from there.

“Another glaring omission is search. Searching is one thing you can do with an e-book that you can’t do with a paper book. The Kindle 2 has a physical keyboard for this purpose. They could have supported search on the iPhone with the pop-up keyboard, but didn’t. Why not?

“Kindle for iPhone is nice for people who already have a Kindle or Kindle 2 who might find themselves away from their device with a little time to kill. However, Amazon seems to have taken steps to make sure the iKindle does not cannibalize sales of their $359 money maker. If, as Amazon claims, the big-screen Kindle e-ink reading experience is so much better than reading books on a phone, then why bother crippling the phone reader?”

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  • Sue Robinson

    Dec 13th, 2009 : 6:42 PM

    I received delivery of my Kindle-2 today and given the wide ranging reviews that I read before purchasing, I opened the box with some trepedation. I have had no experience with Kindle-1 but I have a friend who has become addicted. So where am I? It has been a great experience thus far. The Kindle seems all that it was cracked up to be. I have put it through its paces and it has performed to perfection. It is quick and responsive and reading from the default font is easy. Navigating the menu is almost intuitive and becomes easier and easier as you go. It is comfortable to hold (with the Kindle Cover) and makes a hard cover book feel almost klutzy and awkward by comparison. The buttons work well even with my large fingers and the navigating 5-position control is easily mastered and easy to use effectively.
    I am 71 years old and read at least one or two books per week and this reader is easy on the eyes. I rely on hard copy (an old habit I am not able to break)and I was able to easily download all 99 pages of the User’s Guide to have in hand. It is comprehensive and essential, given the variety of material covered. I find it easier to have it in hand than navigating through the on-screen version. (I’ve use the word “easy” or some derivative at least 8 times but that says it all)
    My first download was the new Joe Torre book (I’m a life long Yankee fan) but I ran into a problem with my default account information. Not to worry…a quick call to Customer Service solved the problem with less than a 2 minute wait for a connection. They were very helpful and stayed with me until all my account information was corrected. The whole experience took only 10 minutes.
    Today Joe Torre, tomorrow the N.Y. Times and then the world.