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Many have tried--and failed--to reinvent the book in digital form. It took the powerhouse that is Amazon to reinvigorate the idea of e-books, and when it released the Kindle, gadget nerds and book lovers rejoiced. But let’s not forget that Amazon’s roots are in selling stuff (books in particular), not building hardware. That’s why the company is piggybacking on the infrastructure it built to sell e-books to Kindle owners, first with an app for iPhone users and now with Kindle for your Mac desktop. It’s all about selling virtual books by the truckload.
Kindle For Mac is light on eye candy and extra functions, but it does a solid job of displaying and syncing your Kindle books.
Kindle For Mac is a free beta application for reading Amazon’s proprietary, not-free e-books on your Mac. If you’re already a Kindle owner, taking the Mac version for a spin is a no-brainer. It doesn’t cost anything and gives you yet another option for reading your Kindle books. And for anyone who hasn’t taken Amazon’s $259 plunge into the world of e-book readers, Kindle For Mac gives you a taste of the Kindle’s functionality without much risk.
Kindle For Mac syncs with your other devices, and that means you can start reading on a Kindle, then switch to your Mac while Amazon’s gargantuan servers step in as your bookmark. Ultimately, that’s Kindle For Mac’s best trick. The application lacks any other bells and whistles, but it’s a perfectly fine reading experience that’s bolstered by the large number of titles in Amazon’s Kindle store. I only wish it were around when I was a broke English undergrad who was forced to shell out for dozens of books every semester--the Kindle store offers tons of classic literature (and other titles) for free.
Purchasing books is easy--a Shop In Kindle Store button takes you right there in your web browser, then you can peruse and buy new titles, which are synced to your Mac. It’s a pretty seamless experience that makes impulse buys a definite possibility--bookworms beware.
But Kindle For Mac is bare bones. Like the Kindle device, you can change the text size but not the typeface. Kindle For Mac doesn’t let you add highlights or notes as you read (although you can view notations that were created on a Kindle). And that’s a shame because your Mac’s keyboard is obviously much better for serious note-taking than the Kindle’s tiny keys. Nonsensically, you’re also limited to a single-page view, although a widescreen Mac would be perfect for a two-page reading layout. Amazon says it’s going to be adding notation features and search capabilities to the desktop client, but for now, you’ll have to stick with simple reading.
Kindle For Mac lacks both the portable convenience of an actual Kindle and the sexiness of the iPad’s iBooks. But for dedicated readers, it’s a dead simple way to buy and read e-books.
Kindle for Mac
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.5 or later; Intel processor
Read Kindle books without a Kindle. Syncs bookmarks with mobile devices.
Bare-bones interface doesn't offer many options.