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Using the Kindle App for iPhone and iPod Touch

A number of e-reader applications are available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but the big advantage of the Kindle application is its ability to synchronize your Kindle with the iPhone or iPod Touch automatically. If you leave your Kindle at home, you can access your books and read them on your iPhone.

The Kindle application, provided by Amazon.com, works with both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. The application can be downloaded for free, so you can use it as an alternative to the Kindle, at least when it comes to reading. When you first open the application, you're prompted to log in with your Amazon.com username and password. You're then taken to your usual Home screen. Any items you previously purchased and downloaded for the Kindle are stored in your Archived Items area. Click that area, and then click the item you want to download to your iPhone.

Advantages of the Kindle for iPhone app

The Kindle for iPhone app enables the iPhone to connect to Amazon’s servers using Whispersync, so Amazon.com can keep track of where you stopped reading a book on either the Kindle or iPhone. For example, if you stopped at Location 555 in a book on your Kindle, when you open the same book on your iPhone or iPod Touch, it will be at Location 555.

This sync feature works only with full versions of books you have purchased, not with samples.

The Kindle for iPhone app is so powerful that some people regard it as an alternative to the Kindle itself. It displays content in color, while the Kindle is limited to shades of gray. It lets you change text sizes, bookmark pages, and perform other common functions, just like your Kindle. Some argue that turning pages is easier on the iPhone and iPod Touch than on the Kindle itself: You simply swipe the screen to turn the page.

Limitations of the Kindle for iPhone app

As you might expect, the Kindle for iPhone app isn’t as full-featured as the Kindle itself:

  • You can’t download periodicals — only books. (Of course, you can probably surf to the periodical’s Web site using the iPhone’s Safari Web browser.)

  • You can’t purchase an e-book in the Amazon store using the Kindle for iPhone app. Instead, you need to use your computer, switch to Safari, and surf to the Amazon Kindle Store. Make the purchase with Safari, and read the item with the Kindle for iPhone app.

The Kindle for iPhone app isn’t perfect, of course. Some readers find it causes eye fatigue after prolonged reading. The tiny backlit LCD screen isn’t as readable as the Kindle’s e-ink display.

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