Friday, October 23, 2009

eBooks: More Effects of Competition

Yesterday, I mentioned Amazon dropped the price of their International Kindle and updated their iPhone App in response to Barnes & Noble's Nook announcement. The effects of competition didn't end there. Answering Barnes & Noble's challenge, Amazon has also announced it will release a Kindle app for the PC as well.

You can see a video of it in action here. Compared to the app on my iPhone, this looks a little clunky... but I'm looking forward to having one more option for reading. Amazon also said they plan to release a version for the Mac and the Blackberry sometime next year.

A few more things Amazon needs to do immediately in resposne to the Nook (things they could do without making a new device through software updates).
  • Add PDF support.
  • Add better photo viewing capabilities, including the ability to use your own images as screensavers.
  • Add the ability to lend books. (Although the lending restrictions on the Nook may make it almost useless.)
  • Allow for some kind of organizational structure such as folders and/or tags. This is long overdue, especially considering Kindle owners tend to buy more books than non-Kindle owners. Right now all your books just get thrown into one long list that you can sort by owner or title. People have been asking for this for some time now.
If Amazon makes these changes, it will make the Kindle much more attractive and help reduce many of the benefits of switching over the the Nook. Longer-term should also consider opening up some kind of app store. (Barnes and Noble has already hinted that they will do this for the Nook.)

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