Amazon announces Kindle Cloud Reader

Amazon just let us know that their Kindle Cloud Reader is now live, and lets you read any of their over 950,000 Kindle books right in Safari on iPad, Mac, or Windows, or Chrome on Windows, Mac, or Linux, without needing the Kindle app or hardware.

“We are excited to take this leap forward in our ‘Buy Once, Read Everywhere’ mission and help customers access their library instantly from anywhere,” said Dorothy Nicholls, Director, Amazon Kindle. “We have written the application from the ground up in HTML5, so that customers can also access their content offline directly from their browser. The flexibility of HTML5 allows us to build one application that automatically adapts to the platform you’re using – from Chrome to iOS. To make it easy and seamless to discover new books, we’ve added an integrated, touch optimized store directly into Cloud Reader, allowing customers one click access to a vast selection of books.”

While there's no iPhone or iPod touch (it tells you your browser isn't supported and you should download Safari or Chrome, though hopefully a better intercept screen is in the works), it's a full HTML5 web app and includes offline storage. I've tried it out on iPad and it works quickly and cleanly. The Kindle Store is built in, so there's no jarring transition to the version of the store, and all the menus and options work really well. Likewise, the text is just a legible as it is in the app, and the WhisperSync works perfectly. Hopefully it keeps up that level of performance when personal libraries get really big.

With the controversy that arose in the wake of Apple's App Store subscription service, and the requirements to match pricing (since dropped) and remove links to external stores (still in effect), it felt like only a matter of time before Amazon would go this route. It will be interesting to see how many others follow.

Details and screen shots after the break. Anyone going to stop using the app and switch to the web app?


Features of Kindle Cloud Reader include: - An immersive view of your entire Kindle library, with instant access to all of your books - Start reading over 950,000 Kindle books instantly within your browser - An embedded Kindle Store optimized for your web browser makes it seamless to discover new books and start reading them instantly - New Kindle Store for iPad is built from the ground up for iPad’s touch interface - Your current book is automatically made available for offline use, and you can choose to save a book for reading offline at any time - Receive automatic software updates without the need to download new software - Select any book to start reading, customize the page layout to your desired font size, text color, background color, and more - View all of the notes, highlights, and bookmarks that you’ve made on other Kindle apps or on Kindle - Sync your last page read across your Kindle and free Kindle apps so you can always pick up where you left off

Kindle Cloud Reader is available for Safari on iPad, Safari on desktop and Chrome starting today. Kindle Cloud Reader on the iPad is optimized for the size and unique touch interface of iPad. Without even leaving the app, customers can start shopping in the Kindle Store and will find a unique and immersive shopping experience built specifically for iPad’s Safari browser.

Kindle Cloud Reader will be available on additional web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, the BlackBerry PlayBook browser, and other mobile browsers, in the coming months.

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