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 Amazon.com 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?