As I’m a Kindle owner who reads a lot of books, and who uses the the Kindle iPhone app while waiting in lines or when I need a screen with back-lighting (let’s say, when ones wife says, “can you turn out that light!”), I have been waiting patiently for the long-rumored Kindle application that will allow me to read Kindle formatted (DRMd) books on my Mac. While I don’t think reading a Stephen King novel on a Mac will ever be my style, I own several technical manuals and I’d like to be able to open them on my computer desktop. (Side kudos to O’Reilly for a long history of understanding this use of books and for making their titles available via PDF.)
But then I downloaded it and fired it up. Wow. How can I put this?
The Kindle app for the Mac is like owning a Porsche, but retrofitting it to have the look and feel of a Yugo.
I would review the features of the application, but there are none beyond allowing you to read a book locked up with Kindle’s DRM. (Later: As some commenters and tweets have noted, there are some inherent features because it’s on a Mac and not a Kindle, for example, the ability to use a back-lit screen instead of Kindle’s ebook reader-centric use of an electronic paper screen .)
Oh, here’s something nice I can say: The app does sync up with other devices on which you may be reading the same ebook, so you can go to the “furtherist place read.”
What should the application have been? Well, the baseline should have been something like Adobe Reader. A “search by word” feature, perhaps. (Update: the press release says that’s coming later.) Perhaps the ability to copy and paste the way computers work, not the way the Kindle works.
I’ll stop there.
It’s obvious to me that Amazon is doing nothing more than trying to at least keep some Kindle owners (like me) from totally pitching the device when the iPad arrives. If the Kindle application for the Mac is their method, they’re screwed.
Which is bad. Because it is my hope that most of the books I purchase for my iPad/iPod/Mac will be from Amazon. I love Amazon and have provided them lots of knowledge about my reading (and listening — I buy all music from them, as well) over the past 15 years. I would like them to use that knowledge to continue making great suggestions — and to store the media I purchase from them.
Amazon, you’re a wonderful retailer and I love your cloud services.
But when it comes to consumer hardware and software, your suckitude is showing.