Although Amazon will not confirm how many of their popular Kindle e-readers have been sold, the number is estimated to be in the millions. One testament to the Kindle’s popularity is that there are more than 950,000 ebook titles available for immediate download from Amazon’s Kindle store. Add to that all of the ways readers can buy Kindle ebooks even without owning a Kindle and you can believe Amazon’s claim that Kindle ebook sales have surpassed sales of print books.
All you need to buy ebooks from Amazon without a Kindle is one of the many free Kindle reading apps available. Start by going to Amazon.com. In the left navigation, click on Kindle, then Free Kindle Reading Apps. On that page you will find links to download the Kindle reading app for the Windows PC, Mac, iPhone and iPod Touch, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7.
With the app installed you can download free and paid ebooks from the Kindle store and read them on your favorite device. (Because of a recent change in the terms of service for Apple apps, ebooks can not be downloaded via the Kindle apps running on an Apple device. However, ebooks can be purchased through a web browser and delivered to the Apple device.)
Even if you own a Kindle, you may want to use one or more of the Kindle reader apps. Using an app on a mobile device allows you to buy from anywhere, and read anywhere, even if you don’t have your Kindle with you. Most people have their phones with them wherever they go, so anytime you have a few spare minutes you can read a bit of that novel you are having a hard time putting down. Any of the Kindle ebooks already in your library can be transferred to other devices, and the ebooks can be accessed from more than one device. For example, I have some of my Kindle ebooks on my Kindle, my PC and my iPhone.
Amazon’s WhisperSync automatically synchronizes the last page read across multiple devices. That means that you can start reading an ebook on your Kindle, then pick up right where you left off when you turn on the Kindle app on your iPad or Windows PC.
Another advantage of the free apps is that most of them allow you to view photos and other images in the books in full color, instead of the black and white of the Kindle e-reader. Some Kindle ebooks now include audio and video that is only available when the ebooks are viewed on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad Kindle apps, making them more interactive and visually interesting than just words on the page.
I own a Kindle and I love it, but I also love the flexibility of using the Kindle apps for my other devices. And if you do not yet own a Kindle, the apps give you access to nearly a million ebooks, many of which are only available for the Kindle and its apps. You can be reading your favorites in just minutes.