After selling just the Kindle reader for 2 years, Amazon first launched the “Kindle for iphone” app and now “Kindle for PC” . It was high time. Not everyone into reading is happy to spend USD250 for the Kindle reader or has a iphone. Despite being a voracious reader I have been dawdling a bit about buying a Kindle. With “Kindle for PC”, you get a reading experience half-way between the book like experience of Kindle reader and the current reading experience on a computer screen. So 50% improvement at zero cost.
This should further boost e-book sales on Amazon.com. Already Kindle books are a big portion of Amazon book sales (“For every 100 books we sell in physical, we sell 48 Kindle books,” said Cinthia Portugal, a spokeswoman for Amazon.com). Long-term Amazon will perhaps make more money selling the e-books than the Kindle reader, just like Apple does with selling songs on I-tunes.
Also just like Apple, which makes it difficult to play songs bought on itunes on other MP3 players like Zune, Amazon has made it difficult (infact illegal) to transfer the e-books bought on Amazon to other readers (Sony, Nook from Barnes & Noble).
I wonder whether this walled garden is a smart strategy and will result in a iPod type share (70%) of book readers. Wouldn’t it be better for them to sell the e-books in a format which works on all book readers and all mobile platforms ( Apple, Google android, Nokia) and get a lion share of the e-book sales, instead of trying to push the Kindle reader. With Google hot on the heels, opening up over 1.5 million public domain books in the US (and over half a million outside the US) for mobile reading, Amazon can do with all the goodwill.