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That was Electricpig’s headline last night, which was to the point. 

Kindle for Web to the Rescue
Should Cloud Reader be sporting a cape?  For now, it can fly only in Google Chrome browser and in Safari, but it’s very slick, not faster than a speeding bullet but pretty smooth.  All my book covers showed up instantly and I could choose to download any to read offline instead of reading them online from the ‘cloud.’

If you’re on Windows and don’t have the Chrome browser yet (or if you’re on a Mac and want to try Chrome), download it here and then browse to yourCloudReader (at read.amazon.com).

On February 24, this year, while the e-reader world worried over Apple’s ax falling on rival ebookstore apps, I wrote “Why Kindle books will be readable & sync’d on Apple devices no matter what” — and the killer reason was Amazon’s work on Kindle for Web, which Amazon demo’d December 7, promising that the ability to read full books was coming soon.   What it touted:

‘ Kindle books can be read … anywhere you have a web browser.  Your reading library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights are always available to you no matter where you bought your Kindle books or how you choose to read them. ‘

The Home page of the Cloud Reader (formerly known as Kindle for Web), which is accessed via Chrome or Safari (the latter, for the iPad) has the Kindle Store icon at the right top.  Try getting rid of THAT Buy Button, Apple :-)

The Cloud Reader is just another tab on the browser, so when I go somewhere else on it (to the touch-optimized Kindle Store, for one thing), I have to remember to go ‘back’ on the browser to the Cloud Reader’s “Kindle” home page, called “Cloud.”  It’s not separate as the other Kindle apps are. 

Also, this will be an additional “device” when you install it (in that most books can be read on up to 6 devices on your account (publisher decides how many) though your account may have many more devices than that).

There are a zillion articles on this quietly released feature already.  Electricpig’s points out immediately that

‘ Amazon has quietly outed a way to get round Apple’s restrictions on iOS in-app purchases: the Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader.  We thought Amazon had simply acquiesced to Apple when it killed the store link in its Kindle iPhone and iPad apps but it had a Plan B in the works. 

The Kindle Cloud Reader is a totally web-based version of the eBook reader app that works with Chrome and Safari and comes optimised for the iPad.  The iPhone isn’t supported yet but that can only be a matter of time. ‘

They said it “works like a charm.  The ability to switch between the Kindle Store and your library on the iPad is also a treat. 

TechCrunch points out that Amazon hasn’t said anything about it yet but it’s already live.  I didn’t know about it but received an alert from Corneliu Dascalu while I was browsing Twitter. (Thanks!)

So it’s ready for PCs, Macs, Linux and Chromebooks (not Android yet, but Buy Buttons work on the Android).  TechCrunch’s MG Siegler adds that though the iPad is very much supported :-), the iPhone currently is not, so for now, keep using the Kindle for iPhone

Since Cloud Reader is optimized for the iPad, it feels, to Siegler, like a native app though it’s not, and you can (somewhat slowly with a whirling timer) “swipe back and forth to move between pages.”  Since you can read from the cloud or instead read a downloaded book offline “thanks to the magic of HTML 5 (or a Chrome browser extension), it looks and works great,” Siegel says.  ”It’s ready to go and it’s very good.”

Reaction overall, in a quick browse of news stories, is very favorable.  I’m enjoying reader comments too.

Gadget Lab’s Charlie Sorrel opens his story with

‘ Angry and outraged that Apple forced Amazon to pull the link to the Kindle e-book store from within its Kindle iOS app?  So was Amazon, but instead of just sitting and whining about it like you and me, Amazon decided to do something.  Behold, the Kindle Cloud Reader, a web app that behaves just like a slightly slow native app. ‘

 

He considers it ‘clunkier’ than a regular Kindle app but “sleeker than some actual hardware e-readers.

And here’s some advice — “long press a book cover thumbnail to save” — plus the info that the app automatically caches any book you’re reading, for a smoother experience.

You can’t search within a book, but you can use the browser ‘Find’ to do that, for now.  However, the Chrome browser gives you the number of Finds and then you have to next-page until you come across them in yellow or orange.  It doesn’t go directly to the words.  No notes or highlights can be created, but you can see the ones you’ve done, by clicking on the right-hand column header-icon that toggles the display of annotations.

Going back to my Cloud Reader’s Library, I went to see the two books I’d downloaded and got a spinning wheel in the center of the browser that might have continued until the end of time, it seemed, but pressing the Refresh icon at the upper left fixed that.

Sorrel adds that a request for a sample gets you one loaded up right there in the store area and looks like the regular reader but you have to read it then and there (which I don’t think I mind) but the downside is you can’t choose to send it to your library to read later. 

Google ‘cloud reader’ to see much more on this.

Via Andrys Basten’s A Kindle World Blog

 
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