Reading a book on a cell phone isn't the greatest, but the Kindle app offers the best version of the experience.
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We’ll let you in on a little secret: You don’t need one of Amazon’s Kindle e-readers to enjoy a lot of the device’s features. And if you do have a Kindle (lucky you), you don’t need to carry it with you every place you go. You can just as easily download Amazon’s Kindle app and get access to the company’s online e-book store on your mobile phone or tablet.
The Kindle app syncs with your Amazon account, so anything you’ve already purchased shows up in the app, and you can make more purchases by following a link to Amazon’s e-book store, which contains more than a million titles. The Kindle app organizes all of your e-books and stores them online in the Amazon cloud, so they can be accessed from all of your devices—Kindle e-readers, mobile phones and tablets. They all use pretty much the same great interface.
Reading a book on a mobile phone isn’t really ideal no matter what, but Kindle offers what’s arguably the best mobile app version of the experience. Pages feature big, clean type without a lot of distractions. For easy readability, you can manipulate several display settings:
- Shrink or enlarge text
- Alter screen brightness
- Change the background color to white, black or sepia
- Choose a different font: Baskerville, Caecilia, Georgia, Helvetica, Palatino or Publisher Font
- Adjust the line spacing to single, 1.5 or double spaced
If something catches your eye while reading, you can easily make annotations for future reference. This is super handy for students reading textbooks or for bookworms (ourselves included!) who are involved in book clubs. You can also dog ear pages if you need clarification from a professor or if there was a particularly compelling section you want to share with your fellow book clubbers.
Peruse the book’s table of contents, check out the cover imagery and even get a sneak peek into some cool “Book Extras.” What should one expect to see in Book Extras, you ask? Information about characters, spoilers, short synopses, recommendations and more. Some books even have a nifty X-Ray feature, which gives you more in-depth background information about the characters, places and other components of the book (especially handy for when you’re tackling the wonderfully monstrous A Game of Thrones series).
Any app that neglects to include a social component gets a thumbs down in our books, but Amazon has not committed this crime. You can easily link to the social networks of your choice to share your reading list and literary progress with all your friends.
Kindle fans who don’t always have that e-reader handy should definitely grab this app for reading in situations where you need to kill some time (like during that boring lecture or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office). It’s a truly customized and personalized reading experience on the go.
Reviewed: May 23, 2011 | Alex SheehanAlso featured on: Best Android Tablet Apps of 2012, Also featured on: Introduction to Windows 8 Apps: What You Need to Know