Kindle Me This: Liking It on iPhone

I've only been using it for a day or so, but I really like it a lot. Amazon.com's ( AMZN) "Kindle for iPhone" touch applet is terrific!

You can download the app from Apple's ( AAPL) App Store and install it. The whole operation takes about one minute. After that, all you have to do is enter your Amazon.com name and password into the application and register your reading device. That's it.

From that point on, your all set to start buying and reading Amazon/Kindle edition books on your iPhone, iPod touch and/or your Kindle. Total setup time is two minutes.

Kindle comes to Apple's iPhone

My only gripe about the whole thing is that downloading a book using your iPhone is not as simple as doing so on your Kindle. On the iPhone (or iPod touch) you need to use the built-in Safari Web browser to surf to Amazon's Kindle Store, then select and purchase what you want to read.

Within seconds, your selection is automatically downloaded to the device you selected. In my tests, once I started the purchase/download procedure, I closed Safari, opened the Kindle app and the book was already on my iPhone's reading list.

I have to admit that I was a skeptic about this whole idea of reading a book on an electronic device. But this morning on the subway, I opened the downloaded Kindle version of "The First Heroes" by my friend Craig Nelson. I adjusted the software to display the book at its largest font setting and started reading the introduction. What seemed like five minutes later (it was more like 45), I heard "Wall Street" and quickly ran off the train. Reading a Kindle book on my iPhone was a terrific experience. The book is pretty terrific too!

I found a number of interesting things about this new software book reader:

When you close your iPhone/iPod touch, the software remembers where you stopped reading and opens to that page. A simple tap on the screen brings up the controls and a button to go back to the Kindle software home page.Color pages and maps (like from "The First Heroes" are displayed in color. The actual Kindle screen is black-and-white only.You pay for your book once but it can reside on any "Kindle" device: You can easily switch back and forth and read between your iPhone/iPod touch and Kindle.Book pages are "flipped" by a flick of the finger left or right (not up/down like most other iPhone apps).

New York Times bestsellers and most other popular books sell for $9.99 or so -- a lot cheaper than bound/paper versions of the same book. Downloads of your purchases are nearly instantaneous. And I've found that reading a book electronically is habit-forming.

So now the only question I have left is why, except for a larger -- although black-and-white -- screen would anyone who owns an iPhone or iPod touch need to go out and spend $359 on a brand new Kindle 2?

If you own the proper Apple portable device, Amazon's Kindle for iPhone is a no-brainer. It's a terrific combination and is highly recommended.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.

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