Just over two weeks before the first iPads with an e-book store arrive, Amazon (s amzn) delivers its Kindle for Mac client. The software was listed as “coming soon” for longer than I define the word soon, but it’s a moot point now. It’s here and it’s free for Mac OS X 10.5+, making it another way to buy and read Kindle content without purchasing a Kindle device. I downloaded the client this morning and once signed in, saw my entire Kindle library, as expected.
Like the Windows (s msft) version, this is a pretty bare-bones bit of software. You can see your library in color, but I don’t see a way to change the color of the actual pages. Text size and words per line are configurable, and you can show notes and bookmarks, but you can only make bookmarks — there’s no way to make notes, but that too is “coming soon.” That’s a shame since I’m reading a book with a nice, easy-to-use keyboard in front of me.
Control of pages is done through either a keyboard or a mouse, but one caveat — with my Apple Magic Mouse, I swiped from right to left for a page turn and immediately became dizzy. The kinetic action that’s useful when surfing the web isn’t so useful when reading a book. Pages whizzed by at an arming rate, making it look to observers that I was a champion speed reader. I’m not, although I’m clearly a champion mouse scroller.
What I least understand in all of this is: why did it take so long? And since the wait was so long, why such a limited client that’s essentially just showing text in a window? I’m happy to see the software, of course. In fact, I just bought a beginner’s guide to Java last weekend and I had my Kindle propped up next to my Mac — I was reading code snippets on the small eInk display and coding on the larger Mac screen. Now I can do both activities on the same screen. But for all of the waiting, I wonder if some will say, “This is it?”
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):