April 1, 2009, 12:00 AM

iPhone users read Kindle e-books while bypassing the Kindle itself

By introducing in March the Kindle for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, Amazon greatly increased the number of e-book readers it can reach and heightened competition in the e-book market.

The e-retailer introduced Kindle for iPhone and iPod Touch, an e-books reader designed specifically for Apple Inc.’s hardware and available through Apple’s mega-popular App Store. Amazon.com had seemed to be focusing its e-books strategy solely on its own Kindle e-book reader hardware. Now the millions of iPhone and iPod Touch users can bypass the Kindle entirely, purchasing e-books through Amazon.com on their PC, iPhone or iPod Touch and reading them on their mobile devices.

This greatly increases the number of e-book consumers Amazon.com can reach-and greatly heightens the competition in the growing e-books market.

The news comes on the heels of Indigo Books & Music in February introducing Shortcovers, a mobile reader and store for iPhones and soon other mobile devices.

At the same time, the Kindle mobile app opens up a major new avenue through which Amazon.com can sell Kindle hardware.

“This is an absolutely astute move on the part of Amazon,” says James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst and an e-books specialist at Forrester Research Inc. “Since there really is no way people can conveniently try a Kindle before they buy one, Amazon is providing the next best thing.”

The Kindle Store offers more than 240,000 e-book titles. Amazon.com’s new Whispersync technology saves and synchronizes a customer’s books and bookmarks across a Kindle and an iPhone or iPod Touch so readers can always have access to their content and never lose their place.


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