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Testing Kindle for PC on My MSI Notebook

November 11, 2009

Amazon releases Kindle for PC beta (Mac OS coming soon). I downloaded the version (hmm.. a little bit slow) and started to test it.

Installation is easy, and I just need to input my Amazon account so that the software can sync with other devices (iPhone/iPod Touch or Kindle) via my amazon account.

When click at “Shop in Kindle Store” on the top right corner, it opens the browser to Amazon site. You can then select any book you want to try (“Send Sample Now”).

Next page asks you which platform you would like it to be sent. After a while (definitely not fast as I would expect), you will see the books in the main screen.

When clicking at one book, it opens the inside page (not starting from the “cover” though).

This is the default setting of the font size and the number of characters per line.

It’s too empty on the side for a wide screen, so I increase the number of characters to maximum.

This looks better. The default font size is already clear for me, but I still check with the larger font size. When I’m getting older, might need the bigger font size. 😉

Kindle for PC cannot rotate the screen. That’s a pity but never mind. I can use EeeRotate to turn the screen by 90 degrees.

With a larger font size,

This is how it look on my MSI U100 Plus with the normal screen orientation. (Sorry about the mess on my desk)

Turn the screen by 90 degrees. With the default font size.

With a bigger font size.

How does it feel when holding the MSI U100 Plus by hand? Well, not too heavy. The weight, including the battery, is 1.324 kg (~ 2.9 lb). Still heavier than a hardcover of this book (480 pages, 1.6 lb). For reading on the bed, that’s not a big deal.

Anyway, this is still great for people who don’t have iPhone/iPod Tough or Kindle like me. I can get some sample chapter from the books I’m interested. Maybe I would buy the Kindle version if that can save me a lot in shipping charge or if I can’t wait to get a real paper copy.

But, how about non-Kindle ebooks?

Initially, I didn’t know how to let Kindle for PC open ePub format files. Later I found out the way: you need to put the ePub-format ebooks (e.g. *.mobi or *.prc) into “My Documents/My Kindle Contents”, and then (reopen Kindle for PC) you will see them.

Let’s say, this Kindle for PC is very bare-bone. You can add bookmarks but not take notes. You cannot change the fonts nor the colors of the font (though black is enough for me for the reading). Mobipocket Reader does a better job on this. Besides, Mobipocket Reader can read PDB files (I have several ebooks in PDB format because I read them in Palm TE2).

Bottom line: As said earlier, Kindle for PC is for people who want to try reading Kindle format. It’s not to manage your ebook library.

If you want to try some ePub reader softwares, check out this review. As said in another post, “Choosing the E-Book Format“, I prefer ePub over Kindle format mainly because of the proprietary format. Let’s see. 😐

[Update on 11/14/2009]

If the country associated with your Kindle is not US and you want to download the free Kindle ebook (priced @ $0.00) at Amazon, you will be charged $2.00 for the international download fee. To avoid this extra $2.00, you can  temporarily change your Kindle country to US or use the “Transfer via Computer” option. I presume that this is not an issue when using Kindle for PC but I haven’t tried it yet.

To get the best price for an ebook, try AddAll search. From its search on, say, Jane Austen’s books, you can find many free books for various format. B&N’s said its ebook is from Google Books and shipped to a US address only. 😕

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