This is a continuation of the recent articles in this newsletter about eBook Readers. I suspect genealogists purchase more books than does the average person, so we tend to examine any new book publishing technologies as they become available. Now Amazon has increased the options for reading books published in Kindle format. Even better, anyone can sell Kindle books on their own web site. I see opportunities here for many small publishers, including those who publish genealogy books.
Kindle for Web was first announced some months ago. However, Amazon originally restricted users to reading only the first chapter or two within the browser. To read "the rest of the story," the user had to purchase the book on a Kindle (or Kindle for iPad). Amazon has now lifted that restriction.
Starting now, anyone who installs Kindle software can now read entire books on any iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPad Touch), Android, BlackBerry, Macintosh, Windows PC, or an actual Kindle.
I can't imagine anyone reading a full length novel on an iPhone but I certainly would use that small screen to look up information in a reference book, such as a tax listing for the town where my ancestors lived. Moving up to the larger screen of a PC or Mac or iPad or a Kindle, however, removes the problems. Tens of thousands of people are already reading novels on Kindles and now we all can do the same on our other devices.
Best of all, you can use Kindle software can read part of a book on one device, then later switch to a different device to continue where you left off. Like other Kindle platforms, Kindle for Web will sync your last read page and let you access your notes and highlights.
Web site owners can now run Kindle stores of their own. Anyone who runs a website, even a blog, can embed Amazon's widget and sell Kindle books. The web site or blog owner will earn a referral payment for every sale. Not only can you embed your own book(s) on your web site, a blogger could write about a book he or she just read and offer readers a way to buy the same book immediately.
I doubt if these new features will revolutionize eBooks but it is nice to see new features being added one-by-one. I suspect Amazon's competitors will soon add similar services to their products. Customers benefit from having more options available.