All Kindles Should be Virtual

All Kindles Should be Virtual

Summary: Kindle books can now be purchased directly from on a PC or Mac using a standard web browser, and read on an iPhone, without actually owning a Kindle device.


Kindle books can now be purchased directly from on a PC or Mac using a standard web browser, and read on an iPhone, without actually owning a Kindle device. Why not take it to the next logical step -- read it on anything? (Click photo to enlarge)

I never thought I would say this, but Thank You Amazon For Coming To Your Damn Senses and Putting Kindle On An iPhone. Thank you Beezus. Hallelujah.

Great, so where's Kindle for BlackBerry? Kindle for Android? Kindle for PC? Kindle for Mac OS? Kindle for Linux?

Click the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

Let's get past the tired arguments that Amazon created the Kindle to be the best unitasker device, to be a book reader and nothing else. Great. All you people that are happy with your $359.00 slab of Chinese silicon who want to feel secure in your purchase should just be happy. Because the rest of us aren't. The rest of us don't feel like spending that kind of money.

We don't have any sort of metrics yet to conclusively prove it, and Amazon will probably never admit to it, but I am willing to bet that there will be more Kindle books sold for iPods and iPhones (and maybe even BlackBerries and Androids, if we're lucky) than for Kindles themselves in the next year.  This is fairly safe to assume, as there are millions of iPhones and Blackberries and only at best, a few hundred thousand Kindles.

As I have said numerous times, Amazon's business model for e-books should be in running the Kindle store. Hardware should not be their primary concern. I've said that Kindle should be a hardware spec, and that Amazon should allow other manufacturers to produce compatible devices. Well you know what? I was wrong. To hell with Kindle clones. All Kindles should be virtual.

Also Read -- Kindroid: Two Great Tastes That Would Taste Great Together

Also Read -- Amazon Kindle: It's Not For Us, Jack

Also Read -- Kindle Economics

Also Read -- Kindle Economics 2

Netbooks and MIDs are becoming extremely popular, due to their low cost and high level of functionality. So why not just make a and virtualize the entire experience? Write an application in Java for device portability purposes (then it can be easily ported to Android for manufacturers that really want to make Kindroids) or distribute an isolated Linux-based virtual appliance for PCs, Macs and Netbooks that does all the functions of a Kindle, complete with all the DRM restrictions so people can't copy the data off.  Then you've got an app that will run on anything, which opens up your e-book store to the widest audience possible.

Should Kindle books be available for all devices? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

[poll id="12"]

Topics: iPhone, Amazon, Hardware, Linux, Mobility, Open Source, Operating Systems, BlackBerry, Software


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • False dichotomy

    As long mainstream display technology does not give the battery life and/or ease of reading that the e-ink gives and as long as the kindle itself offers a superior reading experience for any reason e.g. form factor then there should be a kindle device.

    That said there is no harm in opening things up so that anyone can make software to access the service including Amazon extending what it has done with the iPhone already.
    • I agree 100%

      I would also add that maybe this recession will be a good thing for companies that keep their products close to their chest. It will force them to pry their fingers open and loosen the grip they have.

      If they open their standard as much as possible without losing control or violating any contract, i would bet they would be making alot more money, they even become the standard. Just like MS did.
  • Why I won't buy a Kindle

    I love the idea of the Kindle, and am itching to buy one. But I have ADD, and the thought of downloading thousands of dollars in books to a device that I will break, forget to bring with me, and will almost certainly eventually lose, just has no appeal to me.

    The longer I own one, the greater the disaster when it finally breaks or disappears.

    I don't mind the DRM, but give me something I can backup on my pc (and if you really love me, make it so I can plug a USB key into the Kindle for backup and then carry that with me to use on a PC reader in a pinch).

  • All Kindles are stupid...

    Books, particularly paperbacks, are way better than any of this electronic crapola. The kindle is only Amazon's attempt to cut it's costs. It is only an attempt to get away from sending books. Too bad Amazon, real book lovers actually like books you can put on a shelf.

    Let's count the ways books are better:
    They don't need a power source that dies
    They can get wet
    They don't have screens that can be scratched
    They can be read EASILY in any light
    They actually fit in a pocket
    A book can be thrown onto a desk or in a backpack and not break
    If you sit on a book (as in pocket book) it won't break
    You can flip around in a book easier
    You can get color, yup, I know that is in the works for the kindle
    You can markup a book any way you want for your purposes
    And unless your house burns down you have the content forever, practically
    No worry about the device compatibility either foreward or backward. Try reading a 5 1/4 floppy on today's computers.
    Last but not least, for the average person who stares at a PC screen all day, it is at least a break from the glowing eyes of a monitor

    Just for starters
    • Not to mention genuinely recyclable.

      Infinitely superior to the trotting out of tired ideas for pointless tech; try making a toilet roll out of a Kindle!
      Clockwork Computer
    • Even better reasons

      I can loan a book to a friend, and
      a friend can loan me theirs.

      I can sell my book at a used-books store,
      and buy books there,
      or just trade ones I'm done with for ones I haven't read yet.

      I don't have to worry about DRM malfunctioning, or the original provider getting out of the business, leaving me at the mercy of my current device's lifespan.

      I can browse a book before buying (the parts that actually interest me, rather than some arbitrarily chosen "free sample").

      I can collect my favorite authors, 1st editions, etc.

      People can see what someone else is reading, and realize that they may have a common interest to talk about.

      I'm not afraid to leave my book on my beach towel while I take a dip in the ocean or play volleyball.
  • RE: All Kindles Should be Virtual

    Well, ctually the ink technology is not like a pc screen at all, and that is one of the justifications for the device. Plus the power lasts a long long time, I think they are fairly dampproof , and of course, you can carry your whole library in your pocket.

    Well, it would have to be a big pocket.
  • RE: All Kindles Should be Virtual

    I think the big problem with the Kindle books is taht you cannot back them up to your PC. Sure Amazon backs them up for you, but what if something happens with their servers or you discontinue your account, do you just lose all your books not currently loaded on your iphone? Now if you shell out the big bucks for a Kindle you are supposed to be able to download to your computer, I've found one article saying you can, but in Amazon's instructions it says the kindle has to be plugged into your computer and turned on. I think it still only loads the book on the Kindle and after emailing Amazon I still do not have a straight answer. Because I cannot back up my purchases I will probably stop using the Kindle for the iphone. If someone knows a way to backup purchases please email me at